Evidently any Seattle pro football team is destined to produce a wild ending.
The XFL’s Sea Dragons were up 18-8 on a D.C. Defenders side that went three-and-out on five of its first six offensive possessions, but a trio of awful 2nd half turnovers by quarterback Ben DiNucci both handed the Defenders their winning points and denied the Sea Dragons a dramatic last-second win.
DiNucci got off to a flying start with an improvised flip touchdown pass to former Seahawks receiver Josh Gordon.
Ben DiNucci to Josh Gordon pic.twitter.com/p6Q279PyEN— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
A Brendon Kemp touchdown run followed by a DiNucci three-point conversion rush put Seattle up 10. Things were going smoothly into the 3rd quarter... that is until DC’s unruly fans threw lemons on the field because they didn’t get their precious beer snake.
what pic.twitter.com/kcFxLbXYhf— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
When play resumed, DiNucci crumbled. A 3rd and long throw near his own end zone was thrown right to Michael Joseph, who ran it back for a touchdown.
stadium security took away the beer snake from the defenders fans so they threw lemons on the field. then DC gets a pick 6 pic.twitter.com/3VRiZfyiZa— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
Another pick to Joseph into double coverage led to a D’Eriq King go-ahead rushing touchdown.
Ben Dinucci's linsanity run is over pic.twitter.com/udbCnK57ht— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
Seattle stymied King on a game-saving 4th and 2 stop with over two minutes left and the Sea Dragons out of timeouts. This was DiNucci’s chance at redemption, and it looked like he was going to get there.
DiNucci to Gordon to keep the game alive pic.twitter.com/brH6KK2abp— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
A swing pass to Jahcour Pearson was taken to the 1-yard line, at which point DiNucci spiked the ball with :26 left. All they had to do was get one yard and they would surely come away with a dramatic win.
Then offensive coordinator June Jones, for whatever reason, called an option play that turned into disaster.
Ben DiNucci sells the game with a fumble & DC wins ‼ pic.twitter.com/un8R1uoaQt— alex (@highIightheaven) February 20, 2023
Game over. It’s like Jones forgot the Sea Dragons have no timeouts left.
The Sea Dragons lose 22-18 to the Defenders and were the only favored team who failed to win their opener. DiNucci was 35/54 for 282 yards, a touchdown pass, two interceptions, and that brutal fumble on a doomed play. Josh Gordon had 6 catches for 74 yards and a touchdown.
Statistically, the Sea Dragons were the better offensive team, but three giveaways to DC’s one tells you the story.
Seattle has a home game against the St. Louis Battlehawks on Thursday, February 23rd at 6 PM PT on FX. Lumen Field will be rocking and probably not throwing lemons onto the field, either!