The New York Guardians week 3 ended with a second straight defeat. Going on the road is no easy feat but especially going into St. Louis. The Battlehawks home crowd set the home record so far for attendance which was very impressive. It was very cool to see a fan base that lost an NFL franchise coming out to support their new football team. This type of support is going to help the XFL going a long way. What was not very impressive again was the Guardians effort and offensive output. The defense played ok but what cost the Guardians this week was their special teams. Let’s break down what went wrong.
Special teams can make a huge impact in any game and this was no different. The Guardians let up the XFL’s first ever kickoff return for a touchdown. Now to be honest the trick play that the Battlehawks used was a very nice play. The returner flipped it to safety Joe Powell for a reverse which allowed him to break free. Of course though the Guardians should have played their gaps for the XFL’s version of the kickoff and contained that. Later in the half the Battlehawks blocked a punt and returned it inside the Guardians 20. This allows the Battlehawks to have terrific field position and set up an easy rushing touchdown. Yes there were several factors that impacted this game but none more than special teams. 14 points were scored from these two plays which is more than enough to bury the Guardians.
The New York Guardians week 3 offensive effort was much of the same. McGloin was still ineffective trying to move the ball downfield. Yes he had a better stat line but he threw an interception and was mostly ineffective. The Guardians tried utilizing both Marquise Williams and Luis Perez. Williams looked a lot like McGloin and we did not see enough of Perez to really make a judgement. Perez did have a touchdown in the last minutes of the game of garbage time. It is time to be honest though and I hate to say it but this offense is just horrible. No quarterback seems ready to lead this team and the play calling is not unique. Perhaps our preseason expectations were a bit too high as this team will not win another game if they cannot score.
The running backs for the Guardians were ok this game. Both Victor and Cook showed flashes here and there but just like the passing game it was nothing to excite us. The offensive line struggled to open up holes and the running backs could not find their burst. Again it could be that this offensive unit just does not have the talent at all levels. They were stopped on fourth down late in the game and penalties killed them on crucial situations. Justin Stockton played well coming out of the backfield catching 3 passes. I would like to see the Guardians be able to use their running backs more to hopefully get some offense going. If they can do so hopefully it helps whatever quarterback is leading this team.
To me it is very hard to gauge the defensive effort this game. People will jump to the score but most of that was dictated by the special team mistakes. The Guardians secondary had 4 knockdowns and contained this Battlehawks passing game. They did struggle at times on third downs but more often than not they played well. The problem with the Guardians defense was that they were exposed at times on the ground. Battlehawks running back Matt Jones had a very good game piling up 95 yards and a touchdown. He had a very explosive 47 yard run on the first drive to get the Battlehawks going. Christine Michel added a touchdown the next play. The Guardians defense will have to come out stronger next game in order to not get down early. Again they did a lot of good things and are keeping their part for the team.
The New York Guardians week 3 can be summed up by being a disappointment. The offense did not fix the things they needed to fix and had another let down. The special teams unit completely folded and let up two game defying plays. The defense played ok but is showing signs of breaking completely. If this coaching staff does not fix things quick than consider the Guardians season a lost cause.