The Los Angeles Wildcats (2-3) faced adversity early and often on Sunday night.
Suffice it to say they figured it out and turned a 17-0 deficit into a 41-34 win over Tampa Bay at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“It was a test for us, a big test, and we just had to respond,” quarterback Josh Johnson said.
Coming off a tough 17-14 loss on the road against the New York Guardians in Week 4, the WIldcats saw their offense start out-of-sorts in the first quarter with two turnovers and lackluster play.
The game changed with 11:07 left in the second quarter as Johnson hit wide receiver Jordan Smallwood in stride for a 54-yard pass, which put them at Tampa Bay’s 1-yard line. Running back DuJuan Harris finished the drive and got LA on the board, 17-6.
Despite a botched punt return by the Wildcats at the 8:52 mark that led to another Tampa TD, which extended the Vipers lead to 24-6, the Wildcats answered with two touchdowns in the final minutes of the first half to make it 24-20 at the break.
The veteran quarterback continued to spread the ball around in the second half, hitting nine different receivers on the night en route to 288 yards and four touchdowns on 20-for-36 passing.
“We have a bunch of fighters, and now they understand how to win,” LA head coach Winston Moss said. “Now, we have to carry this forward.”