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.
Commanders WR Terry McLaurin on today’s loss and what were the issues on offense/red zone pic.twitter.com/Yfkac4u21F— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) September 24, 2023
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
On the Commanders first 5 drives they reached the Bills 25, 1 and 15 and came away with 0 points each time. They moved the ball ok but they refused to finish drives.#HTTC— Tae & Todd Commanders Podcast (@TaeNToddPodcast) September 24, 2023
Ron Rivera speaking honestly about Sam Howell’s performance: “This is a very young player. Granted, I know he's a second-year player, but this is his fourth game. And so with that, there is some leniency with that. There is a little bit of growing pains that we're going to have…— JP Finlay (@JPFinlayNBCS) September 25, 2023
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
Here is Commanders RB Brian Robinson Jr. on today’s game.— Scott Abraham (@Scott7news) September 24, 2023
As a running back, he said he wished they could have sticked to the running game a little bit more. pic.twitter.com/l9x0clzLSe
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
Impressive route and catch by Cole Turner!!! pic.twitter.com/6CmILPMswi— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) September 24, 2023
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
Commanders WRs through three games:— (@Howell2McLaurin) September 25, 2023
Curtis Samuel: 12 tgt, 10 rec, 127 yds, 0 TD
Terry McLaurin: 16 tgt, 13 rec, 126 yds, 1 TD
Jahan Dotson: 16 tgt, 10 rec, 83 yds , 0 TD
WR4/WR5: 5 tgt, 29 yards
Something needs to be figured out coaching-wise ASAP. Too much talent for this pic.twitter.com/4BigDjZo5K
Sam Howell throws a DIME to Curtis Samuel— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) September 24, 2023
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
#Commanders QB Sam Howell has been sacked 19 times in three games to start the season.— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) September 25, 2023
The 19 sacks allowed through 3 games is the most of any team in almost 20 years.
The Commanders are tied with the 2005 Texans for most allowed during a three-game span, and it is the 5th most… https://t.co/XHhTty35Zd pic.twitter.com/JjIPUAr3Ph
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.
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
Connor McGovern at left guard anchoring vs Jonathan Allen & stalemating him. Allen is one of the best interior players in the league & these two battled all day#Bills #BillsMafia #GoBills— Anthony Cover 1 (@Pro__Ant) September 25, 2023
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
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
While the focus may be on Sam Howell’s 4 interceptions and Antonio Gibson’s fumble, what happened to the defense? The @BuffaloBills racked up 386 yards of offense. Josh Allen was not sacked and Buffalo had 168 yards rushing.— The Junkies (@JunksRadio) September 24, 2023
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
Rookie Emmanuel Forbes got a taste of Stefon Diggs double moves pic.twitter.com/d3tR8WQV1s— Athlete dynasty (@athlete_dynasty) September 24, 2023
Note: Linebacker Cody Barton looks like a chicken with his head cut off on one of these plays (he is no. 57).
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
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.