The Tampa Bay Vipers have finally joined the winner’s circle. And they did it in dominating fashion.
The XFL’s lone winless team entering Week 4 played one of the best games of any team all season in a 25-0 drubbing over the DC Defenders.
The Vipers ran for 256 yards, with De’Veon Smith and Jacquez Patrick becoming the league’s first pair of teammates to top 100 yards in the same game. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius completed 24 of 31 passes or 211 yards and a touchdown while also running for 36 yards and a TD.
Tampa Bay (1-3) was even more impressive on defense, holding the Defenders (2-2) to 107 total yards of offense, six first downs and 1.9 yards per play. The Vipers had come into the game having allowed the most touchdowns in the league while scoring the fewest.
That notoriety is no longer, as Tampa Bay produced the league’s second shutout. It forced a three-and-out following the opening kickoff and capped an 11-play drive with a Patrick touchdown run. The Vipers then scored on their next two possessions to take a 16-0 lead into halftime. Tampa Bay, which accumulated 477 yards of offense, continued to move the ball in the second half and punted just once in the game.
For the second week in a row, the Defenders were completely outclassed. Quarterback Cardale Jones went 9 of 22 for 72 yards with an interception before being benched in the fourth quarter in favor of Tyree Jackson. Jones’ exit came after microphones on the ESPN broadcast picked him up calling for teammate DeAndre Thompkins to be taken out.
It’s the second week in a row Jones, who looked like one of the stars of the league in mid-February, was forced to sit. DC has been outscored 64-9 in the past eight days after winning their first two games by a 58-19 margin.