Studs and duds from Week 9 as Commanders collapse late vs Vikings
By Jerry Trotta
Stud: Curtis Samuel
Washington has turned in catch-of-the-year candidates two weeks running. After McLaurin leaped over Stephon Gilmore to set up Taylor Heinicke’s game-winning touchdown in Week 8, Samuel nearly one-upped his former Ohio State teammate, though the grab required more luck than skill.
The luck had everything to do with Heinicke and the refs.
For starters, Heinicke heaved a needless deep ball into trouble coverage. A Vikings DB was camping underneath the pass to pick it off. The only problem? He ran into a ref, which allowed Samuel to swoop in out of nowhere, make the catch, and roll into the end zone after going untouched on the ground.
You really have to see it to believe it. Sometimes you need luck on your side to win in this league, and the Commanders have had plenty during this win streak.
Dud: Scott Turner
Turner was the subject of our mid-game article, where we questioned (some would say berated) the offensive coordinator’s 3rd and 9 quarterback draw play in the first half. In the third quarter, Turner once again drew the ire of fans when he dialed up a bootleg for Heinicke on 4th and 1 following a timeout.
A run up the middle would’ve received similar backlash, but cutting the field in half for your already-limited QB makes little sense. That kind of play design just increases the margin for error, and the pass fell incomplete.
Stud: Dax Milne
The Commanders have long been enamored with the idea of targeting Milne in the red zone and it finally manifested itself against the Vikings. With Washington knocking on the door early in the fourth quarter, Milne ran a beautiful whip route to create space and Heinicke hit him for a six-yard touchdown to cap a 10-play drive. It was Mine’s first career receiving touchdown, and it couldn’t come at a better time.