Washington picked up right where they left off last year against Dallas and that is not entirely a bad thing.
The sense of feeling from the end of last Sunday’s game was new faces yet more of the same. Questionable offensive line play. Check. Inefficient run game. Check. Unnecessary sacks and turnovers. Check and Check. Those coming against what was projected to be a listless bottom five team in the Cardinals made the Game 1’s effort even worse.
But with it, there were also the positives that carried over from last season. Defense was dominant and did not surrender a touchdown. Howell made plays with his arms and his legs. The Commanders were able to overcome their self-inflicted adversary and eked out a close victory.
Fans can be forgiven that last Sunday had an air of deja vu. Unlike last season, Washington has an offensive coordinator in Bieniemy who you expect to tear the offense unit a new one given poor execution. And unlike the duo of Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke, Sam Howell is still a relative blank slate entering into his third start of his professional career. There is still plenty of time for players, especially on offense, to kick off the rust and first game jitters.
It would have been nice if the Commanders had an emphatic 20-plus point victory. But a winning culture doesn’t happen overnight and not without growing pains. The Broncos is a tougher, yet beatable matchup. And given how Washington barely escaped the Cardinals with a win at home, they won’t take Denver for granted.