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Commanders fans feeling good and looking for a win on Sunday at home against the Buffalo Bills

Survey Results!!

Washington Football Team v Buffalo Bills Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Confidence is high among Commanders fans after a 2-0 start to the season

Washington has won its first two games for the first time since the 2011 season, when Ryan Kerrigan was an NFL rookie and RG3 was still a Baylor Bear.

No fan base in the league had a bigger jump in confidence after the 2nd week of the season than Commanders fans.

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Prior to Week 2, 81% of Hogs Haven readers who voted in our survey expressed confidence in the direction of the team; after the victory in Denver, that number jumped to 95% — a pretty dramatic increase. Only 4 NFL fanbases expressed more confidence this week (Cowboys, Rams, Dolphins and 49ers).

A home win against Buffalo this Sunday to go to 3-0 would mean that the team would have achieved that record for the first time since 2005 under Coach Joe Gibbs. Here’s a reminder of that 3 game win streak to open the ‘05 season:

Patrick Ramsey started at quarterback in the opener but struggled against the Bears, yet Washington defeated Chicago 9-7.

Mark Brunell and the Redskins offense was literally non-existent for over three quarters in their Week 2 Monday Night game at Dallas. Trailing 13-0, Brunell connected with Santana Moss from 39 yards, and it was 13-7 with 3:46 remaining.

On their next possession, Brunell and Moss again made sweet music, this time from 70 yards, and the Redskins stole the game from the Cowboys 14-13.

Their third game found Washington traveling to Seattle. The Seahawks scored in the last two minutes to force overtime. But Nick Novak’s 39-yard field goal provided the Redskins the road win and their last 3-0 start to date.

Nationally, fans thought the Commanders-Broncos game was fun to watch

Playing in the late afternoon window, the Commanders were seen by a wider audience than they normally get in the more crowded 1pm window, and NFL fans were treated to an entertaining game. Washington gave up 3 TDs to the Broncos on their 3 opening drives and fell behind by a score of 21-3.

The next two and a half quarters of football, however, were controlled almost exclusively by Washington, with the defense and offense both doing their parts to turn the 18-point deficit into a 2-score, 11-point lead late in the 4th quarter.

A poorly defended and flukey Hail Mary pass put the home team back within two points as time expired. Denver’s head coach Sean Payton dialed up a 2-point conversion attempt that, if successful, would have forced overtime. Benjamin St-Juste was having none of it, and the game ended with his breakup of the Russell Wilson pass.

The ‘play of the game’

As crucial as that defensive play was to the victory, there were easily a dozen other positive plays on both offense and defense that were just as important. In this week’s survey, we offered up ten of them and asked Hogs Haven readers to vote for the “Play of the Game”.

It was unsurprising that the largest number of fans voted for the 2nd quarter forced fumble by LB Jamin Davis and fumble recovery by LB Cody Barton. Before that play, it was all Broncos; after that play (and until the Hail Mary) it was all Commanders.

But this was no ‘slam dunk’ survey question where everyone agreed on the answer.

The opinions of Hogs Haven members were diverse, as can be seen from this small sliver of the comments section from the Reacts Survey article, but the bigger point, in my view, is the one made by Chihuahin in his or her comment above — Washington kept making big play after big play on the road in the final 40 minutes of the Broncos game.

And it wasn’t just one or two players, or even just Washington’s ‘star’ players. John Bates and Cole Turner each had big-time receptions after the starting TE, Logan Thomas was knocked out of the game by a dirty hit. Even the play on which he was knocked out of the game was one of the most significant, since Thomas, unbelievably, held onto the football to score a touchdown.

Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson both had highlight explosive plays. Sam Howell threw a touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin that our children will still be talking about 20 years from now.

Daron Payne was a one-man gang at times; he forced a 3 & out to open the second half, making all three plays himself. His running mates on the line had a good game, with Chase Young and Montez Sweat each being credited for 1.5 sacks.

St-Juste had the pass breakup on the final play of the game, and Emmanuel Forbes got his first NFL interception in only his second game.

Of course, our two oft-maligned linebackers were credited with the play of the game.

This was absolutely an entertaining game and a fun win.

A tough test at home against Buffalo on Sunday

Washington fans are looking for even more fun and entertainment tomorrow at FedEx Field, when the Commanders will host the 1-1 Buffalo Bills in what could be a downpour if some weather predictions prove correct.

The Bills are heavily favored, and it’s a rare national pundit who thinks that the Commanders have what it will take to upset the visitors.

In the Reacts national email survey, SB Nation members picked the Bills to win the game. Those same fans have already been proven correct in their belief that the 49ers would have their way with the Giants on Thursday Night Football.

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But Hogs Haven readers aren’t convinced that the visitors should be favored in this Week 3 matchup.

Commanders fans are looking for an upset

In our survey of Hogs Haven readers, the majority predicted a narrow win for the home-standing Washington Commanders. The results this week are a little less granular than usual, so I’m not sure what percentage of fans predicted that Washington would win big, but it’s clear that this is a fan base that is brimming with confidence.

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It seems clear that fans paid attention to Buffalo’s Week 1 loss to the Aaron Rodger-less Jets — a game in which Bills QB Josh Allen looked very fallible, throwing 3 interceptions while mustering only 16 points.

Buffalo’s Week 2 win against the Raiders had an impressive 38-10 final score, but this Raiders team mustered only 17 points against the Broncos — a team that Washington scored 35 points against a week later.

Critics will point to the 0-2 Cardinals and the 0-2 Broncos to say that the undefeated Commanders haven’t been impressive in outscoring these two teams by a combined total of 6 points, but the burgundy & gold faithful are rallying around our young, unflappable quarterback and his high-intensity offensive coordinator combined with a defense that is playing with both passion and skill. There’s a feeling that Sam Howell, undefeated in 3 NFL starts, is on a heater, and that he has an impressive blend of tangible skills and intangible leadership traits.

The fact that the Washington roster is stuffed full of high-character, high-achieving players at every single position can’t be overlooked either. Guys like Kendall Fuller and Kamren Curl, Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, Terry McLaurin and Josh Dotson, Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson mean that the Commanders have youthful veteran backbone to a roster that is teeming with potential.

Washington fans are looking forward to Sunday’s game, rain or shine. Whether Sam Howell ends up tossing the football to 10 different receiving targets like he did in Week 2, or Brian Robinson slogs it out in the rain and mud for 60 minutes, the sold out crowd will be there to support the team, fully expecting another team win — one that will announce to the NFL world that this is a new and different team in Washington in 2023.