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FSM Essential Recap: Vipers vs Brahmas – XFL Week 7

Vegas Vipers (2-5) | San Antonio Brahmas (2-5)

Franchise Sports Media


The Vegas Vipers hosted San Antonio at the Snake Pit on Saturday. The Vipers found their QB and their mojo as they defeated the Brahmas 26-12.

The Vipers vs Brahmas played a Week 7 game at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. 

Vipers vs Brahmas Jalan McClendon
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Week 7 of the XFL regular season saw a matchup on Saturday in the Snake Pit at Cashman Field in North Las Vegas. The Vegas Vipers hosted the San Antonio Brahmas in a contest with both teams desperately needing a win.

It’s been a rough year so far for Vegas, as they have struggled to find any chemistry and consistency for head coach Rod Woodson this season. However, the team did make a trade earlier in the week, trading QB Luis Perez to the Arlington Renegades. Because of this, Jalan McClendon got the start over Brett Hundley, which was somewhat surprising.

At the same time, San Antonio has also seen some interesting changes. QB Kurt Benkert was brought into the fold and played limited minutes last week despite being with the team just three days. The Brahmas came into the game 2-4, fighting for their playoff lives, yet head coach Hines Ward also can’t seem to find stability at the QB position.

Something had to give on Saturday afternoon at Cashman Field. Could San Antonio or Vegas put together a complete game? Who’s new QB would shine? Could either defense stop the opposing team’s offense?

It was time for the Vipers vs Brahmas to kick off.

First Half

The Vipers vs Brahmas start of the first half. 

Vipers vs Brahmas Sean Price
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Benkert got the start for the Brahmas and played excellent football for San Antonio on their first drive. On third and 14, he completed a pass to Landon Akers, who got the first down. A pass interference call set them up inside the Vipers’ five-yard line, which led to a touchdown pass from Benkert to Fred Brown. After that, it was time to see how the Vipers would respond with McClendon at the helm.

On his first drive of the XFL season, Jalan McClendon played fantastic football. He made several impressive plays with his arm and his feet to keep the drive alive, moving the chains. The series ended when he completed a pass to tight end Sean Price, who broke tackles and rumbled into the endzone. After a successful two-point conversion, Vegas led 8-6.

On San Antonio’s second drive, things didn’t go well. Benkert injured his back and had to exit the game after taking a hard shot in the backfield. Jawon Pass entered the game, but the Brahmas quickly stalled out, having to punt. Vipers RB John Lovett, a college teammate of McClendon, was playing quite well for Vegas to start this game. He ran all over San Antonio’s defense, making life easier on McClendon. After getting into the red zone and a false start backing the Vipers up, they settled for a 37-yard Bailey Giffen field goal and led 11-6.

Fred Brown had the answer for the Brahmas on the ensuing kickoff. Brown took the kickoff to the house for the first kickoff TD this season. San Antonio went back in front of Vegas 12-11.

McClendon came right back for Vegas by pushing the ball down the field easily against San Antonio’s defense. He was throwing darts out there, finding his receivers in stride time and time again. Finally, McClendon dumped a pass off to Rod Smith in the red zone, who hurdled over a defender for the score. The Vipers led 19-12.

Neither team was able to get much going in their final first-half possessions and traded punts. Finally, they headed into the locker rooms, with Vegas leading 19-12.

The Vipers vs Brahmas end of the first half. 

Second Half

The Vipers vs Brahmas start of the second half. 

Vipers vs Brahmas Jalan McClendon
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

McClendon came out on fire to start the second half for the Vipers. He was on the money with almost every throw, putting Vegas in a position to score again. On 4th and goal, Lovett ran it in from a yard out, and the Vipers took a 26-12 lead. San Antonio’s chances at a comeback began to fade away early in the second half. After they marched down the field, the Vipers’ defense tightened up. The Brahmas could not convert on 4th and 4, and they turned the ball over on downs to Vegas.

There was some action four plays later. After Vegas was forced to punt, the Brahmas managed to give the ball right back to the Vipers as return man Terrell Bonds was stripped by the Vipers punter, Michael Carrizosa, who also recovered the ball. The Vipers had possession heading into the final fifteen minutes of the game. The Fang Gang wanted to know if Vegas could hold onto the lead.

Brahmas linebacker Drew Beesley stepped up for San Antonio, making back-to-back big plays. He sacked McClendon twice, which resulted in a punt from the Vipers.

However, the Brahmas were dead in the water. Their offense was stagnant this second half and unable to move the football much at all. Nevertheless, Lovett, Rod Smith, and McClendon continued to churn away big plays on the ground, which started to wear down San Antonio’s defense.

Brahmas head coach Hines Ward finally caught a break when the 34-yard chip shot field goal from Giffen was wide right, giving San Antonio another opportunity with the football (and those who were hoping for the under to hit).

But Benkert could not get the team in a rhythm. Vegas continued to pressure Benkert, forcing him into an uncomfortable situation. A big sack by Maurice Smith put the Brahmas in what seemed like a deep hole, but the Vipers bailed out San Antonio with a penalty. But it didn’t matter, as Vipers linebacker Pita Taumoepenu stripped Benkert of the ball, with Vic Beasley jumping on it for Vegas to secure the win.

The Vipers defeated the Brahmas 26-12.

The Vipers vs Brahmas’ final score was 26-12, Vegas. 


Here are some Vipers vs Brahmas final thoughts. 

Vipers vs Brahmas Sean Price
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

The Vipers may have found their quarterback in Jalan McClendon. He got the ball out on time, made big throw after big throw showing touch and accuracy, and was a threat with his legs. He showed good command of the offense and didn’t let the moment get too big for him. McClendon finished 21-of-31 for 264 yards and two touchdowns and added 25 yards on eight carries.

This was one heck of a win for the Vipers. The entire organization was locked in today. Pita Taumoepenu, Rod Smith, John Lovett, and plenty of other members of the Fang Gang made an impact. But, it was the performance across the board that head coach Rod Woodson and probably every fan of the Vipers wish they had seen all season.

Rod Smith also had an excellent game. He led the rushing attack for the Vipers, finishing with 39 yards on seven carries. Smith also caught three passes for 36 yards and one touchdown. Finally, maybe Vegas has found the identity they’ve been looking for all season.

Next Saturday, the Vipers travel to St. Louis to take on the Battlehawks.

The Vegas Vipers will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Battlehawks. Kick-off is at 10 a.m. and can be seen on ESPN. For tickets, tap here.



-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter & Instagram at @JoeArrigoFSM

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