Sure, an ugly win is obviously preferred over a pretty loss, but the Washington Commanders scored a “moral victory” of sorts with an overtime defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles. One week following a horrible loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Commanders put forth a determined effort against the team in green. The 34-31 loss to the best (arguably) team in the NFC was a very positive statement for the Burgundy and Gold. Let’s assess what happened in the game, hand out some grades, and check the PFF ratings
JP Finlay said that Terry Mclaurin had tears in his eyes after the Commanders game against the Eagles. He cares #HTTC— PedroSchmith (@PedroSchmithYT) October 2, 2023
The offense performed at a much higher level when compared to the previous game. Last week, many fans had a very low opinion of the quarterback, offensive coordinator, wide receivers, offensive line, and tight ends. What a difference a week makes – and the grades that you see today are a clear reflection of that change.
Sam Howell unquestionably produced the most complete game of his short career thus far and has earned praise for his performance from the coaches, teammates, fans, media, and many of the Eagles players. Also, we have awarded him with “stud” recognition this week.
Stats: 29-41 for 290 yards, 1 TD, 6 rushes for 40 yards, PFF rating 74.0, QBR 98.6
.@Commanders @Sam7Howell QB; Sam Howell bounced back v @Eagles He had to take his hits and his attacks but was unflappable. Classic drive to tie game on final play. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/vJ38uyRRT9— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 2, 2023
May take many more games for us to know what Sam Howell really is -- with Cousins it took years, if we ever even agreed at all -- but after his showing in Philly I'm wide-open to the possibility of Howell being The Guy.— Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) October 3, 2023
The numbers were down considerably for the running back duo of Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson. The Eagles defensive line limited their production, but Robinson had a nifty fifteen yard run for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Stats: Robinson – 14 carries for 45 yards, 2 catches for 6 yards, PFF rating 45.3
Gibson – 6 carries for 19 yards, 1 catches for 7 yards, 1 fumble (recovered by Gibson), PFF rating 51.1
Brian Robinson: 19 rushes for a first down this season (2nd in the NFL) pic.twitter.com/XZN1tMFCUS— PFF Commanders (@PFF_Washington) October 3, 2023
Logan Thomas had a solid day with timely receptions and was able to pick up a key first down with a carry from the quarterback position.
Stats: Thomas – 3 catches for 41 yards, 3 targets, 1 carry for 2 yards, PFF rating 57.8
John Bates – 1 catch for 6 yards, 1 target, PFF rating 60.0
BIG BOY THROW in the face of pressure here by Howell to Logan Thomas pic.twitter.com/lz1zpSSRMg— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) October 1, 2023
The receivers enjoyed their best game of the season thus far. Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Dyami Brown had several key receptions. Jahan Dotson produced THE touchdown catch as time expired in the fourth quarter.
Stats: Terry McLaurin – 8 catches for 86 yards, 10 targets, 1 TD (fumble recovery) PFF rating 73.7
Curtis Samuel – 7 catches for 51 yards, 8 targets, 1 carry for 1 yard and a TD, PFF rating 71.0
Dyami Brown – 2 catches for 51 yards, 3 targets, PFF rating 74.8
Jahan Dotson – 4 catches for 27 yards, 9 targets, 1 TD, PFF rating 53.4
Curtis Samuel (1)— NFL TD Videos (@NFLTDsVideos) October 1, 2023
1 Yard pic.twitter.com/qs8tJb9rDv
This unit did not have a stellar game. Sam Howell was able to get the ball out quickly and mask the deficiencies of the line on Sunday.
Stats: Charles Leno – PFF rating 71.4
Nick Gates – PFF rating 69.2
Sam Cosmi – PFF rating 56.2
Saahdiq Charles – PFF rating 51.3
Andrew Wylie – PFF rating 49.0
Here is where the game was lost, especially with the defensive line. The defense handed the opposing offense another game of 30+ points and was constantly giving up big plays. It was the third straight game of surrendering so many scores.
Our favorite unit was out to lunch on Sunday. Quite frankly, this was one of their worst games since – oh, a week earlier against Buffalo! Those four first rounders need to step it up.
Stats: Jonathan Allen – 4 tackles, 1 sack, PFF rating 48.8
Chase Young – 3 tackles, 1 sack, PFF rating 61.1
Montez Sweat – 2 tackles, PFF rating 49.8
Jamin Davis continues to show steady improvement each week and he is developing into a solid linebacker, but more work is needed.
Stats: Cody Barton – 9 tackles, PFF rating 52.1
Davis – 6 tackles, PFF rating 54.4
Kam Curl had a solid game and Darrick Forrest improved from the previous week. Percy Butler is a liability in coverage at this point in the season.
Stats: Curl – 12 tackles, 1 sack, PFF rating 62.8
Forrest – 7 tackles, PFF rating 65.8
Kamren Curl is on pace for 157 tackles (98 solo) this season.— IDP Guys- We've got offense too! (@IDPGuys) October 2, 2023
He's also on pace for 13 TFLs.
Cheat code at safety pic.twitter.com/eQzllMYQSU
Benjamin St-Juste and Kendall Fuller gave it their all, but Emmanuel Forbes was completely outclassed by one of the best receivers in the league.
Stats: St-Juste – 5 tackles, PFF rating 86.4
Fuller – 3 tackles, PFF rating 67.0
Forbes – 9 tackles, 2 passes defensed, PFF rating 41.6
Commanders rookie CB Emmanuel Forbes had a tough outing against the Eagles.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) October 2, 2023
He said afterward that he views it as a "learning experience" and that "I just have to be better at my job." pic.twitter.com/kxdiDDtOCA
Joey Slye was perfect on Sunday and Camaron Cheeseman continued to look solid for a second straight week. A twenty-nine-yard punt from Tress Way in overtime contributed heavily to the winning field goal.
Stats: Way – 3 punts, 50-yard average, long of 57 yards
Joey Slye – 1-1 FG from 27 yards, 4-4 XPs
Tress Way rarely gets smoke, but that was a terrible punt.— Disco (@discoque5) October 1, 2023
The Commanders are now 2-2, but they were competitive on Sunday – particularly on offense. The schedule appears to be much more team-friendly going forward over the next few weeks. Sam Howell carried the offense on his shoulders and the receivers were superb.
The Commanders return to FedEx Field on Thursday night to take on the 0-4 Chicago Bears. Last week, yours truly predicted a three point loss to the Eagles, so let’s see if another prediction can be as accurate. And favor the Burgundy and Gold this time!
Commanders 33, Bears 17
It’s time to start a new and much longer winning streak. See you as we go along.