Quarterback was the star of the XFL

Roughnecks fan favorite P.J. Walker to join Carolina Panthers

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The XFL season ended too soon because of the Covid-19 scare, but Roughnecks quarterback P.J. Walker made enough of an impression to get another shot at the NFL.

Walker, who led Houston to a 5-0 record and was the clear front-runner for MVP, will rejoin his old college coach, Matt Ruhle, with the Carolina Panthers.

Instant XFL star

Walker was the clear QB star of the XFL, throwing for 1,338 yards and 15 touchdowns with just 4 interceptions. His escapability in the pocket and ability to contribute to the running game thanks to his mobility made him a terrific fit for June Jones' offense. Walker connected with WR Cam Phillips for nine of his 15 touchdowns. He completed 64.7 percent of his passes and added in 99 rushing yards on 24 carries, second on the team.

Walker quickly became a Roughnecks fan favorite and the face of the first-year league.

With the Panthers

Walker, whose prior NFL experience was a stint on the practice squad in Indianapolis, will join a crowded quarterback room in Carolina. The Panthers added for Saints backup Teddy Bridgewater in free agency, and have yet to decide what to do with Cam Newton. Kyle Allen, who started 12 games last year, returns on a one-year deal, and Will Grier was drafted in the third round last year. UPDATE: Allen was traded to the Redskins after this was initially published.

Regardless, Walker will take his skills to the NFL.

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Houston is falling down the rankings

Tigers pound Odorizzi, Astros with homers as Houston drops fourth in a row

The Astros have not looked great in their last four games. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

After watching their hot start of 6-1 cool down to a 6-4 record with three straight losses, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park on Tuesday night, looking to do a better job at home against a beatable Tigers team.

Recent games' woes would continue, though, with Houston's pitching getting blasted by the opposing offense and their own bats primarily quiet.

Final Score: Tigers 8, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-5, tied for second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Matthew Boyd (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (0-1)

Astros score first, then Tigers unload on Odorizzi

Houston looked to have something brewing in the bottom of the second, with three singles in the first four batters of the inning, the third an RBI-single by Myles Straw to put the Astros in front 1-0. However, Matthew Boyd would limit the damage, getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.

After two easy innings for Jake Odorizzi in his regular-season debut for his new team, he would allow a game-tying solo homer to Akil Baddoo, his fourth of the year, in the top of the third. Detroit struck again in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff double to set up a two-run go-ahead home run to jump ahead 3-1.

They didn't stop there, getting another two-run bomb later in the same inning; a frame that would take Odorizzi 31 pitches to get only one out before Houston would bring in Bryan Abreu to get the last two outs. Odorizzi's final line in his debut: 3.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 3 HR, 0 BB, 4 K, 80 P.


Detroit continues home run parade, Houston loses fourth in a row

Abreu would hope to do what Luis Garcia did the night before, eat up as many innings as possible after a poor outing from Houston's starter. The Tigers would get yet another two-run homer, though, in the top of the fifth, extending their lead to 7-1, with all seven runs coming over a three-inning span. For good measure, they'd knock one more out with two outs in the top of the ninth, making it 8-1.

As far as Houston at the plate, other than their string of hits to bring in a run earlier in the second, they were getting nothing done against Boyd, who would go six and two-thirds innings. Detroit's bullpen would finish things off, despite an all-too-late sac fly by the Astros in the bottom of the ninth, with Houston dropping their fourth-straight game and continuing to lose ground in the division.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set with Detroit will be an hour earlier on Wednesday, getting underway at 6:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (1-0, 1.80 ERA) will try to maintain his perfect record and improve upon his two five-inning one-run starts for the Astros, going opposite of Michael Fulmer (0-0, 2.57 ERA) for the Tigers.

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