Vipers can’t find the end zone in opening loss

by Gary Shelton on February 10, 2020

in general

Monday, 4 p.m.

Same old Vipers.

Same old Tampa Bay football.

Where have you heard this before? Red zone failures. Interceptions. Leaky pass coverage.

In other words, at first glance, the new kid looks a lot like its big brother.

The newfound Tampa Bay Vipers were snakebit Sunday missing out on all four goal-to-go situations in a 23-3 loss to the New York Maurauders. The Vipers had 418 yards of total offense, but the red-zone failures and three turnovers kept them out of the end zone.

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By contrast, the Marauders had just 44 yards rushing and 182 passing, but scored three touchdowns. One was on a 28-yard fumble return by Jamar Summers. Quarterback Matt McGloin scored once on a sneak and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Colby Pearson.

"Our play today was unacceptable," said Vipers' coach Marc Trestman. "We turned the ball over three or four times. We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to tackle in the first half. When you have over 400 yard of offense and come up with three points… your play is just not acceptable.”

Quarterback Aaron Murray hit 16 of 34 passes for 231 yards and two interceptions.

"It takes some time," Murray said. "We’ve had enough practice through December and through January, all the camps and scrimmages so: I thought we executed pretty good today. We ran the ball effectively- we saw that at times. I thought the pass game was pretty good. It was just those mistakes. If you’re going to turn the ball over three times, and the other team doesn’t turn it over, they’re going to win. Plain and simple. We drive down there, get to about the 5-yard line, and a bad play by me in throwing that up. I should have just thrown it away. We had 4 or 5 tries in the red zone and came away with no points. I think, moving the ball, it was pretty good, it’s just a matter of finishing those drives, being a little more efficient and understanding that windows get tighter in the red zone, players move faster, and there’s less room for the defense to have to cover. We just have to be better going forward. I think we can. Like I said, I thought we saw some good stuff today from this team: from players that really stepped up. I thought the offensive line was tremendous: the way they dominated during the game, especially when running the football. Like I said: we just can’t turn it over. Myself: two picks, the fumble that turned into a touchdown- those are the things that really shoot you in the foot. That really cost us today."

Still, Murray said the day was a nice start.

"It was fun. Obviously, not the outcome we wanted, but I think everyone fought. That’s the one good thing about this football team: We’re a close team. There wasn’t any arguing. The defense wasn’t saying: 'hey offense, you stink.' The offense wasn’t yelling at the defense. It was all: “hey boys, we got you, we got you, we got you”. That camaraderie, even in the locker room afterwards, guys were going up to each other and saying ‘heads-up, we’re good. Move on, short week: we’ve got Seattle next week and that’s somewhat of a blessing to be on a short week. We’ve got to play on Saturday. We’ve got to forget this, we’ve got to make the corrections and we’ve got to get going. We can sulk on this at all. It’s a long season. It’s only week one for goodness sakes. Like I said: I saw some promising stuff out there and we just have to work on making those corrections and understand that we have 9 more games. We just have to keep fighting to get better."

Tampa Bay is on the road again Saturday, traveling to Seattle to play the Dragons at 5 p.m.

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