Wow. What a way to kick off the XFL season For the Tampa bay Vipers.
It was a turnover plagued game by the Vipers and the inability to score in the red zone that were the main factors in the Vipers loss to the New York guardians 23-3 in their first XFL game.
Most Tampa Bay football fans have seen this horror movie before. Quarterback throws interceptions. Defensive backs in the wrong coverage and not communicating. Offensive line having trouble defending the pass rush. Kicker missing a field goal.
It seems like Tampa Bay is cursed when it comes to its football teams. The same bad things keep happening to the football teams in Tampa over and over again.
The Guardians as the home team opted to receive the ball and took the ball down the field to take a 6-0 lead, the 1 point conversion was good and it was 7-0.
The Vipers were able to move the ball effectively in the first half, but the turnovers stopped all momentum and the Vipers trailed 17-0 at the half.
Tampa native Aaron Murray threw an ill advised ball into the corner of the end zone trying to make a play and the ball was picked off by Guardians defensive back Andrew Soroh to stall the Vipers drive.
Quinton Flowers the South Florida product did not see action much at all in the first half, but his plying time increased in the second half.
Flowers was used as a running back and quarterback and had one of the Vipers best offensive plays of the game completing a pass down field to wide receiver Dan Williams to the New York 2 late in the fourth quarter.
The Vipers were never able to cash in and turned the ball over on downs and the Guardians ran out the clock.
Tight end Nick Truesdall had two fumbles in the game, one was ruled an incomplete pass, and another fumble was retuned 20 yards by Jamal Summers for a Guardians touchdown that effectively put the game out of reach for the Vipers.
The Vipers had 394 yards of offense to the Guardians 226. The Vipers had 244 passing yards to 182 for the Guardians.
The Vipers running attack was strong as they ran the ball for 150 yards and averaged five yards per carry led by De’Veon Smith and his team high 79 yards.
The best Vipers drive of the game came in the second half when Quinton Flowers came in at quarterback and moved the team down the field using the no-huddle offense.
The Vipers defense did not do much at all throughout the afternoon to stop the Guardians when they needed a big play.
The pass rush was weak as Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin was not sacked all afternoon and was not under any real pressure throughout the game completing 15/29 passes for 182 yards and one touchdown.
The defensive backs appeared to be lined up wrong and seemed out of position all afternoon as it seemed there was a blown coverage on some play on every Guardians drive.
Vipers defensive back Micah Hannemann was called for two pass interference penalties and both were at critical points in the game giving the Guardians a short field to work with.
After the Game coach Marc Trestman was obviously disappointed in the results. “Our play today was unacceptable. We turned the ball over three or four times. We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to tackle in the first half. When you have over 400 yards of offense and come up with three points your play is just not acceptable.”
The Vipers have a lot to work on and improve on to be this wee as they will travel to Seattle to take on the Dragons next weekend.
If the Vipers are to have a successful season, they will have to eliminate the turnovers, get points in the red zone, and get better play from the quarterback and the defensive backs.