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Seattle Dragons WR Austin Proehl
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Turnovers, miscues sink Seattle Dragons in 31-19 loss to D.C. Defenders

Austin Proehl's two TDs weren't enough as the Seattle Dragons lost 31-19 in Week 1. (Getty)

A handful of self-inflicted wounds were too much for the Seattle Dragons to overcome, as they dropped the first game of the new installment of the XFL 31-19 to the D.C. Defenders.

Seattle Dragons’ Jim Zorn in familiar situation in leading new franchise

After a three-and-out offensively, the Dragons defense held the Defenders to a field goal on their opening drive and D.C. had the first points of the 2020 season.

The Dragons responded as quarterback Brandon Silvers made some nice passes, including a deep shot to receiver Dontez Byrd, which set up a Austin Proehl touchdown reception for the first touchdown in the league. Silvers looked for former Seahawks receiver Keenan Reynolds on the 1-point point after attempt, but it was unsuccessful and the Dragons had their first lead of the game at 6-3.

After a D.C. missed field goal, the Dragons looked like they were on their way to more points, but Silvers was staring down his receiver and defensive back Rahim Moore made an interception.

The Dragons defense would hold, and after getting the ball back, the Dragons were forced to punt deep in their own territory. The punt was blocked and D.C. recovered it in the end zone, taking a 9-6 lead after an unsuccessful point after attempt.

Later in the second quarter, an unnecessary roughness penalty by the Defenders defense kept a Seattle drive alive, and they capitalized. Running back Kenneth Farrow caught a pass on fourth down to get a first down and followed it up with a nice run for another first down.

Then, Silvers found running back Trey Williams, the team’s first draft pick, who made a nice move and found the end zone. Silvers was successful in finding Reynolds the second time around for 1 point, and Seattle had a 13-9 lead.

The ensuing kickoff didn’t get past the D.C. 20-yard line, meaning the Defenders started the drive on Seattle’s 45-yard line. That mistake would prove costly, as D.C. kicker Ty Rausa drilled a 55-yard attempt to make it 13-12 Seattle going into halftime.

After a sound defensive first half for the Dragons, the Defenders brought out a double reverse that ended up back in the hands of quarterback Cardale Jones, who found his tight end Khari Lee for a 39-yard touchdown. A successful PAT later, and D.C. had a 19-13 lead.

Silvers brought out an impressive play of his own, as he evaded pressure, stepped up near the line of scrimmage and just when it looked like he was going to take off and run, he threw a dart to the right to Proehl who did the rest, finding the end zone for a 57-yard score. Again Silvers looked to Reynolds, but was unsuccessful and the game was tied at 19.

A few drives later, Jones would find receiver Rashad Ross on fourth down for a deep score, giving D.C. a 25-19 lead late in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter down just one score, Proehl was the intended target on fourth down, but slipped. Silvers’ pass landed in the hands of Bradley Sylve, who returned it 69 yards for a touchdown, making it 31-19 in favor of the Defenders.

After a solid start to their next drive, the Dragons had to settle for a field goal, but a D.C. penalty for running into the kicker gave Seattle another chance for a touchdown.

A replay review on a fourth down run gave Seattle a first down inside the 4, but Silvers and running back Ja’Quan Gardner couldn’t secure the exchange and the ball fell to the turf. Former UW Huskies defensive lineman Elijah Qualls made the recovery, effectively sealing the game for the Defenders. It was the Dragons’ third turnover of the game.

During the Dragons’ final drive, Silvers injured his right ankle on third down, prompting backup B.J. Daniels, a former Seahawks quarterback and receiver, to come in on fourth-and-15. His pass fell incomplete, and the Defenders would kneel three times to end the game.

Notable statistics

Silvers ended the game 21 of 40 with 217 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.

Farrow led the game in rushing with 41 yards, and added 14 more through the air.

Proehl led the game with 88 yards and two receiving touchdowns, securing five catches on 10 targets.

Jones had a great game for D.C., completing 16 of 26 passes for 291 yards and two touchdowns. He did not turn the ball over.

For the full box score, visit this link.

On tap

The Dragons will return to Seattle for their home opener next Saturday against the Tampa Bay Vipers.

Keep an eye on Silvers and his injured ankle. If he is unable to play, Daniels would likely make the start as he is the only other quarterback on the roster. Reynolds was a quarterback in college at Navy in their triple-threat attack, and could likely be called on if needed.

For the full XFL schedule, visit this link.

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