TAMPA, Fla. — The arrival of a new football league was supposed to be the arrival of a new football feel for Tampa Bay.
Instead, Sunday felt like a retread of a Buccaneers game in different uniforms.
The Vipers showed a bit of a fight up front against the New York Guardians, but even in a league that encourages thinking outside of the box, still sputtered and settled for field goal attempts in the red zone.
While quarterback Aaron Murray struggled, former South Florida star Quinten Flowers sat waiting in the wings, providing an occasional spark for the team's subpar offense.
Here's what CBS Sports writer Cody Benjamin had to say after XFL week one:
Yikes. Remember when oddsmakers picked the Vipers to lead the XFL in wins? Good times. Maybe we all forgot how roughly Marc Trestman's NFL career went before his return to the CFL, because Sunday's debut, which featured a measly three points, was not encouraging in the slightest. The Vipers were on the road, yes, and New York was especially feisty on "D," but it's not as if Trestman's hand-picked starting QB, Aaron Murray, inspired any confidence along the way. He needs to get really creative to turn this around.
To his credit, Murray took responsibility in the aftermath of the loss, saying how he was still adjusting to being back in the game full-time for the first time in years.
"[There were] mistakes on my part and some other mistakes that we clean up and I think it's a different ball game," he said at a press conference.
Bright spots for the team, outside of Flowers' play, came from a defense that was more stout than a 23-3 final score would indicate. Wide reciever Daniel Williams hauled in six cathes for 123 yards, a total that currently leads the XFL. Running back De'Veon Smith also had a good day, and currently is second in the league in rushing.
Next up on the slate for the Vipers are the Seattle Dragons, who also dropped their season opener (fun fact: another former USF star quarterback, BJ Daniels, plays for the Dragons). In CBS Sports' XFL Power Rankings, the Dragons sit at No. 5, three spots ahead of last-place Tampa.
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