For the second straight week the Tampa Bay Vipers outgained their opponent, this week by a total of 289 yards to 199 yards, but it wasn’t enough as the Vipers fell to the Dragons 17-9. The loss puts the Vipers at 0-2 and in a big hole in the XFL East.
The game was a defensive battle until the second quarter where kicker Andrew Franks put the Vipers on the board. In the third quarter is where things started heating up. The hard work of the Vipers defense paid off as Tarvarus McFadden pulled in an interception from Seattle QB Silvers and ran it back 78 yards for a Vipers touchdown. The Dragons awoke from their slumber on the next possession and Silvers threw a deep pass to Reynolds for a 68 yard touchdown.
Mistakes are the big takeaway from this game. The Vipers were penalized for 99 yards including another personal foul in the 3rd quarter that could have seen #71 Isaiah Williams ejected for headbutting a Dragons player who hit the Vipers QB late. On the ensuing play Quentin Flowers was intercepted on the Vipers 1 yard line by #57 Frazier, who stepped into the endzone. The Dragons then went for 2 and got it to bring the score to 14-9 Seattle. The final score came with 1:43 left as kicker Lacayo hit a 27-yard field goal and the final score was 17-9.
Coach Trestman has been trying to use a two quarterback system that seems a little flat. Several times he put Flowers in for several downs only to take him out on 3rd down, and after the team was in a hole they needed to dig out of.
The Vipers defense was running on all cylinders and the team rallied around the Defense as they held the Dragons to 12 yards of total offense in the first quarter and 199 yards in total for the game. The Vipers lead the league in total offense (683) and total defense (425).
The Dragons had great fan support as a reported attendance of 29,172 showed up, and it was loud. There were several penalties due to the noise. Next week the Vipers will be at home for the first game of the season at Raymond James after a 6 day 2 game 8,000 mile road trip. The Houston Roughnecks will be in town and as of this writing they are 1-0.
Awful Start to the Season for the Tampa Bay Vipers
Tampa Bay Vipers Vs. New York Guardians – Met Life Stadium – East Rutherford NJ.
The Vipers rolled into Met Life Stadium favored by 3.5 to play the New York Guardians and were defeated 23-3. Mistakes were key to the loss for the Vipers. QB Aaron Murray made some poor decisions resulting in 2 interceptions and went 16 of 34 for 231 yards. Murray was sacked 3 times. The Vipers had 394 total yards of offense but seemed to stall when near the goal line. The Vipers earned more yardage in total than New York but seemed to be stuck between the 20s for most of the game. Bright spots were few and far between but WR Daniel Williams was a big bright spot for the team, he went 6 for 9 for 123 yards and made some pretty difficult catches. On the flip side of that coin On a New York 2nd and 10 late in the second quarter #97 for the Vipers Ricky Walker was ejected for punching the Guardians Center in the face. It will be interesting to see the league response which will set the tone for such infractions. We don’t know if Walker will be suspended or fined, or how the league will react.
Coach Trestman made a couple of decisions that may be questioned by fans. The Vipers were on the 5 yard line down by 17 with 1:20 left in the 3rd quarter instead of going for it Coach Trestman opted for the field goal which seemed to me to show a lack of confidence in the offense to go out there and get the score.
During an interview on the telecast Coach Trestman said, “It’s a 2-score game and we are moving the football, but we haven’t finished drives today. We hurt ourselves at least a couple of times with turnovers as we move the ball inside, so we feel comfortable we can move the ball, and that were going to get maybe 3 or 4 more opportunities to make this game close”
The Vipers are on the road again next week in Seattle to compete against a Dragons team that started well but had some trouble on special teams. Hopefully, this week the Vipers will work to be a little more disciplined and be ready to fight as both teams are 0-1. This road trip is near a must win as the Vipers cant afford to go 0-2
Extra Notes On the XFL Broadcast in General
Comparing this incarnation of the XFL to the past version of the league is hard. This version is all about the sport where the past XFL was about the spectacle. I think once people check it out they will be much happier with it, as the football is better.
The replay system in the XFL was great to watch as they brought the fans in, allowing us all to see the process and the thought process of the reviewer as he talked it over with the on field official. No more guessing what they were thinking. It brought much wanted clarity on the process and I believe everyone will appreciate the transparency.
The actual broadcast was presented a lot better than the original incarnation. The graphics were better and the broadcast team of Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen were good and had decent chemistry.