Houston Roughnecks (3-0) vs Tampa Bay Vipers (0-3) @ Raymond James Stadium
Over cashes at 45 (5Dimes)
In what was possibly the most entertaining game of the young XFL season, the Roughnecks held off a hungry Vipers squad for a narrow 34-27 victory.
In the first half it seemed like Tampa Bay ironed out some of their issues offensively by scoring twice; A 7-yard rush by Quinton Flowers, and a 1-yard rush by Taylor Cornelius that came with just seconds left in the 2nd quarter.
For Houston it was more of the same. The PJ Walker show. The 24-year old threw and rushed for touchdowns in the first half. Starting the game off with an 84-yard bomb to Cam Phillips, and then making the most of a botched snap and scrambling for an 11-yard touchdown.
The action didn’t stop in the second half, as the teams combined for three more touchdowns. Walker and Phillips connected twice more in the second half. Giving Phillips back-to-back games with three TD receptions.
Tampa showed signs of life in the third quarter. Cornelius hooked up with Dan Williams on a bubble screen that resulted in a 20-yard touchdown. The Vipers even took the lead early in the fourth with a field goal.
But Houston was too much, retaking the lead with Phillips’ third TD reception of the game. A late interception thrown by the Cornelius proved to be the nail in the coffin for the Vipers as they drop their third straight game.
Houston on the other hand proved yet again they belong in the discussion as the best team in the XFL. Winning impressively in Saturday’s shootout with Tampa Bay.
Roughnecks Team Review
PJ Walker once again showed out; going 24 for 36 for 306 yards and 3 TDs, the QB also rushed for 34 yards and a TD. Cam Phillips continued his dominance as well, another 3 TD catches, this time on 8 REC, adding 194 yards to his stat line. Everything seemed to click for Houston offensively.
67% CMP, 306 Yards, 3 TDs. (PJ Walker – QB)
8 REC, 194 YDs (24.3 YPR), 3 TDs. (Cam Phillips – WR)
Yards Per Rushing Attempt: 7.2 (HOU – Team)
Vipers Team Review
By far this was the most impressive Tampa Bay has been all season. After being 0 for 7 on in the red zone through two weeks, the Vipers scored 3 TDs in from the 20-yard line and in Saturday.
Tampa showed improvement in all three facets of the game. There was less blown coverages than previous weeks, and punter Jake Schum was pinning Houston in deep almost every time.
Third Down Efficiency: 9/18 (50%) (Tampa Bay – Offense)
QB Hits: 7, 2 Sacks (Tampa Bay – Defense)
Net Punt Average: 45.5 (J. Schum – P)
As expected, PJ Walker (41.64) and Cam Phillips (48.40) showed up in daily fantasy (Draft Kings). For Tampa, some wide receivers put up big numbers for the first time this year. Jalen Tolliver (22.40) and Dan Williams (13.50) both put up some nice numbers on the day. Both Vipers running backs who were in the top-5 in rushing heading into the week struggled, De’Veon Smith managed 49 yards, and Jacques Patrick had just 18 on 10 carries.
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