The Washington Commanders were 2-1 and going on the road for their first division game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. They had just been blown out at home against the Buffalo Bills, and needed to play a near-perfect game to beat the 3-0 Eagles. Washington played them until overtime, but Philly got the win after getting the field goal.
The Commanders were more than 8-point underdogs going into that game, and most people expected the Eagles to cover that large spread after the performance from Sam Howell and the team the previous week. Howell showed the audience why the team had made him QB1, and how he could overcome the worst game of his career. Washington didn’t win this week, but they did move up in many of the power rankings. Their average score improved by almost one full spot.
DraftKings still has raised the Over/Under for Washington’s team win total back to 7 1⁄2 after it had dropped to 6 1⁄2 after the Bills game. Washington opened as 6-point home favorites against the Chicago Bears, and that line has been moving between 6 and 7 since Sunday.
Last week: 12
Ron Rivera had to go for two when Washington scored on the final play of regulation. One play from the 2-yard line for the win is a lot better as a road underdog taking its chances in overtime. Rivera kicked the extra point and the Commanders predictably lost in overtime. But overall, it was pretty impressive for Washington to play that well against Philadelphia. A Thursday game at Chicago should lead to a 3-2 record, which would be just fine for this point of the season. Last week: 16
Last week: 22
They’re 6-3 in prime time since 2020, but Thursday night’s date with Chicago is Washington’s only scheduled appearance in 2023. Last week: 25
On one hand, after being embarrassed at home by the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, giving the Eagles all they could handle in Philadelphia was a step in the right direction for the Washington Commanders. Quarterback Sam Howell played his best game of the season, throwing for 290 yards and a touchdown.
That’s the spin Howell put on the game while speaking to reporters—that the Commanders rebounded from a blowout loss and showed they can hang with arguably the best team in the NFC.
“It was definitely a game I think we should have won and we were capable of winning it,” Howell said. “We feel like we can play a lot better and that is a good thing. We were really close against a good team.”
But close doesn’t count in the NFL, and when the game ended the Commanders were on the short end of the scoreboard for a second straight time.
Now the Commanders enter what’s really something of a pivotal stretch in the schedule ahead of a Week 8 rematch with the Eagles—three games against the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons and New York Giants.
There’s considerable pressure on the Commanders to win at least two of those games if they want to be considered a legitimate wild-card contender. Last week: 18
The Commanders fell short of completing an amazing comeback against the Eagles, but the fact that Sam Howell continues to show that he can lead them from behind when need be, as well as shake off dreadful performances- those are both great things to have in a quarterback. He rolls like a desperado and balls like no tomorrow until it’s over and it’s all she wrote (S-tier T.I. song, by the way). Last week: 15
After getting their doors blown off by the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, the Washington Commanders raised some eyebrows by taking the Philadelphia Eagles to overtime. A loss drops this team to 2-2 and its victories over Arizona and Denver by a combined six points look even worse in hindsight. However, Washington could string together three wins in a row as long as they handle their business against sub-par teams (Bears, Falcons, Giants). Last week: 19
Defensive efficiency: 54.9 (16th)
Biggest issue on defense: Explosive pass plays
Washington has allowed 11 pass plays of 25 yards or more, tying for second most in the NFL with Chicago. That’s the same number the Commanders allowed in the final eight games of 2022. They’ve already allowed five touchdowns on such plays, two less than all of last season. A lot of it is youth: Rookie corner Emmanuel Forbes has allowed several long pass plays and was involved in some fashion, whether in man or zone, in four 25-plus-yard gains vs. Philadelphia Sunday. Coaches want the aggressive Forbes to be more disciplined with his technique. — John Keim Last week: 17
The Commanders were back in Philadelphia, where a year ago they handed the Eagles their first loss of 2022 (after an 8-0 start). Ron Rivera’s team was humbled at home the previous week by the Bills. However, this would be a much different story as Washington owned a 17-7 second-quarter lead before the Eagles came all the way back.
Down 24-17 and 31-24, the Commanders responded with tying scores. They sent the game into overtime on the final play of regulation when Sam Howell found Jahan Dotson for a 10-yard TD. Rivera’s team succumbed in OT. Last week: 19
Yes, I’m bumping a team up after a loss. Why not? It’s not as if anyone below them is overly deserving. I’m still mad at Ron Rivera for kicking the extra point in Philly. Tired players are such a flimsy excuse — it’s one play! Disappointing as it was to play for overtime, this was a fun performance from Sam Howell and a nice response to getting bludgeoned by Buffalo the week before. If Howell can keep calm under pressure more often, the Commanders are a feisty team. Last week: 21
Running back Brian Robinson has been one of the biggest beneficiaries under offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy. He’s already exceeded his touchdown total from 2022 after scoring four times in four games and also racked up 261 yards on the ground in the Commanders’ much-improved offense. Last week: 19
The Washington Commanders are a talented but inconsistent football team. Two weeks ago they were obliterated by the Bills, while last week they took the Eagles to overtime. We can count on Washington’s defensive front to consistently make an impact.
Washington football fans are used to inconsistent quarterback play. Sam Howell fits right into that legacy because he pairs an impressive ceiling with a horrifying floor early in his career. His bottom-tier offensive line put consistent quarterback play further out of reach for Washington. Last week: 23
Last week: 16
The NFC East is too tough to blow a chance to steal a road win against one of the other three teams in the division. Last week: 16
The Commanders made it a game with an undefeated Eagles team on Sunday. They led 17-13 in the third and were able to tie it up 24-24 in the fourth but could do nothing in overtime. It was an impressive showing in a loss for Washington. Last week: 19
Last week: 19
The showed much better against the Eagles than they did the week before. That’s progress. Sam Howell was much better. Last week: 15
The Washington Commanders deserved a chance to win or lose the game in regulation. Their coach failed them. Ron Rivera failed to show the confidence and conviction to let his guys, who just drove down the field to score with no time left on the clock, try to win the game.
They had a chance in overtime, but everyone in the world except Rivera knew the outcome as soon as they kicked the PAT. They were already the plucky underdog. Would you rather have a chance to win the game with a rookie QB on one play from the two or with an overtime drive against the Philadelphia Eagles defensive front?
Make it make sense, “Riverboat” Ron. Last week: 19
The Sam Howell roller coaster ride continued for the Commanders. The first-year starter is on pace to be sacked 102 times this season. David Carr holds the record for the most-sacked quarterback. He was taken down 76 times in 2002, and his career was never the same. Washington might want to think about protecting Howell some because he looked pretty good leading a game-tying, 64-yard drive in the final 1:36 Sunday. Last week: 20
The theme here should be resiliency. We saw Sam Howell take his lumps — big ones — in the nine-sack, four-pick outing in Week 3, but he came back on Sunday and was great, albeit in an overtime loss to the Eagles. Howell got the Commanders out to a strong start and then rallied them back with two clutch fourth-quarter TD drives. I’m just as hopeful that CB Emmanuel Forbes can have a similar rebirth, because Sunday was a rough one for the rookie. The Eagles went after Forbes right away and didn’t stop. Forbes allowed197 yards on nine catches, including the double-move 28-yard TD by A.J. Brown, per Next Gen Stats. Those were tough assignments, and I still believe in the intriguing first-round pick — and the overall fight of this team. Last week: 22
Sam Howell has some good weapons and is a gamer, but this team cannot seem to put together everything offensively and defensively against tougher opponents. Ron Rivera remains on the rocks, and he badly needs his current team to beat his former team, the Bears. Last week: 20
Last week: 14
Sam Howell is throwing for about as many air yards per pass as Patrick Mahomes, and is far from the bottom-five starter we had projected him to be at the beginning of the season. I would have to say that, if I’m Josh Harris and the new ownership group, the combination of Ron Rivera and Eric Bieniemy has to be growing on me. Like Jonathan Gannon in Arizona, the talent isn’t there, but the maximization of said talent is there. The Commanders have a better team than the Cardinals, but they don’t have nearly as good a team as the Eagles. Staying in a fistfight with the defending NFC champions shows a well-prepared and still-motivated group. Last week: 27
Terry McLaurin (turf toe) is starting to look healthy and the Commanders defensive line is one of the most fearsome units in the league. Last week: 26
Last week: 25
Last week: 26
Last week: 28
You’re Ron Rivera. Your team, down seven as nine-point underdogs, just scored a touchdown on the last play of the game on the road against the defending NFC champions. The opposing defense is exhausted, and you have all the momentum and a chance to shock the world. Do you:
A) Go for two and the win, potentially giving your team a surprising 3-1 record and putting them atop the NFC East a month into the season?
B) Settle for an extra point you might miss anyway and hope for a “50-50” chance in overtime on the road, then compound the moronic decision by playing prevent defense on 3rd-and-17 in overtime to allow the opponent to get into field goal range? But hey, at least you tried?
Riverboat Ron? Etch, draw that man in a chicken suit. Last week: 26
Where should the Washington Commanders be ranked going into Week 4?
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