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Curtis Samuel in Week 1 of 2022 vs Jaguars
2nd & 10
Washington’s first offensive play of the 2022 season was an incomplete pass from Carson Wentz. He threw a ball too high and too far for a wide-open Jahan Dotson to catch it and come down in-bounds. It was emblematic of the rest of Wentz’s time in a Commanders uniform.
The team’s second play of 2022 was a handoff up the middle to Curtis Samuel who motions from the slot receiver spot into the backfield. Samuel runs confidently to the right side, using a jump cut back to the left to burst through the line for a nice 5-yard gain.
3rd & 5
On the next play from scrimmage, out of a bunch formation, Samuel catches a good crisp pass from Carson Wentz and immediately turns upfield for a 13-yard gain as the result of good play design.
Curtis Samuel— Bill-in-Bangkok (@billhorgan2005) May 19, 2023
Week 1, 2022
3rd & 5 pic.twitter.com/xVds2Tfv3s
2nd & goal (3 yard line)
To end the first offensive drive of the Carson Wentz era, Samuel motions from the right side of the formation towards the center, then does a U-turn back towards the sideline. Wentz hits him in the hands at the 1-yard line, and Samuel is able to tumble into the end zone for the Commanders’ first touchdown of 2022.
1st quarter— Bill-in-Bangkok (@billhorgan2005) May 19, 2023
2nd & goal (3 yard line) pic.twitter.com/7frnieSPj8
2nd & 10
Needing 10 yards for the first down, Samuel is targeted on a screen pass behind the line of scrimmage. It’s a good play that should probably go for about 6 yards, which is the point at which Samuel runs into traffic, but he stops, cuts first inside and then upfield for 11 yards and a first down. His shiftiness added 4 or 5 extra yards to the play.
2nd & 20
In a long yardage situation on Washington’s side of the field, Samuel makes what may be the most impressive play of the game with respect to his stop-start ability. Curtis gets the ball in his hands about 5 yards downfield, but plants both feet in the ground as he’s moving right, immediately reversing field and going left. The DB Darious Williams, ends up face-planted in the grass, and Samuel ends up with a much-needed 9-yard gain to help extend what will eventually become a touchdown drive that includes 3 consecutive plays by Curtis Samuel.
3rd & 5
This is the 2nd of the three plays. Following a defensive penalty, the Commanders have the ball at their own 45 yard line, needing to reach midfield to keep the drive alive. This was Samuel’s 5th reception in the first quarter. Curtis starts out aligned as a running back, but after he motions to the slot on the right side of the formation, Wentz hits #10 on a shallow route across the middle of the field. Curtis gets the ball with the defender in a trail position, and then slams on the brakes, and pirouettes to the inside as the defender whizzes past. Curtis flies past the line-to-gain, and then uses another spin move to finish off a dazzling 12-yard catch and run.
1st & 10
The third of Samuel’s 3 consecutive plays was his second running play of the game (he finished with 4 carries for 17 yards). Here, Curtis is lined up as a slot receiver at the bottom of the screen, but goes in a jet-motion, takes the handoff and finishes an uninspiring play with just one yard. Immediately after, Samuel motioned to the sideline that he needed to come off the field, and he didn’t touch the ball again until late in the 2nd quarter, when he had another 1-yard gain.
1st & 10
Samuel is at the bottom of the screen. He motions, then puts a soft block on Jaguars rookie edge rusher Travon Walker, who comes off the block, realizes what’s happening, spins around and tackles Curtis for a 1-yard gain.
2nd & 10
Six plays later, on the same drive, Samuel has his worst play of the game. Curtis lines up as a running back, takes the handoff and loses a fumble as he goes through the line of scrimmage. This was a costly mistake.
2nd & 7
The next time Samuel touched the ball on a legal play was mid-4th quarter, and it is the last of four consecutive disappointing plays for Samuel. Washington was trailing by 8 points and, with about 11 minutes remaining in the game, needed to score twice. This play is a receiver screen, and Logan Thomas simply fails to make his block; the play is unsuccessful, with Samuel losing a yard. Despite this bad play, the drive was successful, ending with a 49-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin two plays later.
2nd & 5
Trailing by 2 points with about 6 minutes on the clock, Washington needed a scoring drive. On 2nd down at Washington’s own 15-yard-line, Wentz rifles a pass into double coverage, and Curtis Samuel secures the catch for an 8-yard gain.
1st & 10
Later in the same drive, with the ball at midfield, Samuel motions into the backfield, takes the handoff from Wentz and bursts through the line for a 12-yard gain. This was Samuel’s final touch of the game, but it was an important play in Washington’s final scoring drive to set up the win.
Curtis Samuel finished the Jacksonville game last year as the Commanders’ 2nd-leading rusher, with 4 carries for 17 yards, and the 3rd-leading receiver, catching 8 of 11 targets for 55 yards. With his 12 touches, he got 5 first-downs, scored one receiving touchdown and lost one fumble — the third of his career and his only fumble in a Washington uniform.
The Jaguars game was pretty typical of Samuel’s weekly production, though the 11 targets and 8 receptions were both season highs. Curtis Samuel finished the season with 843 yards from scrimmage and 5 touchdowns — the second-best season of his career behind his 1,051-yard season in 2020.
I think these 12 plays from the 2022 opening week game illustrate Samuel’s flexibility as both a runner and receiver, and highlight his shiftiness, vision and “football smarts”. While he did lose a fumble in this game, it was his only fumble of 2022, and one of only 3 fumbles in 369 career touches, so I don’t think ball security is really much of an issue for him.
I find it easy to imagine Eric Bieniemy giving Curtis Samuel more opportunities than ever to contribute to Washington’s offense from week to week via clever scheming and creative playcalling. With Curtis in the final year of his 3-year deal with the Commanders, he may well have the opportunity to put up career-best numbers in EB’s west-coast offense.
Predict the future: what happens to Curtis Samuel in 2024?
This poll is closed
He signs a lucrative extension with the Commanders
He stays, but on a lesser contract than the one he has now
He leaves in free agency
2023 is his final year as an NFL player; his career is over in 2024