Updated: Feb 18
First-time Head Coach Rod Woodson faced off against college football coaching legend Bob Stoops in the first game of The Rock's version of the XFL. The game featured some familiar faces on the field as well as Luis Perez, former AAF star QB, former Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant, and former Falcons' star pass rusher Vic Beasley were on the Vipers Roster. However, the Vipers needed more than star power to defeat the Stoops-led Renegades. Bryant caught four passes for 28 yards, including a huge first down catch on the last drive, while Beasley had one solo tackle, two assists, and 1.5. tackles for loss. Vipers QB Perez ended the game, completing 22 of 36 pass attempts for 249 yards and 3 Touchdowns. He also put his team in a position to win the game at the very end. Down by 8 points, Perez found wide receiver Cinque Sweeting on two big plays, including what could have been the game-tying touchdown, if the Vipers were successful on the extra point attempt.
The extra point rules are different in the XFL. A team can attempt to cross the goal line from 2 yards out for 1 point, 5 yards out for 2 points, and 10 yards out for 3 points. Down by two, Woodson decided to attempt to tie the game with the 2-point conversion. However, Stoops' defense was up for the challenge and sacked Perez to deny the Vipers two points. Still down by two points, Woodson had a choice of kicking an onside kick or attempting to convert a first down from the Vipers' 25-yard line in a 4th and 15 scenario. The success rate of recovering an onside kick is about 12%, so Woodson took a chance converting the first down. Perez found his target, former NFL wide receiver Geronimo Allison with enough yardage for the first down, but the Renegades secondary jarred the ball loose with a vicious hit. Stoops walks away with a victory for his Renegades, 22-20. Luis Perez was great at the end of the game but throwing two "pick-6" interceptions in the game may lead some to wonder when they will see former NFL QB, Brett Hundley. The Renegades did not have elite quarterback play either, with their QB Plitt throwing for only 172 yards, one interception, and no touchdowns. As in the last version of the XFL, AAF, and USFL, we expect the quarterback play to improve as the season progresses.