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Grading The Game – Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams

Despite a late surge on Sunday, the Burgundy and Gold’s losing streak now stands at five straight games

NFL: Washington Commanders at Los Angeles Rams Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In a season of giving and being with family, loved ones, and friends, the Los Angeles Rams were not giving the Washington Commanders any presents on Sunday. In a game that appeared closer than it seemed, the home team grabbed an early lead and never trailed as the Burgundy and Gold lost their fifth straight game, 28-20. Let’s just jump right in to the analysis, grades, PFF ratings, and a prediction for the Jets game next Sunday.

Offense

The offense was dormant until halfway through the third quarter when a touchdown averted a shutout. Jacoby Brissett replaced an ineffective Sam Howell halfway into the fourth quarter and the score looked somewhat respectable in the end.

Quarterbacks

Has Sam Howell forced Washington to look at a quarterback in the first round of the upcoming draft? Jacoby Brissett rallied the troops down the stretch and this keeps the quarterback grade from being the lowest score possible.

Stats:

Howell – 11-26 for 102 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 3 rushes for 22 yards, PFF rating 56.4, QBR 50.5

Brissett – 8-10 for 124 yards, 1 TD, PFF rating 92.0, QBR 157.9

Assessment: C-

Running Backs

The running backs were clearly under-utilized and that is a coaching decision. Sure, the production could be better, but they can’t put up bigger numbers when the team is playing from behind.

Stats:

Chris Rodriquez – 10 carries for 35 yards, PFF rating 57.6

Antonio Gibson – 4 carries for 15 yards, 5 catches for 20 yards (5 targets), PFF rating 65.9

Assessment: C-

Tight Ends

Same as the last game – the stats will do the talking here.

Stats:

Logan Thomas – 1 catch for 7 yards, 3 targets, PFF rating 43.6

John Bates – 0 catches for 0 yards, 1 target, PFF rating 65.4

Assessment: F

Wide Receivers

The wide receivers came to life in the second half (well, at least two of them) and Brissett contributed heavily to their production.

Stats:

Terry McLaurin – 6 catches for 141 yards and 1 TD, 12 targets, PFF rating 88.0

Curtis Samuel – 5 catches for 41 yards and 2 TDs, 9 targets, PFF rating 60.8

Jahan Dotson – 1 catch for 12 yards, 1 target, PFF rating 53.2

Assessment: B

Offensive Line

The script was flipped. Pass protection was improved over the last game, but the run blocking was less than adequate on Sunday.

Stats: PFF Scores

Sam Cosmi - 92.0 (Run), 89.5 (Pass)

Charles Leno - 56.2 (Run), 81.4 (Pass)

Nick Gates - 60.0 (Run), 79.4 (Pass)

Andrew Wylie - 72.1 (Run), 69.6 (Pass)

Cornelius Lucas - 60.0 (Run), 53.9 (Pass)

Tyler Larsen - 52.8 (Run), 45.7 (Pass)

Saahdiq Charles - 43.9 (Run), 26.3 (Pass)

Chris Paul - 54.9 (Run), 15.3 (Pass)

Assessment: C-

Defense

The defense wasn’t perfect by any standard, but it was their best game in several weeks and it was against a potent offense. However, there was one play that seems to sum up this season for the Commanders.

Defensive Line

This unit performed reasonably well on Sunday and the stats are certainly a reflection of that improvement from what we have seen in recent weeks.

Stats:

Daron Payne – 3 tackles, 2 sacks, PFF rating 65.1

KJ Henry – 5 tackles, PFF rating 54.2

Jonathan Allen – 4 tackles, PFF rating 51.9

Casey Toohill – 4 tackles, PFF rating 56.6

Assessment: C+

Linebackers

Khaleke Hudson was all over the place and made several solid plays. Cody Barton had a fairly respectable game as well, but he did struggle a bit in coverage.

Stats:

Khaleke Hudson – 14 tackles, PFF rating 69.2

Barton – 13 tackles, PFF rating 67.1

Assessment: B-

Safeties

Quan Martin still has a lot to learn, but he performed well on Sunday. Percy Butler still needs work on deeper routes, but he had a decent game against the Rams. Also, Kam Curl was decent, but had a few mistakes at inopportune times.

Stats:

Curl – 5 tackles, PFF rating 56.9

Butler – 9 tackles, PFF rating 65.1

Martin – 10 tackles, 1 sack, PFF rating 62.3

Assessment: C

Cornerbacks

Kendall Fuller continues to be a determined warrior, but it seems like the difficulties of this season are affecting his play a bit. Benjamin St-Juste and “situational awareness” have become antonyms during some of the game’s most critical moments.

Stats:

Fuller – 11 tackles, PFF rating 71.1

Benjamin St-Juste – 3 tackles, 1 pass defensed, 1 FF, PFF rating 81.3

Assessment: C-

Special Teams

You know where this is going. Camaron Cheeseman was released on Monday and it should’ve happened earlier in the season. He played a major role in the Commanders’ loss on Sunday and that is being honest. His poor snapping produced a blocked extra point and a brief injury to Tress Way. His play lowers the grade by two levels.

Stats:

Joey Slye – 2-3 XPs

Tress Way – 5 punts, 40.6 yard average, long of 50 yards, 2 inside the 20 yard line

Assessment: D

Coaches

The Negatives: Special Teams coaching and the offense struggling throughout most of the game. Taking nine plays inside the Rams five-yard line to score a touchdown – a series of plays that wasted a lot of valuable time.

The Positives: The defense played better than what we have seen this season. Jacoby Brissett coming in and giving the team a needed boost – that was the correct decision.

Assessment: C-/D+ (Take your pick)

Week 16 Prediction

The Commanders travel north to take on the New York Jets this Sunday and many fans on both sides will see the game as an opportunity to enhance the draft status.

Jets 27, Commanders 22

Three games remain in the 2023 season and we have endured. We’re also closer to a revamped front office and a new coaching staff. Also, thank you for all of the nice comments on the mock draft. See you as we go along.