Recap: Guardians 23, Vipers 3
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Guardians' defense took control of their Week 1 matchup with the Tampa Bay Vipers early and directed the tempo throughout the 23-3 win Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
QB Matt McGloin threw and plunged for a score, but a late defensive touchdown put an exclamation point on a dominant day for the home crew.
NEW YORK GUARDIANS 23, TAMPA BAY VIPERS 3
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Guardians cornerback Jamar Summers was mic'd up, and he made the most of his chatter with a scoop-and-score off a Vipers fumble that all but put the game on ice in the fourth quarter:
One of the turning points of the afternoon was New York wideout Mekale McKay's sprawling, diving 45-yard grab.
A bright spot on offense was the play of tight end Nick Truesdell, who despite losing the fumble that ultimately clinched the game for New York, showcased his athleticism, including on this focused grab.
GUARDIANS TALK ABOUT WIN
“I tip my hat to the effort and the way the defense played today."
"Offensively, there were alot of flashes of how good we could be. We are really close to taking that next step. It's always good to win especially at home.”
STATS OF THE GAME
Aaron Murray's two interception tosses and the Summers fumble return that turned into a touchdown stalled the drive.
New York's defensive front got help from safety Wesley Sutton, who sacked Tampa Bay quarterbacks twice.
Game flow didn’t favor the ground work for most of Sunday afternoon, but tailback De’Veon Smith averaged 4.9 yards per carry (16 totes, 79 yards). His powerful style will keep him as the top between-the-tackles option most weeks.
While Aaron Murray and Quinton Flowers alternated work under center, wideout Daniel Williams was a consistent focus, registering 123 receiving yards while bringing in 6-of-9 targets for a 20.5 yards-per-catch average.
While Summers got most of the pub during the defensive dominance, New York defensive end Bunmi Rotimi Jr. cleaned up, registering nine tackles (seven solo) with one sack, two QB hits and one forced fumble.
Following McKay's big play to open things up downfield, WR Colby Pearson fought through the cornerback at the line of scrimmage to start a double move and bring in a crucial first-half touchdown.
VIPERS DISCUSS DEFEAT
"When you have over 400 yards of offense and you come up with three points, your play is just not acceptable. We kept our defense on the field too long."
"If you turn the ball over three times and the other team doesn't turn over, it's simple. We drive down there, get to about the 5-yard line -- and bad play by me throwing it up, should've just thrown that one away -- we had four or five tries in the red zone and came away with no points."
Up Next: Week 2
- Vipers hit the road at the Seattle Dragons: Saturday, Feb. 15, 5 p.m. ET (FOX)
- Guardians visit the DC Defenders: Saturday, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. ET (ABC)