San Antonio Brahmas narrowly defeat Houston Roughnecks

The Houston Roughnecks are back at home, but that’s not the only homecoming happening this weekend. The San Antonio Brahmas are largely leftovers from the Roughnecks of 2023. The merger between the USFL and XFL resulted in a slight change in terms of combining the league with two Houston teams.

Wade Phillips and AJ Smith will head to San Antonio, where they will rebuild the team in their image. The Houston Roughnecks are essentially repackaged USFL players. Today may be a homecoming, but the Roughnecks will look to keep their season alive.

There is another team that will be watching this match closely. The Michigan Panthers can clinch a UFL playoff spot with a loss to the Roughnecks today.

First quarter

The San Antonio Brahmas would start the game with possession, giving them a chance to get on the board early.

The team tested its luck on the ground and John Lovett looked good, but couldn’t gain enough yards to move the chains.

Dormady aired it on the next play, and it was initially ruled incomplete near the end zone. As we’ve seen all season, the Roughnecks had to pull the flag. With a new set of downs at their disposal, they wasted no time moving it down the field.

Just when things were looking good for San Antonio, the Brahmas missed 1st and goal, with the Roughnecks recovering and giving them their first possession of the afternoon.

Jarrett Guarantano returned to the team after suffering an injury earlier in the season. The defense held up its end of the bargain, now it would be time to see if the offense could keep up. Unfortunately for him and the team, they stalled early and had to punt.

It didn’t help much when the Brahmas mounted a strong comeback, giving them the ball near midcourt with 7:56 left in the first.

Morgan Ellison came up big for San Antonio with a big run that propelled them into the red zone. Lovett took the ball on the next drive and took them just short of the 10 and first down.

In an unfortunate turn of events, history repeated itself when the team fumbled the ball away and the Roughnecks defense recovered again.

Houston has been bitten by the injury bug, and this game was no different. But it was promising to see them keep the Brahmas from scoring so far. It wouldn’t matter if they weren’t able to make their own points.

Once again, the offense just couldn’t find its rhythm, quickly going out to threes and coming out after a big sack.

Second Quarter

The Brahmas would start the second quarter with a second try, looking to break the ice and secure the first points of the afternoon. Speedy Stevenson started things off well for the team, moving the team past the 50 and grabbing another set of downs.

On the next play, Dormady connected with Landen Akers for a huge gain.

San Antonio was back in the red zone and this time they were hoping to turn things around. The Brahmas couldn’t find the end zone, but they didn’t give it away this time. At the end of the drive, Coach Phillips went for three, giving them a slim lead.

Houston had the ball again, but they would start all the way to the 10 yard line. They would need to have more luck on offense if they wanted to be successful on the field. Anthony Ratliff-Williams came in first for Houston. On third-and-5, he was able to move the ball 15 yards to cool downs.

The Brahmas defense stepped up their game, quickly stopping the Roughnecks again and forcing them to punt again. This continued for most of the second quarter. Both teams just couldn’t find enough content in the tank to do anything meaningful.

With about 3 minutes left in the half, Houston started to make some moves. Keke Chism got Guarantano’s pass to move the ball past the middle, giving them their best field position of the afternoon.

The Roughnecks would hit the 2 minute warning on third and ten, hoping to convert and get a few points before halftime. Houston did itself no favors, jumping offside and pushing them five. Guarantano was picked off, and between a holding call and not securing yards, the Roughnecks were forced to punt him again.

Dormady walked out with some urgency behind him. On the first play, he connected with Akers again, pushing them toward the middle of the field. Unfortunately, Landen Akers went to the injury tent after this play and it appears he suffered a concussion. On third down, Dormady took a shot at Speedy Stevenson, but couldn’t connect, forcing them to punt with 1:14 left in the half.

Guarantano took a deep shot down the court and found Justin Hall wide open for a huge gain. The Roughnecks would only have 9 seconds on the clock to work with, but it was the biggest play of the day.

Houston fumbled the ball on the next play, luckily they were able to recover. They called a timeout with 3 seconds left, giving them a chance to tie.

JJ Molson came out and made a 48-yard field goal to make it 3-3 heading into the half.

Third quarter

Houston would take possession to start the half, looking to take their first lead. Training quickly stopped, but the most worrying thing was that Guarantano complained of a wrist injury during the match. He decided to continue playing because he had missed a large part of the season and didn’t want to miss the opportunity.

Dormady and the Brahmas didn’t have much luck on this journey either. After a few missed connections, the Roughnecks defense forced another fumble allowing them to recover.

Guarantano and the Roughnecks now had their best field position of the afternoon and were the most effective in taking the lead. They found themselves at first and the goal put them within prime striking distance.

Despite their best efforts, Houston was unable to find the end zone thanks to Brahmas’ defense.

JJ Molson kicked a 31-yard field goal to give the Roughnecks a slim 6-3 lead.

San Antonio was now down for the first time all afternoon and they would like to change that as soon as possible. However, their offense was struggling today and they were forced to punt after a quick three-and-out.

Houston seemed unable to capitalize, but JJ Molson came out and punched it in from 62 yards out to give them a 6-point lead.

See also

Letโ€™s Talk XFL |  The beginning (Ep.1)Letโ€™s Talk XFL |  The beginning (Ep.1)