BY MATTHEW FEIMER
What a difference a week makes for the Guardians. Last week they celebrated a home victory over the league favorite Tampa Bay Vipers. This week playing another division game at Audi Field, underdogs again to the DC Defenders, it was night and day. From the kickoff on, the Defenders controlled this game.
On defense the Guardians gave up 10 yards less in offense then against Tampa Bay. The Defenders never shot themselves in the foot either. Despite getting pressure on Cardale Jones they never sacked him once and only manage to hit Jones twice as Jones managed to scramble his way out of everything. Cardale once again looked like his old Ohio State self, throwing 23/37 for 276 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. The DC ground game got 108 yards led by Jhurell Pressley and Donnel Pumphrey.
On offense the Guardians never got anything going, and when they did, turnovers, penalties, and the capital defense stopped it. Matt McGloin was frustrated the whole day. He finished 8/19 for only 44 yards and two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by Jameer Thurman. The run game only got 71 yards. The score of 27-0 made it seem like it was closer than it really was. McGloin was eventually benched for Marquis Williams.
Kevin Gilbride said, “We started off slow on both sides of the ball, I thought our defense picked it up and played well, but offensively every time we got something going. We shot ourselves in the foot.” The Guardians now head into St. Louis to play their 3rd straight division game, in what will be a loud dome at America Center. The Guardians will need a short memory and take on a solid Battlehawks team. They may have to do it without two of their linemen as well as missing top receivers DeAngelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry.
As for the Defenders they are now 2-0 and in first place in the division. They now head to the skies for their first road trip to Los Angeles to play the 0-2 Wildcats. Coach Pep Hamilton of the Defenders gave credit to wide receiver Eli Rogers for playing the day of his mother’s funeral. He caught 5 passes for 49 yards. DeAndre Thompkins returned to action with over 90 yards and the games first touchdown. A 13-yard pass in the 1st quarter to take the lead they never lost. Rashad Ross also added over 90 yards in receptions.
In the see of red of Audi Field, it has proven to be quite the home field for DC’s newest football team. As I sat in section 138, you can see the Defender fans are hungry for good football. In a show me city like DC, the fans have embraced this team. Cardale Jones Jerseys are already sold out. Let’s see how DC performs on the road now.