Date: April 16, 2018
Time: 7:00 pm
Location: NEXTEL Stadium, Washington D.C.
In the final game of the regular season, our Washington Sentinels take on Dallas at home, with a playoff berth on the line. Three weeks ago, Eddie Martel and the rest of the Sentinels’ regular roster went on strike, along with the rest of the league, forcing owner Ed O’Neil and head coach Jimmy McGinty to find replacement players to finish out the regular season and hopefully make a playoff push. Headlining those replacement players was former Ohio State standout and Sugar Bowl choke artist Shane Falco.
After a heartbreaking loss, Falco’s maturity began to rub off on this team of misfits, leading them two consecutive victories, and setting Washington up for a potential miracle playoff berth.
However, just this week, the entire Dallas squad, as well as Sentinels quarterback Eddie Martel, crossed the picket line and will play this Sunday. This essentially means that the Sentinels will be using a replacement squad to beat the defending champs’ real squad. Yikes.
Last Time Out
Last week, Shane Falco starred once again as the Sentinels took down Phoenix 22-21 on the back of a few incredible plays, including a touchdown pass and two point conversion to notoriously stone-handed receiver Clifford Franklin to win the game, and an incredible rushing touchdown which featured multiple fumbles. Here’s the breakdown from John Madden:
On his game-winning touchdown catch, Franklin was understandably confident. “We just beginning to scratch the surface of the talent of Clifford Franklin. Clifford Franklin got moves that Clifford Franklin ain’t even seen yet.”
While we don’t know exactly what to expect from Dallas, given the return of the regular squad after a few weeks off, but we do know that they’re the defending champions and will likely be the favorite heading into the game.
Sentinels Offense vs. Dallas Defense
The Sentinels have been largely good on offense over the last three games behind Shane Falco and running back Walter Cochran. Clifford Franklin has made tremendous strides as well, as he actually caught a real life football last week. With the return of Eddie Martel, who many regard as the best quarterback in the league, the offense does have a chance to improve even further. However, one thing worth noting is that Martel will be the only returning starter this week before the entire team comes back next week. This could cause some friction between the diva quarterback and his blue collar teammates, who have a well-established comradery with Falco.
Besides Cochran, Falco, and Franklin, one player to keep an eye on will be Brian Murphy, a deaf tight end who played college football at Gallaudet University in Washington DC. Many scouts believe Murphy was talented enough to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft, had it not been for his impairment. The offensive line is also a brute, made up of brothers Andre and Jamal Jackson, bouncers at Washington club, and a former sumo wrestler named Fumiko.
Look for the offense to utilize those weapons against a rusty Dallas defense. One thing Martel will need to be on the lookout for is added pass rushers, as Dallas likes to bring their safeties and put the pressure on.
Sentinels Defense vs. Dallas Offense
Led by cop-turned-psycho linebacker Danny Bateman and his relatively mysterious linebacking partner Ray Smith, the Sentinel defense has been able to punish opposing quarterbacks with regularity. According to amateur video taken at team practices, Bateman is such an intense pass rusher that Falco actually had to tell Bateman repeatedly to not to tackle people wearing the red jerseys, likening the color to a stop light.
Washington was fortunate to have a solid replacement kicker available when the strike became official. McGinty brought in wirey Welshman Nigel “The Leg” Gruff, known for his hard partying lifestyle and crippling gambling addiction in addition to an extremely powerful leg. His unabashed self-confidence and cannon kicking leg should prove to be a solid weapon on special teams.
Keys to Victory
- Get Brian Murphy involved in the game. He’s a big-time receiving threat and will be a frequent target for Martel in the passing game until he can get back into a rhythm after a few weeks off.
- Danny Bateman and Ray Smith making third down stops. Against a real professional football team, the defense will need all the help they can get, and getting sacks and TFLs on third down will go a long way towards victory.
- Heart. The team’s gotta have heart.
Washington - 14
Dallas - 21