Washington Post (paywall)
Jets 30, Commanders 28
Washington’s 30-28 defeat extended its losing streak to six games and set it back to 4-11 — which may be good for its draft slot next year but was terrible for second-year quarterback Sam Howell.
Howell, a young player who showed potential earlier in the season and was in the conversation to become a long-term starter, sputtered again Sunday and was benched — again. Jacoby Brissett came in and, for the second consecutive week, guided Washington to multiple touchdowns, seemingly silencing any talk of Howell being the guy going forward.
Merry Christmas, Commanders fans.
The Athletic (paywall)
Howell struggled mightily, going 6-of-22 passing for 56 yards and two interceptions, resulting in a 1.7 passer rating. The Commanders were down 27-7 when coach Ron Rivera pulled Howell from the game. Howell, the Commanders’ 2022 fifth-round pick, took a seat last week after going 11-of-26 passing for 102 yards with one touchdown and one interception during the team’s 28-20 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Brissett nearly led the Commanders to an improbable win. Washington stormed back to take a 28-27 lead with the Commanders scoring TDs on three consecutive possessions after the QB entered the game. But the Jets pulled out the win on a Greg Zuerlein 54-yard field goal with five seconds left in regulation.
Howell is now 4-11 as a starter this season for the Commanders. Heading into Week 16, he had thrown for 3,568 yards with 19 TDs and 15 interceptions for an 83.9 passer rating. Howell was also sacked a league-high 59 times entering Sunday’s game.
Brissett finished the contest 10-of-13 passing for 100 yards and one TD with a 123.9 passer rating. Rivera said no decision has been made for Week 17.
The Howell hype train is officially off the rails. Even those of us who’ve supported playing the first-year starter through thick or thin must acknowledge that Rivera had little choice but to sit Howell.
The Washington Commanders are closer to the top of the NFL Draft, which could propose an opportunity to draft USC’s Caleb Williams.
The Cardinals and Bears may draft a quarterback, but both teams have reason not to as well. The Bears have Justin Fields under center while the Cardinals employ Kyler Murray. There’s a chance the teams could move on without them, but if not, it could allow USC’s Caleb Williams to waltz to the Commanders.
Williams has been the sure-fire top pick in this draft for a long time, and there’s a very real chance a team tries to leapfrog the Commanders and trade up with the Bears and/or Cardinals in order to possibly select him, but Washington is potentially in prime position to take the cake.
Williams, the 2022 Heisman Trophy winner, has thrown for 93 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in his last three seasons with Oklahoma and USC.
While the Commanders have plenty of other issues on the defense and offensive line, the opportunity to draft a quarterback like Williams doesn’t come often, and he should absolutely be considered if Washington has a chance.
According to Dianna Russini of The Athletic, this is making people in NFL circles look at the Commanders differently. Not having Dan Snyder’s dark cloud looming over Washington also helps. Something that could make their upcoming openings more attractive than initially perceived.
“A job that is better than perceived is Washington, which is getting a lot of buzz with an energized owner looking to turn it around. Washington is also swimming in draft picks, including five in the first three rounds in 2024, and already has a solid roster. Depending on how this season ends, the Commanders’ first pick could even be in the top five. I still can’t believe I typed Washington, a team that has had 21 quarterbacks over 20 years, as the top destination spot for coaches, but the Commanders are on the rise. They might be able to land their top candidate once they begin that process.”
- Dianna Russini, The Athletic
Harris is an experienced figure when it comes to running sports franchises. The allure of working for a perennial winner such as Magic Johnson also helps. Couple this with around [$80] million in cap space and a wealth of draft capital, it’s not hard to see why this is such an attractive project in a big market.
Just who these candidates are going to be is the big question. Harris and his team will already be coming up with potential options. Much will also depend on how a new general manager perceives the situation once Mayhew is let go as anticipated.
It’s an exciting time to be a Commanders fan. Things haven’t gone according to plan in terms of results in 2023. However, the long-suffering support can relax safe in the knowledge there is a plan in place to get Washington into the limelight as an industry leader in the coming years.
When Robinson was injured in Week 13, Rodriguez was ready for an expanded role. He received 10 carries in last week’s loss to the Rams.
In Week 16, Rodriguez again received 10 carries. This time, he rushed for a career-high 58 yards, averaging almost six yards per attempt, and scored the first two touchdowns of his career.
Check out this run from Rodriguez on his first touchdown.
Podcasts & videos
Episode 727 - #WASvsNYJ postgame. Hate what’s happening with Sam Howell. But #Commanders’ climb up the 2024 NFL Draft is big. I discuss that, QB situation, defense’s clutch choke, woeful special teams & more.— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) December 25, 2023
I also talk #ALLCAPS, Wizards, #Terps & more.https://t.co/VqlJtqEAnf
Merry Christmas. Talking big picture : Sam Howell and what the Commanders should do. All on him? Nope. But results with Brissett matter. Draft status maintained. But why the comeback mattered. Also: Chris Rodriguez. @ESPNRichmond https://t.co/yZ2Y2Y905b— John Keim (@john_keim) December 25, 2023
Washington Commanders Jacoby Brissett Starting is Smart for Team and Sam Howell | Week 16 Review
The Washington Commanders have begun warming up at MetLife Stadium for their Week 16 matchup against the New York Jets. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
NFC East links
The Cowboys are still going to the playoffs, despite their last-second loss to the Miami Dolphins, who clinched a playoff spot with the victory. But Sunday’s loss makes it much more likely that the Cowboys will not overtake the Philadelphia Eagles (who play the New York Giants on Monday) for the NFC East title, and will have to go on the road as a wild-card team. The Cowboys are 3-5 on the road this season, where they average 21.5 points per game, and 7-0 at home, where they are averaging nearly 40 points per game. Against the Dolphins, penalties were again a problem — the Cowboys were penalized six times, including a face-mask penalty that kickstarted the Dolphins’ game-winning drive — and the defense could not get a stop to preserve the win. The Cowboys host the Lions next week to finish the most grueling stretch of their schedule, and their offense could use a get-right performance as they gear up for the postseason.
Tommy DeVito’s Linsanity Run Appears To Be Over After He Got Benched For Tyrod Taylor In The 2nd Half Against The Eagles
Sad ending to the Tommy DeVito Linsanity run that we had the last few weeks. The Eagles were up 20-3 in dominating fashion and the Giants decided that was enough. Daboll didn’t even give him a chance in the 2nd half after the Eagles fumbled the kickoff and Tyrod came in and immediately made an impact (handing the ball to Saquon for a touchdown).
We did get a generational Rao’s ad that set Italians everywhere on fire after he was using jarred sauce instead of that homemade stuff. We got a few weeks of a glimmer of the Giants franchise being saved by an Italian QB who still lived at home with his parents. We’ll always have that performance against the Packers. I’m not a Giants fan but it was hard not to root against the hometown kid who had everyone doing that gabagool emoji. They say the brightest stars burn the fastest, especially in a brutal NY market. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.