Vipers: 3 takeaways from Week 5
Three takeways from the Tampa Bay Vipers' 41-34 loss to the LA Wildcats in Carson, Calif. on Sunday night:
1. One Half Doesn’t Equal Four Quarters
After a strong first half that produced 24 points and three takeaways, and included leads of 17 and 18 points, the Vipers couldn't keep up that pace. Tampa Bay was outscored 21-10 in the second half and it had key turnovers and penalties that contributed to the 7-point loss.
2. Contrasting QB play
Tampa QB Taylor Cornelius stood in the pocket and made some strong throws. He had a strong start that included a passing and rushing touchdown in the first half. But the Vipers offense wasn't nearly as effective after the break. He ended the night 22-of-34 for 300 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs.
The Vipers defense got to Wildcats’ QB Josh Johnson early and often, including an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Johnson eventually found his rhythm late in the second quarter and ended the night 20-of-36 for 288 yards with 4 TDs and one pick.
3. The Wildcats Attacked Their Prey
Los Angeles came into Week 5 with a run defense ranked last in the league and had to face a team known for its power run game. The Wildcats knew they had to shut down the Vipers backs. While RBs De’Veon Smith and Jacques Patrick started the game dragging defenders with them on their way to gains, that changed later in the game. Tampa still finished with 142 rushing yards, but it also went just 5-of-14 (36%) on third-down conversions.
The Vipers return home to Raymond James Stadium to take on the 3-2 St. Louis BattleHawks on Saturday (5 p.m. ET, FS2).