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Recap: Houston Roughnecks 34, Tampa Bay Vipers 27

Highlights: Houston Roughnecks 34, Tampa Bay Vipers 27


More Week 3: DAL 24, SEA 12  |  STL 29, NY 9  |  LA 39, DC 9

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Vipers' (0-3) first XFL home game featured a reinvigorated offense with success from their quarterback tandem, but it wasn't enough to stop the potent Houston Roughnecks (3-0) from powering to a 34-27 win.

Cam Phillips caught three touchdowns from P.J. Walker for the second straight week and piled up 194 receiving yards, the best single-game mark in the league so far, on eight catches (10 targets).

Tampa Bay handed over the majority of play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Jaime Elizondo, and it paid off as the Vipers were rolling in the first half with two successful red-zone trips. However, a quieter second half -- and an interception thrown in the final minute -- prevented them from nabbing their first victory.

Houston Roughnecks WR Cam Phillips (14) sprints past the Tampa Bay Vipers defense for an 84-yard touchdown -- his first of three TDs -- in the 34-27 win.


It was the Cam Phillips Show once again. The Roughnecks wide receiver scored three touchdowns for the second straight.

We'll post his 84-yarder from P.J. Walker.

P.J. Walker hits Cam Phillips for the 84-yard TD

Walker, meanwhile, waved his magic wand in the second quarter on a broken play to push Houston ahead 15-10

P.J. Walker takes broken play into the end zone

Showing some love for the Vipers: A third-quarter catch for a touchdown by Dan Williams brought the Vipers within striking distance.

Dan Williams takes the screen to the house

Roughnecks comment on win

"PJ [Walker] knows if he gets the ball around [Cam Phillips], he is gonna get some catches."

Roughnecks head coach June Jones on the QB-WR connection

"We do a lot of talking -- the communication between me and him is awesome. I always tell him, 'I'm going to find you.' We talk constantly ... and it helps."

Roughnecks QB P.J. Walker on his rapport with WR Cam Phillips


The Vipers had their best day with the football yet, but the Roughnecks averaged 3.1 yards accrued more than Tampa, once again proving their downfield potency is hard to contain.


Showing how Houston's pressure going deep can turn the tables, the Vipers combined for 66 yards on two pass-interference penalties.



Phillips' second straight three-score contest should put him in the lead to win a second straight Star of the Week award. 

Walker's 306-yard, three-touchdown game through the air -- plus his scramble that also carried him across the goal line -- at least should include him in that conversation, as well.

James Butler wasn't needed much, but he had a 72-yard day on just seven carries (10.3 average) and ran for a two-point PAT.


Though Taylor Cornelius at times sparked the offense as well, Quinton Flowers continued to add a more fluid dynamic to the Vipers offense as a complementary passer. He ran for 29 yards and a touchdown while throwing for 67 yards (8.5 yards per attempt).

While Williams got the hype for his powerful touchdown catch-and-run, Jalen Tolliver was targeted 13 times, catching eight of them for 104 yards. 

Vipers discuss defeat

“Really excited about our fans, thought our fans were awesome today. They were behind us, they were loud. They were a lift. It was good to be home.”

Vipers head coach Marc Trestman

"Credit to the offensive line and the quarterback and my receivers. We just gotta keep pushing and moving forward. ... It was all about tempo this week. Get on the line, tire them out. We just fell short on that this week, so we need to head back to the drawing board."

Vipers WR Dan Williams


Up Next: Week 4

  • The Roughnecks will travel north for the first Texas battle with the division-rival Dallas Renegades (Sunday, March 1, 4 p.m ET on FS1).
  • Tampa Bay stays at home to face the DC Defenders (Sunday, March 1, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2).

More Week 3: DAL 24, SEA 12  |  STL 29, NY 9  |  LA 39, DC 9