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NFL Power Rankings: A huge loss to the Detroit Lions tanks the Washington Commanders

The Washington Commanders move way down

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Washington Commanders v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders are 1-1 and looked like a bottom 3 team in the first half of their 36-27 loss to the Detroit Lions. Washington saw a noticeable uptick in their rankings after their Week 1 win over the Jaguars, but the Carson Wentz experience was mentioned in a lot of the rankings. The entire team was a dud during the first half, and Wentz had his ups and downs in the 2nd half, but there was more good than bad for the final two quarters. Ultimately if you lose, you’re likely to drop as fast as Washington’s defense. We did get a call for Jack Del Rio’s job though!

High: 20

Low: 28

Average: 24.4



Last Week: 21


USA Today(Davis)

Solid start for QB Carson Wentz, who leads the NFC in passing yards (650) and TDs (7). Last Week: 19


Give the Commanders credit for battling against the Lions and hanging around despite trailing 22-0 at one point. However, if you ever find yourself trailing 22-0 to the Lions, how good could you possibly feel about your performance? Last Week: 20


Fox News(Gaydos)

Last Week: 10


Athlon Sports(Fischer)

The stats say that Carson Wentz is off to a good start in D.C. but actually watching him and this offense in action is a slightly different story. More concerning than that roller coaster for Ron Rivera? The disappearance of a once tough and active defense capable of slowing down any attack. Last Week: 18


It’s time for the Washington Commanders to turn the page and move on from defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. While Carson Wentz was far from perfect on Sunday, Del Rio’s defense put Washington into a hole it could never climb out from. Of course, given the loyalty Ron Rivera shows to certain people, change likely isn’t happening. Last Week: 21

Bleacher Report

It’s something of a coincidence that the Commanders were ranked 22nd in last week’s NFL power rankings here at Bleacher Report. As it happens, that’s also how many points the team allowed in the first half.

The problem is that Washington did so without scoring a single point of its own.

After the loss, Washington head coach Ron Rivera applauded his squad’s fight in the second half against the Lions while bemoaning the fact the team started so slowly.

“We started making plays in the second half,” Rivera said. “If we could have done that in the second quarter, this whole day might have been different. At halftime, we talked about the fact that we don’t have a 22-point play.

“We were going to have to take our time and start making plays. I’m very, very proud of the way we responded—we know that we’re capable of playing that way—but we have to be consistent. This league is hard and we were horrible in the first half.”

The reality is that the Commanders very nearly lost to the Jaguars in Week 1—a loss that would have made the team 0-2 against teams that were 6-27-1 last year.

With the Giants finding ways to close out wins while the Commanders keep digging holes, it’s not unreasonable to slot the Commanders in the back of the NFC East. Last Week: 22

The Ringer(Gayle)

Last Week: 23

The Mercury News

Last Week: 22


The Athletic(Wulf)

Week 2 was another reminder that every football Sunday is guaranteed to deliver something you’ve never seen before. The Dolphins, Browns and Cardinals delivered the most memorable moments. Washington gave us the funniest.

In trying to claw back from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Ron Rivera opted for the analytically supported move to go for the two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown. The thinking goes, if converting a two-point conversion is about a 50-50 proposition, converting the two-pointer initially gives you a chance to win the game if you score again. If not, you can still go for two to tie the score later. Alas, not only did the Commanders fail to convert, but they also surrendered a quick Lions touchdown and then hilariously missed the extra point on their final touchdown of the game.

Credit to Carson Wentz for spreading the wealth on offense through two games. Six different Commanders have at least 70 yards receiving through two weeks, the most in the league. Last Week: 13

Yahoo Sports(Schwab)

The amount of explosive plays the Commanders allowed to the Lions on Sunday was troubling. Washington had a really good defense two seasons ago, but that seems to be long gone. They’re not going to have a ton of success this season trying to win shootouts. Last Week: 22

The Score

The Carson Wentz experience was always going to be a roller-coaster ride, but there have been more thrills than stomach-turning moments so far. Wentz has thrown for 650 yards with seven touchdowns to three interceptions through two games. An honorable mention should also go to rookie receiver Jahan Dotson, who’s caught three touchdowns. Last Week: 23

Sporting News(Iyer)

The Commanders’ defense is an absolute schematic and personnel mess, further exposed without Chase Young. That’s taking away from a loaded offense that has looked much more dangerous with Carson Wentz. Last Week: 25

Last Week: 22


Pro Football Network(Miller)

Maybe the Detroit Lions are better than we think. Maybe the Washington defense will find its way at some point this season, but Sunday was not that day. The Commanders allowed seven yards per play against Detroit and made Jared Goff look like it was 2018 and Sean McVay was calling plays.

Something’s gotta give. This defense underwhelmed a season ago and has continued that trend through two weeks. Their offense looks much improved from a season ago, but if they can’t stop anybody, they won’t find themselves rising in the NFL Power Rankings anytime soon. Last Week: 24

New York Post(Dunleavy)

Last Week: 21


Last Week: 23



Biggest early adjustment: Limit the big plays

Washington’s defense has allowed an NFL-high four plays of 40 yards or more in two games, with three coming vs. Detroit on Sunday. The Commanders have an explosive offense that can help them compete all season, but the defense needs to reduce the big plays — almost always a result of an individual breakdown. Sometimes it’s a young defensive back taking a bad angle or playing the wrong coverage. Sometimes it’s a couple of guys messing up a play. Washington has dealt with some injuries on defense, so that hasn’t helped, but the coaching staff needs to quickly develop its young talent — or scrap some of its aggressive plans — or the season could be derailed. — John Keim Last Week: 20

Walter Football

The Redskins could easily be 0-2 right now if the Jaguars didn’t shoot themselves in the foot repeatedly in Week 1. They struggled against a Detroit team that was missing three offensive linemen and a starting cornerback. This was not a good look for them. Making matters worse, center Chase Roullier could be out for the year. Last Week: 24

The 33rd Team(Domowitch)

Good news: Wentz has thrown 7 TD passes in his first two starts with Washington. That’s a 59-TD pace. He’s thrown more than 27 just once in his career (33 in 2017).

Bad news: The Commanders are giving up a hefty 7.5 yards per carry on the ground. Nearly a quarter of their opponents’ rushing attempts (9 of 42) have gained 10 yards or more, including four for 20-plus yards. Last Week: 23

The Lines

Carson Wentz started slow again before leading a comeback charge at Detroit. His numbers (57-for-87, 650 passing yards, 7 TD, 3 INT, 100.3 rating) look impressive to open the season, but he’s been far from consistent. Last Week: 25


Carson Wentz did his part after a quiet first half, but the Commanders won’t win many games by asking their quarterback to be a do-everything savior. Wentz got very little support from the running game (anemic for two weeks running), but the real culprit in Sunday’s loss to Detroit was a defense that allowed a relaxed Jared Goff to throw four touchdown passes without a pick and the Lions’ running game to rumble for 191 yards. Wentz and the offense did their best to make things interesting after the Commanders fell behind 22-0 at halftime, but the defense proved incapable of getting a big stop to shift the game’s momentum. Get well soon, Chase Young. Last Week: 24


If this was another middling year for the Commanders, but Carson Wentz finished the season as a top-10 quarterback and was amenable to some kind of affordable extension at season’s end, do you consider that a victory as a fan of this franchise? Last Week: 22

CBS Sports(Prisco)

The defense was awful against the Lions, which is not what you’d expect from this team. The Lions did what they wanted to do against them. Last Week: 17


They played well in the one half of the game they decided to show up for. Last Week: 23



The franchise was seeking its first 2-0 start since 2011 as Ron Rivera’s club traveled to the Motor City. But the Commanders’ defense had all kinds of issues, most notably in the first half, and dug themselves a 22-0 hole.

The team would rally in the second half but it wound up being too little and too late. Carson Wentz wound up throwing for 337 yards and three scores (1 interception). Washington defenders surrendered 425 total yards by game’s end. Last Week: 19


Where should the Washington be ranked after their Week 2 loss?

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    Top 15
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