The self inflicted wounds of the Commanders has cost them throughout their three-game losing streak. Heading into this week they looked to get back on track as they hosted the Tennessee Titans. Coming into the game Tennessee was shorthanded as they had six players on the inactive list. Five of which coming from the defensive side of the ball; to go alongside rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks.
So, this was a prime opportunity for the struggling Commanders’ offense to get back to the dynamic offense they showcased in Week 1. However, some of the same deficiencies that have plagued their offense this season reared its ugly head.
As they once again had a lot of self inflicted wounds; that cost them valuable opportunities for the second consecutive week. With the offensive line accounting for six of Washington’s nine total penalties in the game. The Commanders found themselves consistently taking themselves out of prime positions to get things going offensively.
Overall, it was an ugly and sloppy game on the account of both teams had a lot of self inflicted wounds; as they were both heavily penalized. Being as how the Titans also racked up a notable amount of eight penalties in the game. Which led to things being nip and tuck for the duration of the game.
Furthermore, this was a more than winnable game for a Commanders team that had various opportunities to claim the game. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Failing to win a desperately needed game, as they fall two yards short of securing their second win of the season.
Self Inflicted Wounds Cost Commanders
After the Washington Commanders defense, who played one of their better games of the season, delivered a timely stop. With just under five minutes left in the game the Commanders offense had the ball back in their hands. As this was their final chance to go on a much-needed scoring drive to win the ball game.
However, on critical third down; which was an area they struggled with all game long, Cam Sims was not able to bring in a tear drop pass that Carson Wentz lofted too him. As the ball jarred loose when he hit the ground making a diving catch for the ball.
Looking at the replay it was clear that the right call was made on the play by the officials. Yet, head coach Ron Rivera thought otherwise and threw out his red challenge flag with just under 4 minutes to go in the game.
Following further review the call on the field was upheld and Washington’s challenge was unsuccessful and they lost one of their three timeouts. Which would turn to be very costly for them later on in the drive.
Ensuing the unsuccessful challenge Washington was able to convert on fourth down and continue their drive to try and win the game. With that the Commanders were now in prime position to punch it in for a touchdown to win the game.
Though with them losing one of their timeouts after the challenge was unsuccessful. Washington had no more timeouts left; thus forcing them to have to try and score through the air rather than being able to run the ball in.
This decision would prove to be costly in the end as they weren’t able to cash in a touchdown from the two-yard line. As Wentz would quite literally throw away the game with his awful interception on third and goal to end the game.
If not for that challenge early in the drive by Rivera, Washington would still have had a time out to spare on the goal line. Which would have made it more likely for them to take their chances running the ball in such a short yard situation rather than passing it. Instead the self inflicted wound cost them their ability to do that.
Dyami Brown’s Career Day
This game was a much needed coming out party for Brown. As it came at a crucial point in time for not only the Commanders but also himself. Up until this point he had little to no production on the field throughout the first two seasons of his career. It was becoming clear that maybe some of the confidence he had was beginning to deteriorate.
His struggles even caught the eye of fellow 2021 draftee, Amon-Ra St. Brown, who essentially called out Brown in his post-game presser following the Lions Week 2 victory over the Commanders. Where he spoke about the Commanders being one of the teams that passed up on him in the draft; stating:
“Even the Commanders, they got a guy before me over there. I believe his name is Dyami Brown. I don’t know how many catches he had. You guys can probably tell me that. Or how many yards he had. I don’t forget things like that. I see him across the sideline from where I’m standing during the game”
Dyami Brown didn’t speak out to the media on St. Brown’s comments, but chose rather to let his play on the field speak out even louder for him. With Jahan Dotson being sidelined due to a hamstring injury; Brown finally had the opportunity to go out and make plays.
Above all, it was time for the former third round pick in the 2021 draft to finally show up. And that is exactly what he did, not only showing up but showing out as well. As he would have a career best 105 receiving yards to accompany his first 2 career touchdowns.
As a result, Brown was able to use his 4.4 speed to showcase his ability to take the top off the defense. With both his catches on the day going for 30+ yard touchdowns. Which highlighted by the incredible left-handed one hand snag that he made. As Wentz hit him on a slot fade up the left sideline.
In a game where the Commanders’ top two receivers didn’t have outstanding performances. Diyami Brown’s huge play’s down the field were essential to the Commanders being able to put up any points on the board. Being that, aside from his two touchdown plays Washington wasn’t able to generate any real offense in the game.
Third Down Struggles
For the past three weeks the Commanders’ offense has struggled with converting on third downs. As they have only converted on 38% of their third downs this season. A large reason for that can be attributed to them constantly being in third and long situations. Due to their inadequate ability to protect Carson Wentz and self inflicted wounds.
With their insufficient ability to convert on third downs; Washington’s capability to move the ball down the field consistently was limited against the Titans. Consequently, only converting on 1 of their 11 third downs in the game; which came on their final drive. Thus, handicapping the Commanders from being able to generate any real offense.
In addition to their inability to stay out of third and long situations; Washington was also unsuccessful in third and short situations as well. Coupled with their absence of a run game, it made it hard for the Commanders to convert on third and short.
As they were only able to get 43 total rushing yards in the game. Only averaging 2.5 yards a carry. With 15 of those rushing yards coming from Carson Wentz having to scramble after a couple of bad snaps.
Therefore, what looked like easy conversions on short yard situations turned out to be a struggle for the offense. Being that they turned to the passing game in those situations instead of handing the ball off. Since they were never able to get things going in the run game.
While Washington was able to get some things going offensively throughout the game. With them never being able to convert on third downs they were never able to sustain any momentum on their drives.
Ultimately, they were never able to take advantage of a middle of the pack defense that was depleted with the injury bug. As their struggles to put drives together continues to linger on for another week.
Now they must have short term memory as they have a quick turn around this week. With them heading to Chicago for their Thursday night game against the Bears.
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