Washington hosted its first home game of the Josh Harris era and walked away with a one-point victory; ending the Ravens 24-game preseason winning streak. To many, this game may not have meant much, but to Washington fans, this was their preseason super bowl against their local nemesis.
The Commanders and Ravens exchanged scores early on, but the game's most impressive moment came right before the half when Sam Howell engineered a beautiful two minute drive ending in a Dyami Brown touchdown. The second half had plenty of good football from the reserves in a back-and-forth contest ending with a Joe Slye game-winning 49 yard field goal.
This affair may have been against the Ravens backups, but it was a key step for an offense looking to find its identity before the regular season and a young quarterback looking to build chemistry and gain confidence in Eric Bieniemy’s new system.
Below are my Studs and Duds of the game followed by some notes.
Sam Howell - Howell was electric as a passer and with his mobility both in and out of the pocket. His most impressive moment was at the end of the first half when he led a two-minute drive down the field for a touchdown. Besides two sacks which Howell took that could have been avoided, he was nearly flawless on the evening, going an efficient 19-25 for 188 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, while adding 17 yards on the ground. He looked comfortable and in control on the evening even if it was against the Ravens backups.
Howell out here dealing! pic.twitter.com/qS4XctXBnB— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
Jahan Dotson - In about one half of work, Dotson led all Washington receivers with five receptions for 76 yards. He’s really coming into his own and seems to have developed great chemistry with Sam Howell. It could be a big season for the second-year receiver.
Antonio Gibson - Gibson caught three passes for 10 yards including a nice nine yard touchdown where he powered his way into the endzone off a quick angle route. He also chipped in 15 rushing yards and showed good blitz pick-up protection in his limited playing time.
Nice ball from Howell. Nice fight by Gibson. But DAMN - look at the finish by Gates pic.twitter.com/9k0slqzO5L— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
Dyami Brown - Brown only caught two passes for 27 yards, but he made those receptions count. One was a nice 16 yard catch-and-run, and the other was a touchdown where he snagged a Howell pass while being covered by two defenders in the endzone.
Howell to Dyami Brown for the TD!!! pic.twitter.com/y2SkTXoNZ3— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
Joey Slye - Slye went 3/3, including the game winner to end the Ravens 24-game preseason winning streak.
Jacoby Brissett - The veteran was erratic during the third quarter, going 7 for 11 for 47 yards with zero touchdowns and an interception that he threw behind his open target.
Chris Rodriguez - Rodriguez was the leading rusher for the Commanders on the evening, but when you are a rookie battling for playing time, you can’t put the ball on the ground. Rodriguez did, and that’s what landed him on this list.
Quan Martin - Despite his interception and really nice return, Quan Martin struggled again on the evening. His poor tackling was evident early on, on the Zay Flowers touchdown, where he showed no effort in his one-armed tackle attempt of the rookie. He whiffed again on a Josh Johnson scramble early in the second quarter. Even on his interception, he was beaten badly, and a poorly thrown ball by Josh Johnson allowed him to recover to defend what should have been an easy touchdown.
Terrible defense and a PATHETIC tackle attempt by Quan Martin pic.twitter.com/kvixjWmAdO— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
Martin with another wiff ♂️ pic.twitter.com/pH736zb1zb— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
Rachad Wildgoose - Wildgoose struggled in coverage on the evening giving up some easy completions, including a touchdown early on.
- The offensive line, without starting left tackle Charles Leno and with Andrew Wylie playing limited minutes, looked pretty solid against the Ravens second-team defense. They allowed two sacks, but both were really on Sam Howell, not the unit up front. For the most part they gave Howell decent time to find open receivers in the Ravens secondary and opened up some holes for decent gains for Washington’s running backs.
Great protection by the O-Line and a strike from Howell! pic.twitter.com/9410JFxOBM— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
- Saahdiq Charles looked pretty good as a starting left guard. He did have a holding call, but overall he showed good athleticism and power at the point of attack. I can see why the staff is giving him every opportunity to win the job.
Watch this peel-off block by Saahdiq Charles!!! pic.twitter.com/8RoewlkOB9— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
- Cole Turner continues to show improvement week after week in Logan Thomas's absence. His blocking has improved greatly, and he is proving to be a solid security blanket for Howell in the passing game.
GREAT lead block by Cole Turner! pic.twitter.com/MLHS1UdCQS— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
- Jaret Patterson had a quite evening... until he didn’t. Patterson caught a pass from Jake Fromm and slithered down the sidelines for a 15 yard score.
- Kazmeir Allen continues to impress as a receiver and returner. He had three receptions for 26 yards and had a 20 yard punt return. He may put Dax Milne out of work.
- Emmanuel Forbes continues to show he is a playmaker. On a third and less than a yard, Forbes slipped past a blocker to drop the Ravens running back in the backfield for a loss. He did whiff on a tackle early on in the game though.
Emmanuel Forbes TFL on 3 and 1! pic.twitter.com/z7Wa8j8Bd2— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) August 22, 2023
- Jamin Davis continues to be fairly non-existent on defense. He’ll make some tackles but the impact plays are just not there. He looks like he’s added some substantial weight this year and doesn’t seem as explosive.
- Andre Jones Jr. continues to flash. He was the most impressive Commanders pass rusher on the evening and has earned himself a roster spot this fall.
- David Mayo continues to get beat down the seam - big surprise!