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Commanders Vs. Cowboys (Game Two) - Studs and Duds

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Well, this roller-coaster ride of a season has finally come to an end, and when all is said and done the Commanders are pretty much exactly who we thought they were - a .500 team with poor coaching and a lot of holes to fill this offseason.

Now I will say one thing - to all of the people out there complaining about this win; shame on you! These are professional athletes who have pride in what they do, and a higher draft pick doesn’t matter to them, nor should it matter to you. I’m very happy that we beat Dallas, even it if means dropping two spots in the 2023 NFL draft. Part of that is because I love to win and the other part is how much I despise Dallas!

As for the actual game - this one was pretty much dominated from start to finish by Washington. Del Rio’s MASH Unit played outstanding against one of the best offenses in the NFL, and rookie Sam Howell led a well-balanced offensive attack that was conservative but took some shots when they were there.

I know heading into the offseason with so many holes to fill, and a coaching staff that has lost the confidence of almost the entire fanbase, is tough, but there are some solid building pieces on this football team and quarterback may just now be one of them. At the very least, it will give us something to talk about for the next six months.

Below are my Studs and Duds of yesterday’s season finale, followed by some notes.


Sam Howell - Howell’s stat line wasn’t eye-popping, and in all honesty, this is probably a little bit more of me feeding into the hype. He was 11-19 for 169 yards, with a touchdown and a very poor interception in the endzone. However, he did chip 35 rushing yards and a touchdown. What really stood out to me is the quick decision making, accuracy, arm strength (the deep ball to Terry was beautiful), and how he really took on a leadership role and at no time did the game look too big for him. Yesterday, he looked like the best quarterback on this roster (I know that’s not the highest bar to have been set). I don’t know if Sam is the future or not, but I’d surely like to find out...

Oh - and shame on this staff for not making this move earlier!

Kendall Fuller - Fuller made a few nice plays in coverage, but none was bigger than his pick-six in the flat on a perfectly played squat-two coverage. Fuller really redeemed himself after a horrible game the previous week against Cleveland.

Terry McLaurin - Terry had an uncharacteristic drop on an easy, would-be first down catch where Howell put the ball right on him. I’m not about to hold that against the captain, as he’s made plenty of plays with defenders draped all over him. On the afternoon he had three catches for 74 yards and a touchdown. For the season, he had 77 receptions for a career high 1191 yards and five touchdowns.

Jaret Patterson - He looked explosive on the afternoon, carrying 17 times for 78 yards, but what really stood out to me was his vastly improved blocking. There were a few times he saved Howell’s tail after pressure broke through.

Defense - Overall, this unit performed outstanding in a game they had nothing to play for but pride. Despite missing five key starters, Del Rio’s unit stepped up and held a pretty potent Cowboy’s offense, who played starters well into the fourth quarter, to just six points.


Sam Cosmi - The second-year offensive tackle was horrible in pass protection, routinely giving up pressure off the edge and often over-setting, allowing himself to be susceptible to the inside move. I know he’s been battling injury in year two, but to me he’s regressed from what I thought was a solid rookie season.

Joey Slye - Slye missed two field goals and an extra point. He left 10 points on the field, in what should have been an even bigger blow-out of the Cowboys.


- I think we may have found something pretty special in second year safety Darrick Forrest. I give Ron a lot of $*#@ for some of his personnel decisions, but Forrest is a case of both identifying and developing talent.

- Khaleke Hudson looked very solid at linebacker and flashed a few times on the afternoon. It really makes you scratch your head as to why we were running Bostic and Mayo out there during Holcomb’s absence.

- Danny Johnson continued to make plays again in coverage. He’s not the biggest guy, and he may not have eye-popping athleticism, but he continued to make plays down the stretch for this secondary. I’m looking forward to watching him grow in the offseason.

- Percy Butler showed very well at safety against Dallas. He made some nice plays on some deep balls and came up and made some solid tackles in run support. It will be very interesting to see how this young player progresses in the offseason.

- Wes Schweitzer struggled again at center. The only reason he’s not on the duds list is because he’s not a true center and is filling in out of necessity.

- Chris Paul, who was starting for the injured coaches-pet Andrew Norwell, didn’t look too bad. He did give up a few pressures, but he showed good effort, and looked a LOT more athletic than the man he replaced. I think he needs to work hard in the weight room during the offseason if he wants to compete for a starting spot next year.

- John Ridgeway was disruptive against his former team, recording five total tackles, two that counted as stuffs, and three pressures. What a pickup he turned out to be for the Commanders!

- Benning Potoa’e (yeah, I didn’t know him either), flashed a few times during the game, including a nice TFL and pressure.

- This can’t go without saying - this whole staff needs to be fired!