Video Credit: XFL/ESPN

FSM Essential Recap: Vipers vs Sea Dragons – XFL Week 10

Vegas Vipers (2-8) | Seattle Sea Dragons (7-3)

Franchise Sports Media


The Seattle Sea Dragons secured their spot in the North Division Championship game with a dominating 28-9 victory over the Vegas Vipers.

The Vipers vs Sea Dragons played a Week 10 game in Seattle. 

Vipers vs Sea Dragons C.J. Avery
Photo Credit: Alika Jenner/XFL

In front of 15,046 football fans at Lumen Field, the Seattle Sea Dragons secured their spot in the North Division Championship game with a dominating 28-9 victory over the Vegas Vipers. The Sea Dragons will face off against the D.C. Defenders at Audi Field in Washington, D.C., on Sunday while the Vipers season is over.

The Sea Dragons entered Sunday’s XFL regular-season finale knowing a comfortable win would be enough to get them into the playoffs, and they didn’t leave any doubt in a 28-9 victory. Seattle’s offense got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, but the defense shut out the Vipers in the first half and clamped down on Vegas‘ offense until the lead was insurmountable.

The Sea Dragons scored shortly before halftime, and that was enough to flip the switch for the offense. Seattle scored a touchdown on four consecutive drives from the end of the second quarter to the start of the fourth, turning a low-scoring affair into a lopsided win.

By the time Vegas started making plays, it was too late. The Vipers showed signs of life with two interceptions of Ben DiNucci in the fourth quarter, as well as an 84-yard reception that would have been a touchdown if not for a premature celebration.

It was time for the Vipers vs Sea Dragons to kick off.

First Half

The Vipers vs Sea Dragons start of the first half. 

Vipers vs Sea Dragons Pita Taumoepenu
Photo Credit: Alika Jenner/XFL

The Vipers took the opening kickoff, and  Vegas quarterback Jalen McClendon started a drive on his own 34. McClendon ran for 1-yard and fumbled, but he was able to recover the ball. McClendon then handed to running back John Lovett for an 8-yard gain and then ran 3-yards himself to move the chains. The drive stalled, and the Vipers were forced to punt.

Seattle Sea Dragons quarterback Ben DiNucci started deep in his own end on the Seattle 13. A pass to Josh Gordon was good for 13 yards, and then another throw to Gordon made for a pickup of 12. DiNucci kept throwing to Gordon, this time for 5 yards, and then he handed to Philip Lindsay for a 9-yard run that moved the markers. DiNucci spread the ball around, passing to Charlie Taumoepeau for 12 yards and handing to T.J. Hammonds for a 7-yard pickup. Another handoff to Hammonds was good for another first down, and DiNucci then passed to Hammonds for a 9-yard pickup to the Vegas 21. On 2nd and 1, Hammonds was dropped for a 5-yard loss, and on 3rd and 6 DiNucci was pressured and passed incomplete. A 39-yard Dominik Eberle field goal attempt was no good.

McClendon started on the Vegas 29-yard line. He passed incomplete to Geronimo Allison, and that pass was nearly intercepted. The Vipers went three and out and had to punt.

DiNucci and the Sea Dragons started a drive on his own 27. He connected to Damion Willis for a 4-yard gain, but Willis was hurt on the play. The drive faltered, and the Sea Dragons punted.

McClendon got the ball on the Vegas 30 and handed off to Lovett for a 5-yard gain. McClendon went back to Lovett for two more yards, and then he was sacked for a 4-yard loss as the 1st quarter ended.

Vegas punted, and the Sea Dragons Kelvin McKnight returned the ball to the Seattle 21. DiNucci could not put together a drive and went three and out. Seattle punted the ball back to Vegas. McClendon started on his own 35 and could only manage a 4-yard completion to Allison. Again, the Vipers were forced to punt.

DiNucci’s next drive started on his own 26. On 2nd down, he completed a pass to Juwan Green for a 5-yard gain. On 3rd down DiNucci was pressured and threw the ball away. Again, the Sea Dragons failed to get a first down and were forced to punt.

McClendon started on the Vegas 20-yard line and handed to Lovett for 8 yards on the ground. A Seattle penalty moved the markers for the Vipers. But on 3rd and 8, McClendon was sacked by Tuzar Skipper for an 8-yard loss. Again, the Vipers had to punt.

From his 34-yard line, DiNucci passed to Gordon for a 9-yard pickup. Another pass to Gordon was good for a 15-yard gain, but Gordon fumbled. Fortunately for Seattle, they retained possession as Juwan Green recovered the ball. A 3-yard run by Hammonds followed a 4-yard pass to Green. On 3rd down, DiNucci could not find a receiver, so he ran it himself for 8 yards and a first down on the Vegas 26. Las Vegas head coach Rod Woodson made a challenge saying there was a holding infraction during the play. His challenge failed, and the play stood.

DiNucci handed to Taumoepeau for a 9-yard gain, and then Hammonds ran the ball for just enough to get the first down just as the two-minute warning was announced.

On 1st down, a pass to Gordon was good for 2 yards, and then on 2nd down DiNucci saw an open field in front of him, allowing a 14-yard run for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 6-0 for Seattle.

Vegas’s Cinque Sweeting returned the kickoff to the Vipers’ 33-yard line. With about a minute left on the clock, McClendon tried to drive the ball to put some points on the board. A pass to Allison was good for 6-yards, and a McClendon rush was good for two more. On 4th down, the Vipers punted, and the ball bounced out of bounds.

With 0:15 on the clock, Seattle took the ball on their own 35-yard line. DiNucci completed a 22-yard pass to Jordan Veasy at the Sea Dragons‘ 43. With 0:03 on the clock, Dominik Eberle attempted a 61-yard field goal, which was short.

At halftime, the Seattle Sea Dragons led 6-0.

The Vipers vs Sea Dragons end of the first half. 

Second Half

The Vipers vs Sea Dragons start of the second half. 

Vipers vs Sea Dragons Jalen McClendon
Photo Credit: Howard Lao/XFL

Seattle took the kickoff in the 2nd half, and McKnight returned the ball to the Seattle 20. DiNucci passed to Jahcour Pearson for 3 yards and then connected to Blake Jackson for a 16-yard pickup. On 3rd and 10, DiNucci completed a 30-yard pass to Juwan Green down to the Vegas 33. On 1st down, DiNucci threw 33 yards downfield to Jahcour Pearson for a Sea Dragons touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass to Josh Gordon was good, making the score 14-0 for Seattle.

Jalen McClendon started on his own 24 and handed to Burt for a loss of 4 yards. Then, a pass to Travis Koontz was good for a 45-yard gain to the Seattle 35. McClendon could not complete any additional passes, and the drive stalled. Sam Sloman kicked a 53-yard field goal to make the score 14-3 for Seattle.

After the kickoff, Seattle took over on their own 36. On 3rd down, DiNucci passed to Green, who shook off a tackle and extended the catch to a 16-yard gain. On 3rd and 1, DiNucci passed 37 yards downfield to Green for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass to Veasy went incomplete, making the score 20-3 for Seattle.

McClendon started deep on the Vegas 13-yard line. Crowd noise affected the Vegas communications, and they could not get a first down. Vegas was forced to punt.

Seattle fielded the ball with a fair catch on their own 40-yard line. DiNucci passed to a wide-open Gordon for a 14-yard catch up to the Vegas 46. On 3rd and 3, DiNucci connected to Blake Jackson for a 13-yard gain and a first down. Then, a pass into the end zone drew a defensive pass interference call putting the ball on the Vegas 1-yard line.

At the end of the 3rd quarter, Seattle led 20-3.

DiNucci handed to Lindsay, who was dropped for a 2-yard loss. On 2nd down, a pass to a diving Veasy was caught in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion pass to Jackson was complete, making the score 28-3 for Seattle.

Sweeting returned the Seattle kickoff to the Vegas 27-yard line. McClendon passed to Cam Sutton for a 27-yard pickup to the Seattle 46. McClendon was pressured and ran for a short gain, but a holding call against Seattle moved the markers. On 2nd down, a McClendon pass intended for Brandon Dillon was picked off by Qwynnterrio Cole.

With the ball on his own 34, DiNucci handed to Taumoepeau for a 13-yard rush and a first down. On 3rd and 11, DiNucci passed 40 yards to Gordon, who caught the ball just inbounds on the Vegas 14. DiNucci rushed 6 yards and then passed into the end zone for Jackson and was intercepted by Marwin Evans, who returned the ball to the Vegas 3-yard line.

McClendon handed to Mackenzie for a 3-yard run and then went back to Mackenzie for five more yards. A pass to Mathew Sexton was good for a 35-yard gain to the Vegas 46.  The drive stalled, and Vegas was forced to punt.

A Seattle holding penalty on the punt return pushed the ball back to their own 8-yard line. Ben DiNucci was flushed out of the picket and ran 13 yards for a first down. Then, Taumoepeau rushed 13 yards to move the chains again. Dinucci handed to Taumoepeau again, this time for a 9-yard gain. DiNucci passed long downfield for Veasy and was intercepted by Jamar Summers at the Vegas 15-yard line.

After the two-minute warning, McClendon passed to Sexton, who ran 84 yards all the way to the Seattle end zone but fumbled on the 1-yard line. It was ruled that Vegas retained possession on the 1-yard line. McClendon handed to McKenzie for a 1-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt failed, making the score 28-9 for Seattle.

With the ball on the Seattle 17, DiNucci just needed to run out the clock. On 2nd and 6 DiNucci handed to Lindsay for an 11-yard rush and a first down. Then, Seattle was able to kill the remainder of the time on the clock.

The Vipers vs Sea Dragons’ final score was 28-6, Seattle. 

The Vegas Vipers will be back in action in 2024 at Cashman Field. For Vipers ticket information or to buy season tickets for 2024, tap here.


-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

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