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Commanders Vs. Giants (Game One) - Studs and Duds

NFL: Washington Commanders at New York Giants Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s VERY evident that this team is not equipped to chase points. After taking an early 10-0 lead, the Giants outscored the Commanders 20-3, and it took an amazing fourth and four throw from Heinicke and an OUTSTANDING catch, spin and run from rookie Jahan Dotson to tie the game. Kudos to the Commanders defense for not allowing the Giants to score in the fourth quarter or overtime, however Washington’s offense was not able to put any points on the scoreboard in overtime either and had to settle for a disappointing tie.

It’s hard to be angry at the result, when we had the injuries we did along the offensive line today. Cosmi (playing left guard) was lost early on which resulted in Washington having to go back to Wes Schweitzer. If you think that was bad, the loss of center Tyler Larsen was even worse. Nick Martin entered the game and it immediately became uglier.

There are two distinct facts here: 1) This o-line is NOT good pass protecting; and 2) This offense is not built to play from behind. This ultimately hurt us down the stretch.

Below are my Studs and Duds followed by some Notes.


Terry McLaurin - Mclaurin led all receivers with eight receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown on his great effort after a catch in the right flat where he broke a Fabian Moreau tackle and jogged into the endzone.

Jahan Dotson - After a few slow weeks since returning to the lineup after a hamstring injury, Dotson had a really nice game, hauling in five receptions for 54 yards and the amazing catch and run below. It’s imperative we get this man more involved in the offense moving forward.

Daron Payne - The big man played a very good game inside. He had four tackles, two of which were sacks, another for a loss and multiple pressures on the afternoon.

Jonathan Allen - Much like his counterpart above, Allen was all over the field creating havoc yet again. He was third on the team with eight total tackles, notched a sack and forced a fumble (along with Jamin Davis).


Christian Holmes - The rookie had a really rough game and was eventually replaced by Danny Johnson who looked a LOT better.

Tyler Larsen - I hate putting a guy who got injured on the Duds list, however Larsen was really bad before exiting the game. Dexter Lawrence was routinely eating his lunch.

Wes Schweitzer - I don’t know if it was rust, of if Schweitzer is that bad (I tend to lean toward the former), but this was a very poor performance at left guard when Wes entered the game to replace the injured Cosmi.

Commanders Tight Ends - I lauded this group for their efforts in past weeks, however they were not very good today. Penalties, missed blocks and not much overall production played into my decision to collectively place them on this list. There was a series in the third quarter where Logan Thomas was called for two penalties, THEN gave up a pressure that resulted in a hit to Heinicke’s arm while he tried to throw the football.

Refs - I hate to pin blame on the refs, but this was a VERY lopsided game when it came to penalties. The ones that should have been called (when Kayvon Thibodeaux ripped Lucas’ helmet off) were not. The phantom holding call on Leno was egregious.


- Taylor Heinicke showed a lot of grit and determination today, and for that I give him a ton of credit. He wasn’t perfect, but who would be when you are under the amount of pressure he was under Sunday afternoon. He did miss some open guys (especially the would-be walk-in touchdown to Logan Thomas early on) and air-mailed a few, however he also made some AMAZING throws like the one below on fourth and four (which was simply outstanding) and hung in there in the face of some intense pressure. Gutsy performance overall by #4, and I’m proud of him!

-Brian Robinson had 111 scrimmage yards on the afternoon. He ran with authority and showed some good burst when he hit the hole.

-Much like Robinson, Curtis Samuel had a sneaky-good game. He hauled in six receptions for 63 yards and added 23 yards on three carries. He’s showing his worth in what really amounts to his first healthy season in D.C.

- Charles Leno had a rough afternoon, however not all of it was on him. There were some phantom penalties and some questionable line calls that made him look a lot worse than how he played (which wasn’t that good BTW).

- Much like his bookend to the left, Cornelius Lucas didn’t fare very well against the Giants pass rush. He routinely gets abused against the rush, and today was no different.

- Tyler Larsen was not a world-beater and was not having his best game at center but he was doing a nice job calling the protections and keeping the unit playing as one. This all changed when he got injured and Nick Martin (who should also be a Dud) was forced to come in. It went downhill quickly from there. Wow, how we do miss Roullier!

- Jamin Davis had an up and down game against New York. He made a few splash plays but was also fooled and out of position on some runs where Washington got gashed. He did help force a fumble (along with Allen) and made the recovery early in the contest.

- Despite leading the team in tackles, this wasn’t Curl’s best game. He missed some tackles and was out of position on a few of Daniel Jones’ runs.

- As mentioned above, rookie Christian Holmes struggled in coverage against the Giants depleted receiving corps, however Danny Johnson fared much better when he replaced Holmes in the lineup. He had two pass breakups and a sack on the afternoon.

- We desperately need two new offensive tackles and at least one new guard in the offseason. A drafted rookie and two veterans would be an ideal mix.

- I want to hold the play calling on offense accountable. We did NOT perform well and again continued to struggle in the redzone, however I don’t know what can be done with three reserve offensive linemen in the game and Martindale, a guy known for bringing exotic pressures, having his guys pin their ears back and bringing 5-6 against said reserves. Folks will point the finger - as they should, but we all saw this line couldn’t block the Giants front. Look at the battered Heinicke if you need further proof. We tend to pin a lot of this on Scott Turner, however John Matsko is the one responsible for designing the protections for the week based on the front the defense is showing. Having TE’s in blocking (or not blocking) the Giants EDGE defenders in pass protection was a MASSIVE failure on his part.