WASHINGTON — A game that started off as an intriguing Week 2 matchup quickly turned ugly. The New York Guardians traveled to the nation’s capital early Saturday afternoon, coming off an opening win against the Tampa Bay Vipers. The DC Defenders defense proved to be too much for the Guardians, holding them scoreless for all 60 minutes of play.
The Defenders got off to a hot start going up six early thanks to a 13-yard touchdown reception by Deandre Thompkins. Jones threw a perfectly timed strike to Thompkins on a corner route. Thompkins debuted on Saturday and made his presence known early.
The Guardians’ following possession was perhaps their best drive of the day; A critical 4 & 1 presented itself and Guardians head coach Kevin Gilbride decided to roll the dice by calling a fake punt. The risk payed off when the backup Quarterback Marquise Williams took the snap and rumbled just past midfield for a first down.
That was the only bright spot of the day for the New York offense. Shortly after, McGloin flipped a check-down pass to Guardians running back, Darius Victor. This proved costly as Victor was on receiving end of a huge hit from Defenders linebacker Scooby Wright. Victor had the ball stripped from him by safety Rahim “Chaos” Moore, who was credited with the recovery.
The offensive woes continued for New York. At 9:43 left in the first half, Guardians quarterback Matt McGloin heaved a deep ball down- field near two Defenders. Matt Elam, a former Ravens 2013 first-round pick rushed from his safety spot for the interception. Defenders kicker Ty Rausa made a 36-yard field goal to put DC up 12-0 at the half.
If the offensive struggles weren’t enough for New York fans, they also had to deal with frustrated signal-caller Matt McGloin. When asked what the Guardians should be doing differently on offense, McGloin replied, ” We need to change the whole entire game plan.” McGloin went into half 3-11 and had multiple missed opportunities on errant throws.
The afternoon got even worst for McGloin when he threw an interception with 10:00 left in the 3rd quarter. The interception was returned for a touchdown by Defenders linebacker Jammeer Thurmond who was all over the field on Saturday afternoon.
The Guardians managed at least one defensive highlight when linebacker D’Juan Hines intercepted Cardale Jones on the Guardians 25-yard line with 2:11 left in the 3rd quarter. This was Jones’s first interception of the season.
The final score of the day would put the Defenders up 27-0, a 6-yard pass touchdown pass from Jones to tight-end Derrick Hayward. The drive, which started from a turnover on downs by the Guardians, gave the Defenders great field position at NY 49. Jones displayed incredible athleticism, moving out of the pocket and delivering strikes to Deandre Thompkins multiple times.
The drive was also historical, a doubled forward pass called by D.C.’s head coach Pep Hamilton turned out successful. Also, the Defenders attempted the first ever three point conversion of the season, which came up just short.
Cardale Jones recorded another successful day for the Defenders, completing 23 of 37 passes for 276 yards. Jones finished the day with a quarterback rating of 91.7. The Defenders receivers Rashad Ross, Deandre Thompkins, and Eli Rogers did a large share of the workload for the offense combining for 15 receptions and 236 yards. Quarterback Matt McGloin struggled the whole day, completing 8 out of 19 passes for 42 yards.
New York will try to move past this performance against the Defenders as they travel to take on the St. Louis BattleHawks next Sunday at 3:00PM EST on ESPN
The Defenders will try to stay undefeated on the road for the first time next week. They travel to the West Coast where they’ll meet the Los Angeles Wildcats at 6:00PM EST on FS1.