5. First quarter (0:01), 1st and 10 from the Detroit 42
It looked like Washington would get out of that horrific first quarter. But not before one final chunk play. This was fairly simple. Josh Reynolds simply beat Kendall Fuller. Fuller is playing soft, even 20 yards downfield. Normally, a corner of Fuller’s ability, would be able to make a break on a deep out like this. But Fuller is so far off – again, 20 YARDS DOWNFIELD – that it is a relatively easy throw and catch. Cole Holcomb picks up a tackle by hustling downfield and catching Reynolds from behind. That’s good, because Fuller, like the rest of the defensive backfield, looks so out of it right now, that he was on the verge of allowing Reynolds to juke right past him.
Washington would hold Detroit to another field goal here, but on the next drive, Reynolds would get his touchdown when he ran by a totally discombobulated Darrick Forrest for an easy score. I’m not sure how a professional defensive back allows a receiver to simply sprint past him from the 3-yard line, but there obviously is a way, and the Washington Commanders found it.
One more thing about the long pass to Reynolds that ended the first quarter. Montez Sweat got a decent push on the play. I thought Sweat was the only defensive player who had a decent game on Sunday. But it is clear that without Chase Young and with a depleted Jonathan Allen, this defensive line, the supposed strength of the team, is a problem – not an answer. They are getting nothing from any of the other ends. Daron Payne makes some plays, but without Allen next to him, he is not nearly as effective.
OK, so 23 minutes in and it’s 22-0. Again, for you pollyannas out there, Washington won the rest of the game 27-14. Too bad it doesn’t work that way.