Week 3 of the United Football League was comprised of divisional matches. We saw the rematch of the 2023 XFL Championship which saw the Arlington Renegades defeat the DC Defenders 35-26.

The landscape of the XFL division shifts as the St. Louis Battlehawks defeated the San Antonio Brahmas to move to be tied for first in the division. In addition to suffering their first loss of the season, the San Antonio Brahmas will now be without quarterback Chase Garbers for the rest of the season due to an injury suffered in the third quarter.

In the USFL we saw the Birmingham Stallions move to 3-0 defeating the Memphis Showboats by 19 points in their home opener. The Michigan Panthers also won at home defeating the Houston Roughnecks 34-20.

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#1 Birmingham Stallions (3-0)

Week 1 result: Defeated Arlington on the road 27-14.

Week 2 result: Defeated Michigan on the road 20-13.

Week 3 result: Defeated Memphis at home 33-14.

Previous rank: #1

Birmingham is simply dominant. Even when something bad happens it just happens to go their way such as a deflected pass at the line that resulted in the ball bouncing over 3 Showboats defenders to a wide-open tight end Jace Sternberger for a touchdown. 

Alex Martinez put up numbers in his first start of the season at quarterback completing 18 of 28 passes for 334 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed 5 times for 44 yards and a touchdown. Deon Cain had a big day catching 7 passes for 144 yards.

The Stallions defense in week 2 against Michigan recorded 7 sacks. This past week against Memphis they had 8. They held Memphis to 191 yards passing and only 20 yards rushing. The Stallions’ defense has been elite as the team leads the league in fewest points allowed at 41 over 3 games.

If there was a team before the season that I would have thought was capable of going 10-0 and then 2-0 in the championship it would have been Birmingham. If not for Michigan partially keeping their offense in check in week 2 I would say they have looked unbeatable so far this season.

#2. St. Louis Battlehawks (2-1)

Week 1 result: Lost to Michigan on the road 16-18.

Week 2 result: Defeated Arlington at home 27-24.

Week 3 result: Defeated San Antonio on the road 31-24.

Previous Rank: #3

The Battlehawks took possession of first place in the XFL division through a head-to-head tiebreaker after giving the Brahmas their first loss of the season.

Wide receiver Hakeem Butler was highly impressive on his way to 6 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown which was highlighted by a 33-yard reception in the third quarter going up and making a great catch deep down the middle in double coverage on a well-placed throw from A.J. McCarron.

The game was a close match in a few different metrics. Both teams scored 3 touchdowns in the game. The game was also pretty close in total yards and time of possession with San Antonio leading in yards 260-253 and in time of possession 34 to 26 minutes.

St. Louis saw some strong play on special teams helping set up good field position with Darrius Shepherd returning 5 kickoffs for an average of 30 yards and 2 punts for an average of 19 yards per return. In field goals, Andre Szmyt made all 3 of his field goals from 44, 54, and 46 yards.

St. Louis also saw some stops at key moments on some of San Antonio’s extra-point attempts. Defensive end Pita Taumoepenu had a sack on a 2-point conversion attempt by San Antonio to help protect the lead. On another 2-point conversion, Qwynnterrio Cole broke up a pass. In the 4th quarter, Tim Harris and Lavert Hill both contributed on stop on a short passing play to deny a 1-point conversion.

The Battlehawks have looked good in every game so far and if not for a 64-yard field goal from Michigan’s kicker Jake Bates, they would be 3-0 right now.

#3. San Antonio Brahmas (2-1)

Week 1 result: Defeated DC at home 27-12

Week 2 result: Defeated Memphis on the road 20-19.

Week 3 result: Lost to St. Louis at home 24-31

Previous rank: #2.

Heading into week 3 the storyline for the Brahmas was their remarkable come-from-behind victory against Memphis which saw quarterback Chase Garbers have 190 passing yards and 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Heading into week 4 there are now question marks as unfortunately, Chase Garbers suffered a possible season-ending injury in the week 3 loss to St. Louis. 

The run game was positive for San Antonio in week 3 against St. Louis as John Lovett rushed 12 times for 41 yards and a touchdown and Anthony McFarland rushed 9 times for 39 yards and a touchdown.

Presumably, Quinten Dormady will be taking over at quarterback as he was the 2nd string previously although the Brahmas will be expected to sign another quarterback as well. Dormandy played in 7 games for the Orlando Guardians with 4 starts last year where he completed 140 of 205 passes (68.3%) for 1,507 yards and 10 touchdowns with 5 interceptions.

The defense didn’t play particularly bad in the loss to St. Louis. The Brahmas lost a game that was pretty close but ultimately St. Louis was better in key moments. San Antonio will host the Michigan Panthers on Saturday.

#4. Michigan Panthers (2-1)

Week 1 result: Defeated St. Louis at home 18-16.

Week 2 result: Lost to Birmingham at home 13-20.

Week 3 result: Defeated Houston at home 20-34.

Previous rank: #4

The Michigan Panthers are coming off their strongest game of the season in large part due to great decision-making from quarterback E.J. Perry. Perry completed 16 of his 19 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed 9 times for 60 yards and 2 rushing touchdowns doing a good job recognizing when there was room to run. The Panthers’ pass protection gave up 7 sacks in week 2 against Birmingham. In week 3 against Houston, they did not allow any.

On defense, the Panthers had another great day against the run holding T.J. Pledger to 2.4 yards per carry. The Panthers’ defense has played very well in every game this season which is reflected in the fact that the team has allowed the 2nd fewest points in the league.

If the offense can continue to perform at a similar level that they did on Sunday the Panthers will more than likely find themselves in a playoff position at the end of the regular season.

The Panthers for the second week in a row will be facing a team going through a change at quarterback due to injury as they travel to San Antonio to face the Brahmas.

#5. DC Defenders (2-1)

Week 1 result: Lost to San Antonio on the road 12-27.

Week 2 result: Defeated Houston at home 23-18.

Week 3 result: Defeated Arlington on the road 29-28.

Previous Rank: #5

The DC Defenders had their revenge on the Arlington Renegades. This game was a rematch of the 2023 XFL Championship which Arlington won.

DC won a close game on the road in week 3 keeping their divisional opponent winless. Defenders fans will cherish this dramatic victory which saw DC mount a comeback to win on a 49-yard field goal from Matt McCrane after trailing 18-28 entering the 2-minute warning.

Despite being dominated for most of the game by Arlington in different metrics such as total yards and time of possession, DC was clutch when it mattered most. They started a drive from Arlington’s 35-yard line with 2 minutes left thanks to a great 72-yard return from Chris Rowland. Cam’Ron Harris had a key 10-yard run to the 1-yard line that set up a touchdown for him on the next play to make it a 1-score game. DC then picked up the 4th and 12 alternative kickoff with a 19-yard pass from Jordan Ta’amu to Ty Scott to begin their next drive. Kelvin Harmon made a great catch on the final drive before turning upfield for a 26-yard gain to get DC into field goal range to complete the comeback.

DC will have a strong test in week 4 travelling to Birmingham to take on the Stallions.

#6. Arlington Renegades (0-3)

Week 1 result: Lost to Birmingham at home 27-14.

Week 1 result: Lost to St. Louis on the road 27-24.

Week 3 result: Lost to DC at home 28-29.

Previous Rank: #6

I don’t think there are very many people who would have expected Arlington to start 0-3 to begin the season. They have had good play from their quarterback Luis Perez in every game. Against DC he completed 24 of his 40 passes for 2 touchdowns. Perez has been making plays all season in which he demonstrates a strong resiliency to pressure on his dropbacks. Such as on a 16-yard throw in the third quarter with a defender hitting his left foot as he threw. 

Arlington did a pretty decent job running the football as De’Veon Smith rushed 14 times for 63 yards (4.5 average) and Leddie Brown rushed 10 times for 40 yards (4.0 average).

Arlington finished the game with 419 yards to DC’s 259 total yards and also dominated the time of possession 39 minutes to 21. Arlington even had a 28-18 point lead heading into the 2-minute warning. Unfortunately for the Renegades fans, they were unable to close this one with a win due to some late-game heroics from Jordan Ta’amu and company.

Arlington will face the UFL’s other 0-3 teams on the road Sunday against the Houston Roughnecks.

#7. Memphis Showboats (1-2)

Week 1 result: Defeated Houston on the road 18-12

Week 2 result: Lost to San Antonio at home 19-20

Week 3 result: Lost to Birmingham on the road 14-33.

Previous rank #7

Memphis took a beatdown on the road in Birmingham losing by what has been the largest margin of victory so far this season by any team.

Memphis’ problems this season largely stem around the offensive line as they have struggled to run block as well as protect their passer. Week 3 was tough sledding against a very tough team as Birmingham generated 8 sacks. On the ground, Memphis only had 20 rushing yards with Titus Swen leading the way with 14 yards on 6 carries.

Memphis has the lowest rushing yards per attempt in the league at 2.7 yards per rush through 3 weeks of play. They also have the 2nd fewest total passing yards at 561 despite having the most pass attempts.

Memphis had a pretty strong play in weeks 1 and 2 from their defense. Aside from Matt Coghlin’s 57-yard field goal in the first half there is simply not much to write home about from this match.

Memphis will face a difficult opponent on the road once again this weekend as they travel to St. Louis to take on the Battlehawks on Saturday.

#8. Houston Roughnecks (0-3)

Week 1 result: Lost to Memphis at home 12-18.

Week 1 result: Lost to DC on the road 18-23.

Week 3 result: Lost to Michigan on the road 20-34.

Previous rank: #8

The Houston Roughnecks gave up 2 sacks and at times struggled to keep their backfield protected. Additionally, they had trouble running the football successfully which was a problem in week 1 as well.

I thought Reid Sinnett played well as he completed 19 of his 28 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown with 1 interception. Houston started the game strong getting a touchdown in the first 4 minutes of the game on a 52-yard drive that was highlighted by a 24-yard reception by Emmanuel Butler in which he made a defender miss.

On defense, Houston really struggled against Michigan’s dual-threat quarterback as it seemed anytime they would cover the pass well the Panthers’ quarterback would be able to run downfield for successful gains on the ground.

In a 10-game season, a 0-3 start is a very difficult way to begin the year. Week 4 will see Houston host the Arlington Renegades who are also winless in what feels like a must-win game for both teams.

@JonathanClink on Twitter

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Jonathan Clink
Jonathan Clink will work as UFL News Hub's primary correspondent covering the Michigan Panthers for the 2024. He has written over 250 articles covering the Canadian Football League prior to joining UFL News Hub. Clink is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba and currently lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has a background in several other sports as well having played soccer, basketball, and hockey competitively.

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