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Best & Worst: Defenders 27, Guardians 0

Defenders HC pep Hamilton embraces WR Eli Rogers

WASHINGTON -- The DC Defenders followed up their successful season opener with a downright dominant performance against the New York Guardians in their second-ever home game at Audi Field.

The 27-0 victory was as entertaining as it was thorough, and while the frigid temperatures sought to keep the fans away from Audi Field, over 15,000 people packed the stadium to watch the Defenders take their place atop the East with the first shutout of the season.

Here's what we liked from Week 2 and what we think needs to get better.

MORE: Thurman stands out in Week 2 | 3 Stars, 2 Bars | Must-See Photos


BEST: The Defense

The Defenders are the only team in the XFL with multiple defensive touchdowns, thanks to Jameer Thurman's pick-six in the third quarter in Week 2 to put the game away for the DC.

But the Indiana State linebacker wasn't the only person to make an impact on defense.

Scooby Wright made his debut and assisted on a forced fumble with Rahim Moore, who recorded his second takeaway in as many games. Former Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam recorded his first interception of the season, and new Defender Anthony Johnson led the way with 1.5 sacks. 

The Defenders held the Guardians to just 137 yards of total offense and just five first downs. 

1. WORST: Matt McGloin

The Guardians quarterback had a rough day at the office. Not only did he finish 8 of 19 for 44 yards, two interceptions and QB rating of 10.1, but he was benched late following a halftime interview in which he criticized the rest of his team for poor play-calling.

The game was billed as a showdown between two of the three best quarterbacks in the league. But the score did not reflect the hype. 

BEST: The Receivers

Less than a week after the passing of his mother, Eli Rogers took to the field with a heavy heart and recorded five catches for 49 yards. It was an emotional day for the former Louisville star, and he got support from his teammates.

DeAndre Thompkins made his season debut in emphatic fashion, scoring the first touchdown of the game. He finished with six receptions for 92 yards and the score.

But for the second week in a row,  Rashad Ross stood atop the receiving corps with 95 yards on four catches and another touchdown. The Defenders have three of the best wideouts in the XFL and a quarterback who can make plays and get them the ball. Keeping up with the Defenders receivers is going to be very difficult for the rest of the league.

BEST/WORST: The run game

Head coach Pep Hamilton wants to run the ball. Despite the trickeration and big plays through the air, the Defenders want to be a run-heavy offense. In Week 1 against the Dragons, 27 of the Defenders' 56 plays were rushing attempts. In Week 2 against the Guardians, 28 of the Defenders' 65 offensive plays were rushing attempts.

In Week 1, the Defenders rushed for 68 yards on 2.5 yards per attempt. In Week 2 against the Guardians, they increased their output, rushing for 108 yards on 3.9 yards per attempt.

Donnel Pumphrey led the way with 52 yards on 12 carries, with Jhurrell Pressley adding 32 yards on 11 carries. 

It wasn't dominant, but it was an improvement from Week 1, and more importantly, it got the job done.

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