Commanders Defense Failed Again
Stop me if you have heard this before but the on paper great Washington defense was unable to make a play when it mattered the most on Sunday. Sam Howell threw an absolute laser to fellow Tar Heel Dyami Brown for a game tying 35 yard touchdown with 52 seconds remaining but the Commanders defense failed again. Geno Smith connected with his star wide receiver DK Metcalf twice in three plays to get into field goal range and send Washington home with the loss. It was just another example of defensive talent wasted and bad coaching decisions leading to a 6th loss in 8 games.
Sitting at 4-6 with games against Dallas (twice), Miami, and San Francisco its hard to imagine the Commanders sneaking into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. Most thought going into the season the team would push for double digit wins for the first time since 2012, or at the very least have a defense keep them in games early in the season while their second year quarterback developed. Turns out the defense stinks but the QB is better than anyone could have imagined. The one bright spot this season has been Sam Howell and his growth into a certified gun slinger. Howell currently leads the league in passing yards going into Monday Night Football and ranks third in passing touchdowns. No one covering or following the team thought that last sentence was even close to a possibility before the season started, and yet if you knew that in August the more shocking stat would be that the team is two games under .500.
The Commanders are just not disciplined. They commit too many penalties, they are too often caught out of position, or the head coach is too overwhelmed with the game to make the correct calls. Rivera’s signature look in Washington has been his distant stare into the abyss, headset microphone pushed up to his ear, tight lipped talking to no one, and his transition lenses darkened that makes you wonder if he can even see what’s happening on the field. Its been a marvel to watch Rivera coach considering I’ve never seen him talk to a player or even an assistant on the sideline. When the Commanders tied the game up with a minute left, you knew that the defense wouldn’t be able to keep the Seahawks out of field goal range. On 3rd and 4 the Seahawks lined DK Metcalf out wide and instead of making sure he couldn’t beat them, Rivera and DC Jack Del Rio dialed up the blitz and put Metcalf on an island with Benjamin St-Juste. Not even a disguise blitz, or a concept that maybe makes Geno hold on to the ball for that extra second. No, the defense gambled and like it has all year, it backfired in their face.
At this point its time to start looking at next year if you want to find some happiness in your fandom. Five draft picks in the first three rounds, 90 million in cap space with positions of need to fill, not to mention the likely new front office and head coach. All very exciting for any fanbase looking towards the future. On top of all that the Commanders have something in Sam Howell that they haven’t had in DC since RG3. They have a quarterback that not only looks like he belongs, but looks like he’s only scratching the surface of his potential. That is what this season will be remembered for. Not for the coaching gaffs, the midseason trades, or the failure to stop any offense when it matters, but that Washington finally has a QB of the future and that is something to look forward to.