Home NFL The Vegas Vipers Take Down The San Antonio Brahmas 26-12

The Vegas Vipers Take Down The San Antonio Brahmas 26-12

Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

Los Vegas, NV—–The Vegas Vipers played sixty minutes of football to down the San Antonio Brahmas (2-5) 26-12 on Saturday at Cashman Field. It was the Vipers second win of the season.

After the bad loss, Brahmas coach Hines Ward said his team needs to get back to the basics.

The Vipers (2-5) made a few changes of their own this week, including one at quarterback and it worked out for them immensely.

The San Antonio Brahmas moved the ball 73-yards down the field on six plays on its initial drive, which was capped off when quarterback Kurt Benkert threw a fade to wide out Fred Brown for a one-yard touchdown, putting San Antonio on the top with an early 6-0 lead. Benkert made his first start of the XFL season.

Vegas answered quickly with quarterback Jalan McClendon completed check down pass to tight end Sean Price, who stiff-armed some San Antonio defenders for a 33-yard touchdown. After the score, McClendon hit tight end Cam Sutton for the two-point conversion giving Vegas an 8-6 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Vipers Bailey Giffen kicked a 39-yard field goal extending the lead to 11-6. On the ensuing kickoff, San Antonio’s Brown ran his through tacklers en route to a 96-yard kick return touchdown, which was the first kickoff returned for a score this year in the XFL, giving the Brahmas a 12-11 lead.

The Viper went back down the field in seven plays when running back Rod Smith caught a short pass and leaped over a defender into the endzone for a score. McClendon hit Price for a the two-point conversion to give Vegas a 19-12 lead going into the break.

Photo Credit: Elvin L. Anderson Jr.

“It was just disappointing. We had mistakes all over the football field,” Ward said. “We have to get back to football 101 and if I have to take some privileges away from these players than I got to do so.

“Hats off to Vegas, though. They looked like a team that was playing together. They had more energy than we did.”

McClendon finished the game 21-of-31 for 264 yards and two touchdowns and had 25 yards on eight rushes. Rod Smith led the ground attack for the Vipers, finishing with 39 yards on seven carries. Smith also caught three passes for 36 yards and one touchdown. Matt Sexton led all Vipers receivers with four catches to yards. Defensively, linebacker CJ Avery led the Vipers with 10 tackles. Deontay Anderson got his first interception of the season and also came up with a got nice pass breakup late in the game.

Despite certain top performers, Ward was disappointed in his team’s overall showing Saturday.

“Listen, we are not a playoff team by any means right now,” Ward said. “We are starting to get a lot of attention from scouts. They are starting to inquire about some of our players in the XFL. To my players in the locker room, I told them we can’t put bad stuff on tape – it all resonates if you want to have any shot at playing at the next level. And today, it wasn’t good. Nobody in that locker room did enough to get evaluated.”

Wide-out Landen Akers set a new game high for the Brahmas in receiving yards in the loss, catching five passes for 75 yards.

On defense, Delontae Scott and Drew Beesley each recorded 1.5 sacks for the Brahmas. Scott has now totaled 5.5 sacks through five games played, third in the XFL.


The Vegas Vipers will continue its 2023 schedule with a game at St. Louis on April 8 at 10 a.m. PT on ESPN.