Defense leads the way to Vipers first XFL victory
TAMPA, Fla. -- You could hear a pin drop in previous weeks, but a joyous roar emanated from the Tampa Bay Vipers locker room Sunday night.
It was the sound of a team celebrating its first win of the season, following a 25-0 victory over the DC Defenders.
Though the Vipers played effectively on both sides of the ball, defense ruled as they harassed Cardale Jones and the Defenders all night.
“[The Defenders] aren’t an easy offense to stop,” said head coach Marc Trestman.
“I was really proud of our guys,” he said. “We had a good pass rush. We run, we chase, we get to the ball as good as anybody in the league, and I think we saw that tonight.”
Tampa Bay held DC to a mere 46 yards rushing and forced its opponent to be one-dimensional.
Through three weeks, with 602 yards passing and four touchdowns, Jones was one of the most prolific passers in the league. Sunday, the Vipers had his number, as they held him to 72 yards passing on only nine completions. One of Jones’ incompletions was an interception by CB Tarvarus McFadden, his second of the season.
“Our D-line got great pressure on the quarterback,” said McFadden. “[Cardale] threw the ball probably a little bit earlier than he wanted to, and I just went up and made a play.
“We played very complementary football in all three phases, special teams, offense, and defense, and we and pitched a shut-out. If you don’t score, you don’t win.”
Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville knew it wouldn’t be easy to contain Jones and focused his squad on getting to him early and often. “[Cardale] is hard to get on the ground,” Glanville said. “I see people have a hold of him, but he’s so powerful that he throws them off. He can improvise, he can run. He’s a full day’s work.”
Seven punts, an interception, and zero points. That’s how Sunday ended for the Defenders.
The Vipers look to build on this win as they travel to Los Angeles to take on the 1-3 Wildcats next Sunday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).