ST. LOUIS — The Seattle Dragons were sparked by their backup quarterback Saturday afternoon, but a 14-point halftime deficit proved too much to overcome as they fell to the St. Louis BattleHawks 23-16 at The Dome at America’s Center.
Trailing 17-3, B.J. Daniels replaced ineffective starter Brandon Silvers on the Dragons’ second possession of the second half. Daniels engineered two touchdown drives — one in the third quarter and another in the fourth.
But on a potential game-tying drive, Daniels’ pass over the middle for Austin Proehl on a third-and-20 play was intercepted by Will Hill at the St. Louis 22-yard line with 3:56 remaining, and the Battlehawks (3-1) ran out the clock before a delighted crowd of 27,527.
“I think we picked up our energy in the second half,” said Daniels, who played at South Florida and has bounced around with six NFL teams, including the Seahawks. “We tried to make it a game. I’m really thankful and proud of the teammates I have in Seattle.
“It was a blessing to be out there. It was an opportunity, and I tried to make the most of it. I’ve been around the NFL for some years, so I’ve always tried to prepare myself.”
The Dragons (1-3), who are at Houston next Saturday, were outgained 392 yards to 253.
“Everyone is disappointed in the fact that we lost,” Dragons coach Jim Zorn said. “The BattleHawks did a great job of hanging in there. We felt like we gave a spark to the group with B.J. Daniels coming in the second half, and it happened. We felt we could keep moving the ball.
“It wasn’t enough.”
Zorn said he made up his mind at halftime to replace Silvers, who finished 4 for 10 for 40 yards and never returned. He said the decision to go with Daniels was “super-hard.”
“We’ll see it on video,” Zorn said. “It wasn’t all about Brandon. … He did not fail, if you will. But we had only two first downs that whole first half. We needed to give the team something different.”
Daniels finished with seven carries for 84 yards and was 5 for 10 for 100 yards passing.
“He uses his legs very well,” Zorn said. “He made some great decisions running the ball and gave our team a spark. He kept it going; it wasn’t just one drive.”
Daniels’ 10-yard touchdown pass to Evan Rodriguez with 13:18 remaining in the game cut the lead by St. Louis to 20-16. The Dragons went for three points, but Daniels’ pass in for the corner of the end zone was incomplete.
The BattleHawks stretched their advantage to 23-16 on Taylor Russolino’s 25-yard field goal, his third of the game, with 8:14 left. On the Dragons’ next possession, Daniels was intercepted by Hill.
“He would like to have that (pass) back,” Zorn said. “That was a play where he was throwing down the field and saw a space. Unfortunately, (Proehl) wasn’t looking. He had hoped the receiver would turn around and see it, but he never turned around. As a coach, that was a difficult thing to watch because we were moving the ball down the field.”
Seisay leaves on stretcher
Dragons cornerback Mohammed Seisay left the field on a stretcher early in the second quarter. Seisay gave a thumbs-up as he departed.
“Mohammad has an injury to his neck,” Zorn said. “He’s got full capacity. He probably went a little bit numb, but now he’s back. They’ve taken X-rays. They’re going to do some further testing now. We’re going to keep him here overnight and one of our assistant trainers is going to stay with him. Then we’ll kind of evaluate with the medical team. We’ll get him back into Seattle as soon as we can.”
Daniels said the team is “praying for Mohammed.”
“Our guys are close and they stick together,” he said. “This is a big deal to us. He’s one of us; he’s one of our guys. You hate to see something like that happen in football. We’re definitely keeping him in our prayers and we’ll try to find more information about him later on.”