The Commanders get back to .500!
The Washington Commanders defeated the Indianapolis Colts 17-16 on Sunday. This win got the Commanders to 4-4 for the season. The game as a whole was pretty boring. The best play of the game came on the game winning drive for the Commanders. It was when Taylor Heinicke threw a Jump ball to Terry McLaurin who came down with it over Stephon Gilmore at the one yard line. This might be the win that gets the season going on the right track or it could mean nothing when it’s all set and done.
For most of the game the offense looked terrible. From play calling, personnel decisions, and execution it just wasn’t working. The only good drive from the first half came in the second quarter where the Commanders scored a touchdown. It was a 6 play 75 yard drive finished with a 9 yard touchdown pass to Gibson. The drive also had a big play of 42 yards on a pass from Heinicke to McLaurin. After this the Commanders didn’t have another scoring drive until the 4th quarter, which ended in a field goal. Then on the final drive of the game they would score a game winning touchdown on a 9 play 89 yard drive. The drive would finish with a 1 yard QB sneak by Heinicke.
The Commanders had a total of six punts today, which shows how bad the offense was. The play calling when the offense was struggling was head scratching. On the first drive of the 2nd half the Commanders decided to go for it on fourth and short. I didn’t hate the decision to go for it, but the play call was terrible. The Commanders came out in pistol with Robinson in at running back and ran up the middle. They did this twice in the first half with the same personnel and this time the Colts stuffed it. I would’ve rather seen play action out of pistol or just run the ball from under center with Robinson in the game. I just don’t understand why Scott Turner always calls the same play throughout a game in short yardage situations.
Now for the personnel decisions they made today didn’t make much sense. Gibson was running and catching the ball well early and they went away from him. Especially on the 2nd drive of the game where he started the drive with an 18 yard run. After that run they brought in Robinson and the offense would stall. Also it seemed like every time Robinson was in the game it was going to be a run. This can’t happen because the defense will be playing the run every time he is in the game.
This was McLaurins first NFL game in his hometown and he didn’t disappoint. He had six catches for 113 yards with no touchdowns. The biggest catch of the game came on the last drive. Where he took the ball away from Gilmore and gave the Commanders the ball at the one yard line. This Catch shows why the Commanders payed him this offseason. Also the last two games when they need a big play at the end of the game its McLaurin who ends up making it.
The defense had some struggles today against the Colts. They still can’t stop off tackle runs for minimal gains. They gave up a jet sweep of 28 yards today, which seems to happen at least once per game. If they can figure out how to stop outside runs the run defense would be elite, but right now they are middle of the pack defense against the run.
The good from the defense is they only allowed one touchdown. They also forced two fumbles on drives that would’ve ended up in points for the Colts. They also had a huge goal line stand in the fourth quarter, which made the Colts kick a field goal. I would’ve liked to see them blitz more today, but the bend but don’t break defense worked good enough to win today. Next week they will have a tough test in the Vikings and they will need a better effort to win against a good team.
Next week the Commanders take on the Vikings at FedexField at 1PM on Sunday. The Vikings are 6-1 and only lost came against the Eagles in week 2. The Vikings won today against the Cardinals 34-26. They ran the ball very effectively today. They rushed for a total of 173 yards and three touchdowns as a team. The Commanders will need to stop the run next week, especially on runs outside the tackles.