The Washington Commanders defense closed the game against the Arizona Cardinals yesterday to propel the team to a week one win. The game's trajectory favored the Arizona Cardinals late in the third quarter before the defensive line, led by edge rusher Montez Sweat, dramatically affected the game.
It's what we should expect out of Sweat's unit every week, and Sweat said it best post-game, "there's nothing but first-rounders on the D-line. That's what we expect to do, so that's what we're going to do." Sure, the opponent's quality should be considered; nevertheless, the defense started off the season on a good foot, allowing only nine points against Arizona.
The Commanders, which had the best 3rd-down defense in the league last season, haven't allowed more than 4 opponent 3rd-down conversions in each of their last eight games, dating back to Week 11 last year. It's the longest active streak in the league.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) September 11, 2023
While the offense might take time to find its rhythm and develop under quarterback Sam Howell and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, the defense does not have the same set of circumstances as that side of the football. Sweat finished the game with five tackles, two for loss, and 1.5 sacks on the day. Jonathan Allen also finished the day with a sack, three tackles, and two for loss.
The secondary had its stamp on the game as well and could have been even better if they could close out on their opportunities for turnovers. Safeties Percy Butler and Kam Curl, along with cornerback Emmanuel Forbes each had passes hit their hands for would-be interceptions. Nevertheless, they were in a great position to make a play on the football. While Washington survived against Arizona, the defense still has room to take their unit to another level if they capitalize on errant throws by opposing quarterbacks.
It’s a promising start for the Commanders defense, but let’s see if they can continue elevating their play as the weeks pass. What were your thoughts on the Commanders defense coming out of week one?
Check out Trap or Dive Post-Game recap as AJ, Dre, and myself give our immediate take on Cardinals-Commanders. Follow and subscribe as well to never miss an episode throughout the season.