5 negative takeaways from Commanders’ Week 2 loss to the Lions

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 18: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions celebrates afterscoring a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Ford Field on September 18, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - SEPTEMBER 18: D'Andre Swift #32 of the Detroit Lions celebrates afterscoring a touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the third quarter at Ford Field on September 18, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Washington Commanders followed their home opening victory with a poor performance in Detroit on Sunday.  The visitors put forth a spirited comeback, but the efforts were in vain and there is plenty of blame to go around.

The Commanders were overwhelmed in all three facets of Sunday’s game in the first half against the Lions.  Trailing 22-0 at halftime, the offense shifted into overdrive and mounted a determined rally that fell woefully short.

The defense struggled throughout the game and fans are calling for the defensive coordinator to be relieved of his duties.  The special teams unit wasn’t any better, but the offense came to life in the second half.  It simply wasn’t enough as Washington lost, 36-27.

Last week we came to you with five positives from the Jaguars game, but this week we will focus on five negatives that doomed the Commanders on Sunday.

There are no game balls awarded in any loss, but Carson Wentz does deserve some praise for trying to bring the Burgundy and Gold back to within one score a couple of times in the second half.  We will also post a prediction for next week’s home game against the Eagles.  Let’s get to the sad details for this week.

5 negatives for the Commanders vs the Lions

1. Last week, our second positive was the defense, but they are the first negative following the Lions game.  The defensive line was over-matched.  The linebackers seemed lost for most of the game.  The secondary was confused.  It added up to an old-fashioned beat-down.

2. The second negative is the coaching.  Honestly, defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio should be taking some heat and his leash is probably very short at this time.  The defensive game plans lack cohesion.  The offense was hopelessly ineffective in the first half.  Offensive coordinator Scott Turner and head coach Ron Rivera need to have the players ready to do battle each week.

3. The third negative this week is offseason planning.  The Commanders lack defensive line depth.  They have major problems at linebacker.  The cornerbacks are overwhelmed.  The offensive line has depth issues.  The front office failed to address these concerns in the offseason and the Lions exposed these shortcomings.

4. The fourth negative is kicker Joey Slye.  His fourth-quarter extra point miss sealed Washington’s fate and the onside kick moments later was pitiful.  Slye needs to find consistency and the quickest way to do so still seems rather slow.

5.  The fifth negative is the running back corps.  One statistic stands out like an ugly duck.  Seventeen rushes for thirty-seven yards are simply anemic.  If anyone is looking to place blame on the offense, this is a good place to start.

Additional Negatives: Offensive line, Antonio Gibson, Dax Milne, William Jackson, and John Bates.

Grades for Commanders vs. Detroit

  • Quarterbacks – Grade: C+
  • Running Backs – Grade: F
  • Tight Ends – Grade: C+
  • Wide Receivers – Grade: B
  • Offensive Line – Grade: D+
  • Defensive Line – Grade: F
  • Linebackers – Grade: F
  • Cornerbacks – Grade: F
  • Safeties – Grade: F
  • Special Teams – Grade: D-
  • Coaches – Grade: F

Commanders Should Address These Issues

  • Less zone defense and more man coverage.
  • Drop the two linebacker sets and utilize a traditional 4-3 alignment.
  • Find center and guard depth via practice squads or through waivers.  Note: A center was signed (see below).
  • The coaching staff should stop calling out players publicly.  Deal with problems away from the public eye.
  • Players should avoid social media during the season.  Eliminate all outside distractions.

Commanders Next Game Prediction, Final Thoughts

Washington returns to FedEx Field on Sunday to face Philadelphia in the first division game of the season.  It is an opportunity to put the Lions game behind them and focus on the upcoming games.  However, the firepower of the Eagles offense and a relentless defense proves to be too much for the home team to handle.

Eagles 38 Commanders 28

The Commanders were able to score a huge coup Monday afternoon.  When the Cowboys elevated quarterback Cooper Rush from their practice squad to the active roster, they released defensive tackle John Ridgeway and hoped to sign him back in the coming days.  Washington sniped him off of waivers.

Ridgeway, as some of you may recall, was mocked by yours truly in the fourth round on occasion last winter/spring.  Dallas selected him in the fifth round.  Now, Washington has two of the better defensive tackle prospects from the 2022 draft (Phil Mathis being the other).

Chase Roullier will go to injured reserve very soon, perhaps with a designation to return.  However, some reports suggest he could be lost for the season.  Look for Washington to make additional moves this week on the waiver wire or via practice squads.

Note: Late word has come that Washington has signed an experienced center.

The Commanders were given a reality check last Sunday.  Let’s see how they respond.  We’ll return next week for an analysis of the Eagles game and a game prediction vs. the Cowboys.  See you as we go along.

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