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3 Stars, 2 Bars: Defenders vs. Guardians

Defenders WR DeAndre Thompkins evades Guardians tacklers.

WASHINGTON -- Two weeks, two wins for the DC Defenders.

Unlike last week’s 31-19 victory over the Seattle Dragons, which was a back-and-forth affair, the Defenders took an early lead against the New York Guardians in Week 2 of the 2020 XFL season at Audi Field and never looked back.

The end result was a dominant 27-0 victory with production from all three phases of the game.

Here are 3 stars and 2 bars from the 27-0 win.

MORE: Game Recap | Game Stats


1. The Defense

We're called the Defenders for a reason. Matt McGloin and the Guardians offense were never able to get into any rhythm on Saturday due to a spectacular effort from all levels of the defense. Pressure up front left runners with very few holes, and McGloin with little time to survey the field and find receivers. Four players registered tackles for loss, and overall DC held New York to just 137 yards of total offense.

The defense also continued its trend of forcing turnovers, intercepting McGloin twice and forcing a fumble as well.

Jameer Thuman’s pick-six was the highlight of the afternoon.

MORE: Jameer Thurman shines in Defenders' stifling shutout

2. DeAndre Thompkins

After being inactive in Week 1, the wide receiver wasted no time in his XFL debut. Thompkins finished with six receptions for 92 yards and hauled in an early touchdown pass from Cardale Jones.

That would be one of the two offensive touchdowns of the day for the Defenders. Rashad Ross and Eli Rogers have already shown their ability to make big plays and if Thompkins can continue to do the same, that’s a wide receiver group other teams will not be happy to see. 

3. Cardale Jones

Jones wasn’t as sharp as Week 1, but the quarterback once again did a good job of commanding the offense. Finishing with 276 yards and two touchdowns, he found the open receivers when he needed to.

Though there were a few poor throws, they didn’t come back to haunt him. If it weren’t for a few drops from his pass-catchers, Jones’ stat line would have looked even better.


1. The Run Game

On paper, the ground attack had a decent game. Big runs from Donnel Pumphrey and Jhurell Pressley helped make the final stats look a little better than the actual product.

Pumphrey finished with 52 yards on 12 carries with Pressley adding 32 yards on 11 carries. 

The Defenders have been great at gaining chunk yardage through passing plays, but not so much on the ground. Even more concerning, the run game was no help in the red zone. The offense struggled to put the ball in on short-yardage situations, something head coach Pep Hamilton knows can’t persist. 

2. Matt McGloin

A performance so rough that McGloin told reporters at halftime that the New York offense needed to switch up the entire gameplan. 8-for-19 for 44 yards and two interceptions will have you saying that.

McGloin made multiple poor throws throughout the afternoon, but also dealt with constant pressure from the Defenders interior that didn’t make his job any easier. 

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