Any NFL game in Denver comes with a football version of caveat emptor – beware of the altitude and the effects it has on players. The Washington Commanders shrugged off those concerns, and after a poor start, the good guys began to mount a comeback after trailing by eighteen points halfway through the second quarter. The Burgundy and Gold were underdogs, but they found a way to overcome and achieve. Let’s have a look and assess game two against the Broncos. Note: We will include PFF ratings today.
In the first 22 minutes of the game, the offense was not efficient, but their fortunes suddenly changed for the better. Washington outscored Denver 32-6 at that juncture, but Denver added a late touchdown to account for the final margin of 35-33. This was most points scored by the Commanders since winning on Thanksgiving Day in 2020.
The “Eric Bieniemy” effect is on full display with the #Commanders— JPAFootball (@jasrifootball) September 18, 2023
He has that offense thriving, spreading the ball around to all the playmakers and getting it out quickly to negate pass rush.
It’s a perfect situation to have for the young starter Sam Howell. Eric Bieniemy is… pic.twitter.com/QiGtCORFY6
Sam Howell had his best game as a Commander thus far. He remained focused after a couple of team miscues earlier in the first half.
Stats: 27-39 for 299 yards and 2 TD passes, 2 rushes for 13 yards, 70.2 PFF rating, QBR – 108.8
Sam Howell on Commanders 2-0 start: “This team, we have each others backs.” pic.twitter.com/uL2LdkfTOW— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 18, 2023
Good morning. Sam Howell is:— Zach Selby (@ZachSelbyWC) September 18, 2023
- 10th in passing yards (501)
- 11th in passing touchdowns (3)
- 6th in completion percentage among QBs with at least 70 pass attempts (65.7%)
Brian Robinson was superb on Sunday. Antonio Gibson made the most of his opportunities against the Broncos.
Stats: Robinson – 18 carries for 87 yards and 2 TDs, 2-pt conversion, 2 catches for 42 yards, PFF rating 76.8 .
Gibson – 2 carries for 9 yards, 3 catches for 44 yards, PFF rating 64.4
Brian Robinson had a career day yesterday— Commanders Muse (@CommandersMuse) September 18, 2023
2 Touchdowns (Career High)
129 Total Yards (Career High)
42 Receiving Yards (Career High)
First Career Two Point Conversion
Logan Thomas hauled in an impressive touchdown catch, but had to leave the game when he suffered a concussion on the play. The tight ends enjoyed a solid game.
Stats: Thomas – 2 catches for 22 yards, 3 targets, 1TD, PFF rating 78.9
Bates – 3 catches for 46 yards, 5 targets, PFF rating of 64.8
Turner – 2 catches for 22 yards, 2 targets, PFF rating of 71.7
Former #BoiseState standout John Bates is having a game!— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) September 17, 2023
[✅] Career long 35-yard catch
[✅] Career-high 46 yards receiving
He also has 3 catches so far, which is one short of a career-high.pic.twitter.com/AlH4sB2VlD
The receivers had a productive day, but the numbers seem a bit low as ten different players had at least one catch. Nine players had two or more catches on Sunday.
Stats: Terry McLaurin – 5 catches for 54 yards, 6 targets, 1 TD, PFF rating 60.8
Dyami Brown – 3 catches for 25 yards, 3 targets, PFF rating 56.7
Jahan Dotson – 3 catches for 22 yards, 5 targets, PFF rating 53.3
The offensive line had a decent, to slightly above-average, game, but improvements are still needed.
Stats: Saahdiq Charles – PFF rating 82.9
Nick Gates – PFF rating 66.7
Sam Cosmi – PFF rating 66.0
It was all about survival against the Broncos as the defense looked lethargic and winded through much of the game. The altitude took a toll on the defensive players, but they did just enough to contribute to the victory.
This unit delivered when it was needed, but there were some periodic struggles on Sunday. Welcome back, Chase Young.
Stats: Daron Payne – 5 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed, PFF rating 86.0
Montez Sweat – 4 tackles, 1.5 sacks, PFF rating 65.3
Chase Young – 3 tackles, 1.5 sacks, PFF rating 76.1
Daron Payne dominated on the Broncos opening 2H drive. Easily winning 2 1v1s to earn a sack and TFL. Closes out the drive with a 3rd down PBU coming off of a well-executed ET stunt. #HTTC pic.twitter.com/cqtp7EPeXP— Jamual (@LetMualTellit) September 18, 2023
The linebackers improved over last week, but better play is still needed. Jamin Davis created a key fumble/turnover. Cody Barton still needs to read and react better than what we saw against Denver.
Stats: Barton – 10 tackles, PFF rating 52.1.
Davis – 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, PFF rating 67.1
Defense with a potentially game changing play. Credit Chase Young with the pressure and Jamin Davis with the big hit and forced fumble. pic.twitter.com/OkUvIGuCBe— The Junkies (@JunksRadio) September 17, 2023
The safeties had a somewhat decent game, especially in the second half. Kamren Curl shined on some plays, but he did have some difficult moments as well.
Stats: Curl – 9 tackles, PFF rating 62.9
Darrick Forrest – 3 tackles, PFF rating 60.8
This unit was gouged at times and the altitude seemed to affect them the most. Also, they stepped up at crucial times in the second half. Emmanuel Forbes contributed a key interception in the fourth quarter.
Stats: Forbes – 3 tackles, 1 INT for 3 yards, 2 passes defensed, 36.4 PFF rating
Benjamin St-Juste – 5 tackles, 2-pt attempt defensed, PFF rating 72.5
Kendall Fuller – 4 tackles, 1 pass defensed, PFF rating 68.6
Tress Way is still one of the best punters in the league. However, the thinner air in Denver didn’t help this unit on Sunday. By the time you read this article, long snapper Camaron Cheeseman could be unemployed.
Stats: Way – 3 punts, 56 yard average, long of 66 yards, 2 inside the 20
Joey Slye – 2-4 FG with a long of 49 yards, 3 XPM on 3 XPA
The Commanders are now 2-0 and the last time they accomplished this feat was way back in 2011. There is still room for improvement, but the team looked better than the previous week. Will Cam Cheeseman be released? The Burgundy and Gold will return to FedEx Field on Sunday to face the Buffalo Bills and this game could be the toughest challenge thus far. See you as we go along.