Vipers defense takes step back loss to Los Angeles
When you are winning 24-6 and everything seems to be going you’re way, you get the feeling that you may well be on your way to a victory.
That was not to be for the Vipers Sunday night as the defense had their worst showing of the season and LA wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson ripped apart the Vipers defense for four touchdown passes as the Wildcats scored 35 unanswered points to beat the Vipers 41-34.
The 41 points was the most points given up by the Vipers this season and the most given up by a defense in the XFL.
The Vipers started the game strong as they built a 24-6 lead on the power running game of De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick.
The Vipers defense was able to get pressure on Johnson in the first half and created two turnovers early on to give the Vipers the big lead.
Robert Priester had an interception on the first play of the game which set up a Vipers field goal, but that was the only interception the defense would be able to generate throughout the game.
It was a tale of two halves as the Vipers built that 24-6 lead and saw it gradually slip away as the second quarter played on.
Despite the adversity early on, the LA wildcats were able to put it behind them and rallied to trail 24-21 at the half.
The Wildcats defense was able to shut down the Vipers running attack in the second half as they held leading rusher De’Veon Smith to 69 yards on 24 carries. Jacques Patrick finished the game with 23 yards on seven carries.
Taylor Cornelius who was able to move the team effectively in the first half struggled in the second half as he finished with 300 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
His final pick came in the end zone with 37 seconds to play as the Vipers were driving for the winning score.
Cornelius has four touchdown passes and six interceptions on the season.
The Wildcats were up 41-24 in the fourth quarter before the Vipers were able to put any more points on the board.
An Adam Franks FG made it 41-27, and a Taylor Cornelius touchdown pass to Reece Horn cut it to 41-34 after the one point conversion.
Although the Vipers were able to crank out 434 yards of offense, they allowed Wildcats quarterback Josh Johnson to have his way as he passed for 288 yards the Wildcats ran up 345 yards of offense.
The Vipers fall to 1-4 on the season but reman just two games behind the division leaders New York, DC, and St.Louis as there is a three way tie for first place in the East division.
The Vipers will host the St. Louis Battlehawks on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium. All fans attending will receive a green Vipers t-shirt as the Vipers celebrate St. Patricks Day a couple days early.