After suffering a knee injury in training camp, the anticipated arrival of wide receiver Jahcour Pearson was delayed until Week 4.

It was worth the wait.

A.J. McCarron tossed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns – including a strike to Pearson in the corner of the endzone after an extended scramble – to push St. Louis past the Memphis Showboats, 32-17, before 31,757 spectators at The Dome at America’s Center on Saturday.

“The atmosphere was amazing – this is the best spot to be in the UFL, you know? It feels like an NFL stadium, I’m just blessed to be here,” Pearson said after catching all 10 passes thrown his way for 70 yards and a touchdown.

For three quarters the Battlehawks (3-1) dominated the Showboats (1-3) everywhere but the scoreboard. Entering the final period, St. Louis had possessed the football for more than 31 minutes and outgained Memphis with 259 total yards to 112. But in the only statistic that matters, the ‘Hawks clung to a scant 20-17 advantage.

On the second play of the fourth quarter McCarron sprinted to his right long enough to draw Memphis’ linebacker Tyshun Render away from tight end Jake Sutherland. McCarron lofted a seven-yard pass to the wide-open No. 84, who extended both arms in the air as blue and white streamers fell from the stands.

“We actually ran it just like that in practice, which is kind of cool to see all the work we put in during the week play out just like it did during the game,” Sutherland said. “(Render) dropped and covered me, A.J. rolled out and then I ran up the sideline.”

The Battlehawks led 26-17 and with 14:15 remaining they could finally showboat a little bit. But the fun wasn’t done.

Jacob Saylors burst for a 57-yard gain, part of a 15-carry, 103-yard effort after starter Mataeo Durant left the game with turf toe. On second-and-goal from the Memphis 8-yard line, McCarron shuffled in the pocket then backpedaled to his left and directed Pearson towards the pylon.

“My original route was a hitch,” Pearson said. “I just seen A.J. in scramble mode – I was running in, and he pointed me out. It was just a perfect connection, toe-tap on the sideline.”

A.J. completed 35-of-45 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns, including the dagger to Jahcour that gave St. Louis the final margin of victory. With Pearson joining a loaded wide receiver room, McCarron’s 45 pass attempts marked a game-high for the veteran QB – including his collegiate career at Alabama.

“It felt good to be back out there, you know, after being on the sidelines the last six weeks. I’m just happy to enjoy my team and get the victory,” Pearson said.

St. Louis converted 9-of-15 third-down plays and held Memphis to a dismal 1-for-8 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down. The Battlehawks scored on all four redzone trips.

“We talk about situation football every single week,” head coach Anthony Becht said. “1-for-8 is remarkable by our defense.”

“It felt like this game was not, maybe, close throughout but I give Memphis credit,” Becht said. “Ultimately we were able take over the game in the fourth quarter.”

The Battlehawks defense short Pita Taumoepenu, who missed the game with an injured ankle. But St. Louis allowed just 127 total yards and pitched a shutout in the second half. Chris Garrett led the way with a strip-sack to force a fumble and six tackles.

St. Louis travels to D.C. to play the Defenders (2-2) on Sunday a 11:00 AM.

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll

Andy Carroll is a freelance sports writer living in the Ozarks with his wife and four great kids. He loves St. Louis, toasted ravioli and minor league baseball. You can follow him on Twitter @carroll_sgf and Instagram @andycarroll505