DC Defenders @ Tampa Bay Vipers
Raymond James Stadium
1st Win Bonus as Vipers Beat Defenders 25-0
DC came to Tampa 2-1 and seemed to look past a Tampa team intent on righting the ship. The Vipers set the game tempo early with a healthy dose of running backs De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick, who both rushed for over 100 yards.
Patrick had 108 yards and 1 touchdown, which he was emotional to score as his father just passed away. He dedicated his first pro touchdown to his father’s memory.
De’Veon Smith ran for 122 yards on 24 attempts and is becoming the lynch pin of the Vipers offense. De’Veon now leads the league in rushing with 296 yards as of week 4.
The Vipers stuck with one quarterback and its payed huge dividends. Taylor Cornelius had a great game and looked ready to keep the starting spot as he went 24 of 31 for 211 yards. He threw one TD and one interception.
In the post-game presser Cornelius gave all the credit to his offensive line for a great game. Also, after the game coach Trestman would not go into who would be his starting QB in the next game as he wanted to allow the team time to celebrate before making any decisions.
The Washington offense could get nothing going as the Vipers defense came ready to play. They held DC to 107 total yards of offense and DC had 50 penalty yards. DC quarterback Cardale Jones went just 9 for 22 for 72 yards with one interception.
The Vipers looked like a team renewed and ready to move forward after a big first win.
Next week, the Vipers travel to LA to play a Wildcat team who is also 1-3 and in a similar position in the western conference.
No win bonus money for Viper players as of yet, and the Vipers may have cause for concern. Today, they lost at home 34-27 in front of 18,117 at Ray Jay.
The Vipers finally got the offense on the board as they scored the first offensive touchdown in team history as QB Quinton Flowers scored a 7-yard keeper with 9:17 left in the second quarter. QB Taylor Cornelius recorded the first Vipers passing TD in team history when he threw a 20-yard pass to WR Dan Williams with 2:13 left in the third.
Vipers Head Coach Marc Trestman continued with his 2 QB rotation, and this week he stepped back from play calling duties allowing offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo to call the plays. No one has really spoken of why Coach Trestman gave up the play calling to Jaime except to say they both worked on the call sheet and they both put the plan together.
You would think the team has been in Tampa for years. Fans do not seem to like the two QB system and they made it known during the game. The Tampa crowd chanted for their hometown QB Quinton Flowers anytime he was not in the game. It seemed like he would be in and get some momentum going but was then swapped out for Taylor Cornelius who started the game. It would seem like the two QBs dislike the rotation as well. In the post-game presser both said the rotation is not ideal, but they will be ready when their number is called. It seems to slow any momentum the team starts to gain.
Penalties again cost the Vipers as they had 6 for 99 yards. Penalties seem to be a problem as the team is averaging 79 penalty yards a game.
The Vipers again led in total offense with 365 total yards but they were 50% on 3rd down going just 9 of 18. Starting QB Taylor Cornelius went 16 of 31 for 193 total yards with one interception and one touchdown. Jalen Tolliver was the leading receiver with 8 receptions for 104 yards and De’Veon Smith was the leading rusher going for 49 yards on 15 attempts.
Vipers fans were out in force,. There were tons of stuffed snakes and team gear throughout the crowd with many fans saying they loved the experience of coming to the game.
Next week the Vipers look to get in the win column when the DC Defenders come to town. The Defenders currently sit atop the Eastern Division at 2-0.
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.