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Grading the Game – Washington Commanders vs Buffalo Bills

A humbling loss could be a positive bridge to the future

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Washington Commanders Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing went right on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field for the Washington Commanders. The Mid-Atlantic region was slammed by tropical storm Ophelia over the weekend, but the Burgundy and Gold couldn’t weather a powerful storm of their own – the Buffalo Bills. The assessment of this game is not going to be pretty, but the 37-3 loss to the visitors from up north was that ugly. We can’t avoid it any longer – let’s review game three and hand out some grades. Also, the PFF ratings are not that pretty either.

Note: Today, we will have a prediction for game four and this will become a feature of each assessment throughout the season.


The grades are harsh and the commentary will be brutal, but very honest. The only positive came in the game’s final minute when the Commanders avoided a shutout with a field goal. Each unit on offense struggled mightily and the grades will reflect the ineptitude that fans witnessed on Sunday.


After four games as Washington’s starter, Sam Howell had his worst game as a Commander thus far. Fans can only hope that he learns from the mistakes of this game, quickly puts it behind him, and moves forward in a positive way.

Stats: 19-29 for 170 yards, 4 INTs, 1 rush for 18 yards, PFF rating: 45.3, QBR: 41.5

Assessment: F

Running Backs

The running backs had a decent game, but the commitment to this unit was limited on Sunday. Frankly, they deserved more carries.

Stats: Robinson – 10 carries for 70 yards, PFF rating: 82.8

Gibson – 2 carries for 17 yards, 3 catches for 10 yards and 1 fumble, PFF rating: 50.2

Assessment: C+

Tight Ends

Cole Turner and John Bates had a decent game, but the overall offense (quarterback, offensive line) limited their potential production. Both players need to improve their blocking skills.

Stats: Turner – 4 catches for 35 yards, 7 targets, PFF rating: 57.9

Bates – 2 catches for 12 yards, 2 targets, PFF rating: 52.6

Assessment: C-

Wide Receivers

The receivers had a rough day and experienced troubles on most routes. They had issues with separation and dealing with aspects of the offense that had difficulties (quarterback, offensive line).

Stats: Curtis Samuel – 2 catches for 54 yards, 4 targets, PFF rating: 69.0

Terry McLaurin – 6 catches for 41 yards, 6 targets, PFF rating: 69.2

Jahan Dotson – 2 catches for 21 yards, 4 targets, PFF rating: 55.7

Assessment: D

Offensive Line

The offensive line had a decent day in the rushing offense, but performed poorly in pass pro.

Stats: Sam Cosmi – PFF rating: 80.2

Andrew Wylie – PFF rating: 67.5

Charles Leno – PFF rating: 66.8

Nick Gates – PFF rating: 46.7

Saahdiq Charles – PFF rating: 45.7

Assessment: D-


Should the fans be surprised at the defense giving up 30 points in a game? First, the offense did them no favors whatsoever, but the defense is not blameless here. The special teams unit put the defense in an early hole (ten-yard penalty) and the avalanche was only beginning.

Defensive Line

This unit was far from perfect, but the effort was valiant – this is being kind to the point of extreme generosity. Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen is elusive and has a history of making defensive linemen look silly.

Stats: Daron Payne – 3 tackles, 1 pass defensed, PFF rating: 70.7

Chase Young – 3 tackles, PFF rating: 56.7

Jonathan Allen – 1 tackle, PFF rating: 66.1

Assessment: D-


It’s good to see the linebackers registering more tackles, but it shouldn’t be fifteen and twenty yards downfield. Both linebackers need to be far better in pass coverage.

Stats: Cody Barton – 13 tackles, PFF rating: 44.8

Jamin Davis – 11 tackles, 1 pass defensed, PFF rating: 68.9

Assessment: D-


Kamren Curl had the gift of an interception pass directly through his hands. Darrick Forrest arguably had his worst game as a Commander.

Stats: Kamren Curl – 6 tackles, PFF rating: 61.5

Darrick Forrest – 7 tackles, PFF rating: 53.5

Assessment: D-


Kendall Fuller was the one bright spots on defense and Benjamin St-Juste was fairly decent, but had some troubles as well. Emmanuel Forbes, quite frankly, was abysmal on Sunday.

Stats: Kendall Fuller – 8 tackles, 1 INT, 3 passes defensed, PFF rating 92.1

Benjamin St-Juste – 7 tackles, 1 pass defensed, PFF rating 59.3

Emmanuel Forbes – 3 tackles, PFF rating 55.2

Assessment: C-

Note: Linebacker Cody Barton looks like a chicken with his head cut off on one of these plays (he is no. 57).

Special Teams

Tress Way is still one of the best punters in the league. Joey Slye nailed a long field goal late in the game. Camaron Cheeseman snapped the ball perfectly on the field goal attempt. David Mayo had a crippling special teams penalty early in the game and it set a tone for the massacre.

Stats: Way – 3 punts, 50 yard average, long of 57 yards

Joey Slye – 1-1 FG with a long of 51 yards

Assessment: A-


The Commanders are now 2-1 after Sunday’s blowout loss and must quickly put this game behind them. Sam Howell should be able to learn a great deal from this debacle and use it to improve his abilities. Think of it as a bridge to success – if it happens in the coming months and years. Let’s just move on to the next game.


The Commanders will travel north on I-95 to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles this Sunday. Division games are always tough and unpredictable.

Eagles 27, Commanders 24

Let’s hope for an upset and wash away this bad taste in our mouths. See you as we go along.