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Grading The Game – Washington Commanders vs. New England Patriots

After a week of stunning trades, a statement game places the Burgundy and Gold back into the playoff chase.

NFL: Washington Commanders at New England Patriots Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Before Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, the Washington Commanders were widely predicted to lose their third straight game. However, the visiting team fought with determination and tenacity throughout the game. In the process, their young quarterback has continued to gain more respect across the league. Sunday’s 20-17 road victory doesn’t guarantee a playoff slot, but it gives the team a needed boost to make it possible. We have grades from the game and a look at next week’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Note: The brief analysis after the grades/evaluations will no longer be a part of these weekly articles.


Washington’s offense went up against a top-ten defense for the second week in a row and quarterback Sam Howell continued to produce at a high level. Twenty points in a single game is nothing to brag about in today’s NFL, but the Commanders played well on the road against a solid defense.


Howell had one of the key plays in the first half with a 24-yard run on 3rd and 23 late in the second quarter. It prevented New England from mounting a quick scoring drive and this play turned out to be a significant factor in a close game.

Stats: 29-45 for 325 yards, 5 rushes for 27 yards, I TD, 1 INT, PFF rating 77.9, QBR 84.0

Assessment: B

Running Backs

The running backs had a good day, but a lost fumble by Brian Robinson came at a very inopportune moment and it resulted in a Patriots touchdown a few plays later. Antonio Gibson had one of his best receiving games in this new offense.

Stats: Robinson – 18 carries for 63 yards, 1 TD, 1 catch for four yards, 1 FL, PFF rating 51.1

Gibson – 6 carries for 34 yards, 5 catches for 42 yards, PFF rating 84.9

Assessment: B-

Tight Ends

The tight ends continue to lag in Eric Bieniemy’s offense and Sunday’s game against the Patriots was no exception. The blocking from this unit was also not a positive for Washington.

Stats: Logan Thomas – 4 catches for 31 yards, 6 targets, PFF rating 55.4

John Bates – 1 catch for -5 yards, 2 targets, PFF rating 55.4

Assessment: C-

Wide Receivers

Terry McLaurin, Jahan Dotson, and Byron Pringle had a solid game. Jamison Crowder continues to provide timely receptions, but Dyami Brown let a touchdown on a beautiful Sam Howell throw go right through his hands.

Stats: McLaurin – 5 catches for 73 yards, 7 targets, PFF rating 69.7

Dotson – 4 catches for 69 yards, 8 targets, 1 TD, PFF rating 66.4

Pringle – 3 catches for 55 yards, 4 targets, PFF rating 80.4

Assessment: A-

Offensive Line

It wasn’t perfect, but the offensive line provided Howell with adequate protection on Sunday and gifted the running backs with some solid blocking. Early in the second quarter, Brian Robinson was able to score untouched on a nine-yard touchdown.

Stats: Charles Leno – 84.1 (Run), 77.3 (Pass)

Chris Paul – 63.1 (Run), 69.0 (Pass)

Andrew Wylie – 72.0 (Run), 66.5 (Pass)

Sam Cosmi – 68.4 (Run), 43.0 (Pass)

Tyler Larsen – 73.6 (Run). 29.7 (Pass)

Assessment: B


Going up against one of the worst offenses in the league is what the doctor ordered, and the defense delivered just enough of what was needed. Younger players provided many decisive moments in the game, especially on the final play to seal the victory.

Defensive Line

The stats are not that good and it was obvious that the trades from last week affected this group on Sunday. KJ Henry had a sack taken away from him on a very questionable penalty.

Stats: Efe Obada – 1 tackle, 3 hurries, PFF rating 83.8

Andre Jones – 1 tackle, 1 pass batted down, PFF rating 66.7

Daron Payne – 2 tackles, 1 hurry, PFF rating 53.2

Jonathan Allen – 1 tackle, 2 hurries, PFF rating 49.6

Assessment: C-


The linebackers were serviceable, but Jamin Davis badly missed on a cross dog (normally a blitz) and took himself out of the play. It turned out to be a 70-yard rushing touchdown for New England’s Rhamondre Stevenson.

Stats: Davis – 9 tackles, 1 pass defended, 1 hurry, PFF rating 61.8

Hudson – 4 tackles, PFF rating 42.1

David Mayo – 4 tackles, PFF rating 78.3

Assessment: C


Quan Martin came down with an interception that allowed Washington to close out the game with a victory formation. Percy Butler had a decent game and Kam Curl continues to be one of the best defensive players on this team.

Stats: Martin – 1 tackle, 1 pass defended, 1 INT, PFF rating 72.7

Curl – 6 tackles, PFF rating 67.5

Butler – 3 tackles, 1 pass defended, PFF rating 60.8

Assessment: B


This is the group that had a superb game on Sunday. It wasn’t perfect, but they were able to contain New England’s receivers for much of the game. Welcome back, Emmanuel Forbes!

Stats: Forbes – 3 tackles, 2 passes defended, PFF rating 91.3

Benjamin St-Juste – 3 tackles, 3 passes defended, PFF rating 65.1

Kendall Fuller – 6 tackles, 1 pass defended, PFF rating 55.9

Assessment: A-

Special Teams

Let’s give a big nod to Joey Slye for setting a team and personal record when he booted a 61-yard field goal against the Eagles. He was perfect again on Sunday and Tress Way had another fine game. Crowder and Gibson had good punt and kickoff returns.

Stats: Joey Slye – 2-2 FGA, 2-2 XPs

Tress Way – 5 punts, 47.8-yard average, long of 64 yards, 4 inside the 20, 1 touchback

Assessment: B-

Week 10 Prediction

The Commanders will travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is currently well-positioned in the playoff hunt and Washington is still fighting an uphill battle. A win would certainly help the Burgundy and Gold, but it will be a very tough game. The internet hack makes his choice.

Seahawks 29, Commanders 27

After last week’s trades, the Commanders have nine picks in the 2024 draft, including extra draft selections in the second and third rounds. See you as we go along.