The Commanders had several pressures in their week one matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Daron Payne, Montez Sweat, and Jonathan Allen combine for 18 pressures on the day, with Sweat having seven. All three players for Washington were top 15 in pressures as well. For Lawrence, it was a long day; and for Washington, their pass rush mitigated several downfield opportunities for Jacksonville.
Here’s how defensive line games and individual wins contributed to a great day providing pressure.
Starting with Washington’s first defensive drive, Jacksonville faced a 3rd and long inside the redzone. Payne and Allen align next two one another as a shade technique and 3-tech, respectively. Payne and Allen start their rush path to their left, which gets the center and left guard flowing right. Payne executes a well-timed loop, accelerating around Allen after he crashes into the center. The acceleration and rip move helps Payne close in on Trevor Lawrence, who ultimately delivers a wildly inaccurate pass.
Washington executes another well-timed stunt on the Jaguars offensive line. With an End-Tackle (ET) stunt on the right and a Tackle-End (TE) stunt on the left, Washington won on both sides, and Allen finished the play. Allen won because Sweat took advantage of Tackle Cam Robinson slightly oversetting, and exploded off the line with a good burst inside of Robinson. Sweat won initially but continued penetrating the pocket with a strong, effective long-arm into Robinson’s chest. Because off Sweat’s rush path, Allen looped and replaced Sweat on the edge, providing himself a golden opportunity as Lawrence was forced out of the pocket.
The other angle would show William Jackson III getting beat on a double move in a Cover 0 look for Washington. However, Sweat generated excellent pressure upfront that ultimately affected Lawrence’s throw to Marvin Jones. To begin, Jamin Davis and Cole Holcomb simulated a double-A gap blitz with Cole Holcomb, ensuring that Davis got a one-on-one matchup with Travis Etienne. Etienne had an effective blitz pickup; however, the blitz forced Lawrences to make a play from the pocket, or escape around the edge, something that Washington did an excellent job at preventing. Then, on the edge, Sweat wins his 1-on-1 matchup with Robinson with an elite-level long arm that covers an incredible amount of ground as he closes in on Lawrence. While Sweat did not get the sack, he ultimately impacted the throw, and he saved Washington’s secondary from a big play.
Good sign seeing your 1st RD picks winning their 1-on-1 matchups in passing situations. A pressure that got negated b/c of Fuller's DPI. Payne took advantage of the matchup vs. the Rook creating interior pressure. Was able to keep TLaw contained because he won. Forced poor pass. pic.twitter.com/U4qXj0o5ny— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 14, 2022
Allen and Payne align as 3-tech pass rushers, leaving the A-gap uncovered on the line. Both Payne and Allen slant inside, leaving the rookie center Luke Fortner with nobody to block at the snap. Payne beats Brandon Scherff inside with quickness and good hand usage to penetrate the pocket, swiping Scherff’s hands and leaving him off-balance. Sweat creates intense backside pressure again, beating Robinson with another elite long-arm using great pad-level as he closes in on Lawrence.
The game-sealing interception by Darrick Forrest was a culmination of Montez Sweat earning his paycheck against LT Cam Robinson all day. Robinson attempts to jump-set Sweat; however, Robinson does not have good technique and leaves his feet in a position to give Sweat an inside rush lane to the quarterback. Sweat quickly recognizes Robinson’s plan against him and wins inside with a shake around the edge, where Robinson’s chip-help is. Sweat’s relentless pursuit hurries Lawrence into a poor decision.
The Commanders defensive line was successful throughout most of the day against Jacksonville; they showed what good rush lanes and effective stunt games can do to create pressure and protect their secondary. What did you think about the Commanders defensive line? Do you trust them to continue producing this rate of pressure on a weekly basis? Or is this not sustainable?
Here’s a breakdown of Washington’s matchup against the Jaguars.