FSM Essential Recap: Vipers vs Guardians – XFL Week 5

Vegas Vipers (1-3) | Orlando Guardians (0-4)

Franchise Sports Media


The Vegas Vipers hosted the Orlando Guardians at the Snake Pit, with both teams looking for their first win of the year. The Fang Gang came away with a 35-32 victory.

The Vipers vs Guardians played a Week 5 game at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. 

Vipers vs Guardians
Photo Credit: Tisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

A Week 5 XFL regular season matchup took place Saturday at the Snake Pit in North Las Vegas. The Vegas Vipers hosted the Orlando Guardians in a matchup that had both teams looking for their first win of the year.

In Week 4, Orlando fell behind 20-0 last against the Houston Roughnecks and never recovered, losing 44-16. Quarterback Paxton Lynch completed 18 of 30 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in what was arguably his best performance of the season. The defense was on the field for just 50 plays but had no answers for a Houston offense that averaged 7.6 yards per play and scored six times.

Vegas got off to a rough start in their Week 4 matchup against the Defenders, as quarterback Brett Hundley fumbled the snap on the opening drive, which led to a touchdown for the D.C. offense. The Vipers settled in a bit after that but didn’t have enough to stop the Defenders, losing 32-18 on the road. Luis Perez took over for Hundley and completed 23 of 32 passes for 283 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception to inject some much-needed life into the offense. Vegas totaled 394 yards, which was quite the outburst after this unit averaged 261 through the first three games.

Something had to give on Saturday night at Cashman Field. Could Vegas put together a complete game? Or would Orlando build off of some positive performances?


The Vipers were without the following players for this week’s game:

QB – Jalan McClendon (#3)

WR – Martavis Bryant (#4)

DB – Maurice Smith (#26)

OL – Isaiah Williams (#71)

OL – Rod Taylor (#73)

DL – Robert Windsor (#88)

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

First Half

The Vipers vs Guardians start of the first half. 

Vipers vs Guardians Luis Perez
Photo Credit: Tisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

Luis Perez got the start for the Vipers over Brett Hundley, and he did not disappoint. After the Guardians took their opening possession down for a touchdown, Perez and the Vipers found themselves trailing 6-0. But the Fang Gang answered right back on their second possession when Perez hit wide receiver Jeff Badet for a 35-yard TD on 4th down. The Vipers converted the two-point conversion and led 8-6.

After the Vegas defense forced an Orlando punt, Perez and the offense went back to work. Running back Jonathan Lovett had two big receptions that put the Vipers inside the Red Zone. Perez hit tight end Sean Price for a 3-yard TD reception, and Vegas took a 14-6 lead after the failed two-point conversion. Orlando punted, and Vegas came right back and scored again, this time a Bailey Giffen 39-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-6.

Orlando came right back as Christian Rambo caught a 25-yard TD from the new Guardians QB, Quinten Dormady. After the failed one-point conversion, the Vipers’ lead was 17-12. After the Vegas drove the field, they attempted a 56-yard field goal attempt from Giffen that was wide left, and the halftime score remained 17-12 Vegas. So the question was, could the Vipers sink their fangs into the Guardians and secure their first win of the year?

The Vipers vs Guardians end of the first half. 

Second Half

The Vipers vs Guardians start of the second half. 

Vipers vs Guardians
Photo Credit: Tisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Vipers opening possession saw the Fang Gang drive the length of the field and score after a Rod Smith TD run. Vegas now led 23-12. Orlando came right back down the field and scored on a Jah-Maine Martin TD run to cut the lead to 23-18. Not to be outdone, the Vipers answered right back and took a 29-18 lead after Smith scored yet again from a yard out. Orlando answered right back. Running back Devin Darrington scored a TD, and the after the failed conversion, the Vegas lead was 29-24.

The Vipers were determined to finish what they started and come away with their first win of the year. Perez led the offense to another TD, hitting Badet again and extending the lead to 35-24. Orlando answered again, went down, and scored a TD of their own. This time Dormady hit Cody Lattimore and cut the lead to 35-32. Vegas looked to kill the clock and walk away with a win. But each team’s next two possessions saw the punt, but then things got interesting in the game’s final 57 seconds when Vegas took over.

The Vipers tried to run the clock down and end the game, but they failed to convert on 3rd down and kicked a field goal. There was a flag on the play, and it was against Orlando, so Vipers head coach Rod Woodson had a decision to make. Does he go for it and try to end the game, or keep the points and make it a 6-point game? Coach Woodson went for it, and the play call was a Run/Pass Option (RPO) where Perez had the choice to run the ball or pass it. Perez chose to pass the ball, and it fell incomplete, and Orlando took over with under 40 seconds left in the game.

On the Guardians’ first play of the drive, Dormady was sacked. The game ended on back-to-back Orlando penalties with the clock runoff. The Vipers came away with the 35-32 win, their first on the year and the first for Rod Woodson as a head coach.

The Vipers vs Guardians’ final score was . 


Some Vipers vs Guardians’ final thoughts. 

Luis Perez played one hell of a game. He finished the game 20/28 for 269 and three touchdowns. He commanded the offense and made big throws in almost every critical junction of the game. For the first time since Week 1, the Vipers had a QB who started the game, played the entire game and finished as the starter.

The Vipers’ defense came up big when they needed them most, in the second half of the game and when they needed to get big stops. The Vegas defense seems to have taken a jump and finished their opponent for the first time this season.

Next Saturday, it is the Vipers vs the St. Louis Battlecats at the Snake Pit in Cashman Field.

The Vegas Vipers will be back in action next Saturday when they take on the St. Louis Battlecats at Cashman Field. Kick-off is at 4 p.m. and can be seen on FX. For tickets, tap here.



-Joe Arrigo – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Joe on Twitter & Instagram at @JoeArrigoFSM

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