The New York Guardians week 4 ended in a victory at home. No this win was not spectacular but it was just what the team needed. After two weeks of embarrassing football the Guardians defended their home turf and squeaked out a victory. The coaching staff made a well needed quarterback change and we saw glimpses of a running game. The defense played great football making key stops in crucial situations. The Guardians also needed a bit of luck late in the game. Regardless let us tell you how the Guardians got this win and where they played well.
It all starts on the defensive side of the ball for the Guardians. Yes the Wildcats tried to sling the ball down the Guardians throats. At times the Guardians secondary was out of position especially on the deep touchdown pass in the third quarter. In the 4th quarter Tre McBride also made a spectacular catch where cornerback Jeremiah McKinnon and safety Andrew Soroh were not on the same page. Yet besides those two big plays this secondary played big. Jamar Summers made a key interception at the end of the third to set up the game winning field goal. The secondary made life difficult for the Wildcats receivers and played excellent on third downs. Overall the Guardians defense held the Wildcats to 2 of 12 on third down. That mark is sure to give the Guardians a chance to win every game.
The defensive front for the Guardians also made life difficult for Josh Johnson and the running game. The Wildcats had no room to run anywhere and finished 40 yards on 13 attempts. Jarrell Owens and Cavon Walker were wrecking the game in key situations. Owens finished with two sacks and 4 quarterback hits and Walker added another sack. Overall the Guardians finished with 8 quarterback hits and could have had more with the pressure they were getting. This was key in helping the Guardians having a strong defensive effort. Things the Guardians did on this side of the ball were a lot of keys to them winning this game.
Offense Did Enough
I am not going lie here and say this was a tremendous offensive effort for the Guardians offense. Overall there are still a lot of things that need to be worked on but they did several things well. One Luis Perez did not make any game changing mistakes. The offense played mistake free football which is a huge improvement from the last few weeks. Yes the offensive line let up a few sacks but I would rather Perez take a sack then force balls. As the game went on we also saw him get more comfortable with the game and led a great touchdown drive before half. Mekale McKay made the most of his two catches grabbing the lone touchdown for the team. His ability to use his big frame was something I was hoping this team would utilize more often in the redzone.
The big story of the offense was that we saw life within the running game. Darius Victor came in and utilized some tough running that saw him run for 82 yards on 18 attempts. Overall the team had 122 yards and a 4.2 yards per attempt. Beginning the season I thought this team would try to lean on the run more and be a well balanced attack. If this unit can continue to run effectively they can shorten the game and win close games. To me this team has shown they will have to be a grind it out to win games and the best way to do that is with a strong run game. The one thing this team will have to do is clean up their penalties. Overall they had 100 yards and several penalties were on the offensive line.
As we say every week special teams in this league is going to be crucial. No there were no huge touchdown plays by the teams but the Guardians made the most of their opportunities. Matt McCrane his 3 field goals of 51, 23 and 47. Those three field goals were the difference in the game. The Wildcats kicker Nick Novak missed a 44 yard field goal in the 4th that would have tied the game. Those small details on the special team unit are the difference between a Guardians week 4 victory and a Guardians letdown.
Overall this game was what I expected for the New York Guardians. The defense played terrific making life difficult for the shorthanded Wildcats offense. The offense switched it up and was able to put enough points up to win the game. We saw a quarterback change and hopefully it is enough to ignite this unit. Yes this team has a ways to go but a win puts them in good position to stay afloat within the division. The New York Guardians week 4 win could go down as a defining point of the season.