When you fall behind by a 21-3 score early in a game, you need a break, or two or three, to get back into it. The Washington Commanders did just that. The team chipped away and went into halftime down 21-14, and that was enough to get them close to strike multiple times to work it to a commanding lead of 35-24 with under 2 minutes in the game. The final score was 35-33 and Denver was a 2 point conversion from tying the game with the clock at 0:00. It was Washington’s biggest comeback win since 1990.
The Commanders defense somehow allowed a Hail Mary pass that was tipped at the goal line to take the score from 35-27 to the final score of 35-33 thanks to a failed two-point conversion that would have tied the game. So yes, the game started ugly, and ended ugly — but it was beautiful in-between with some amazing plays by rookie QB Sam Howell and his receivers as well as his running backs.
Also, the defense came up big over from the second quarter to the point they held Denver to a field goal with just under two minutes remaining in the game. How Russell Wilson connected on a 50 yard Hail Mary to Brandon Johnson with no time remaining cannot happen — but yet it did. On the two-point conversion attempt, Denver pleaded with the refs for a pass interference call, but to no avail. Most calls by the refs went the Commanders way, and rightfully so.
There were some mistakes to cleanup for next week, but there was more to this win that was good. Brian Robinson Jr. with two touchdowns and he had a two-point conversion. Joey Slye only connected on two field goals in four attempts. The FG misses gave great field position back to Denver both times, and turned into easy Denver points on a short field. One Slye attempt was from 59 yards.
Huge touchdown passes by Logan Thomas who was concussed on the play, and Terry McLaurin who caught a 30-yard pass by Howell. The screen plays were a key to moving the offense and that was a nice wrinkle that was added this week by the offense.
Washington is 2-0 for the first time since 2011 and new owner Josh Harris is undefeated. For head coach Ron Rivera, it is career win No. 100. There were a lot of stats and accolades here for players that stepped up and set personal marks like Howell and Robinson, and also the first career interception for top 2023 draft pick Emmanuel Forbes Jr.
Both Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio have game film to go over and see what they liked and did not like. Chase Young had a big game for the team but he also had some costly penalties. Those are easier to cleanup than others.
So far, so good. Getting to a quick start in the standings is how you want to begin. Nobody is expecting this team to win 15-games this year. But now you can start to imagine that if they can clean up a few things and Howell keeps improving, they have many more games to win.
We will wait on the injury report, and talk later about the game against Buffalo next week in FedEx Field.