3 telling revelations from the Commanders’ loss to the Vikings
3. The defense is nearing elite status
This one needs no qualifying statements as well, this defense is simply a really good unit. Following Lions’ game, they have consistently given the team a chance to win. Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne may be the best interior defensive line duo in the entire NFL. They are stout against the run, and they consistently produce wins as pass rushers.
Montez Sweat may never be a consistent number-one presence as an edge rusher but as a number-two option, he fills in really well. He is dominant against the run and can win on stunts and with a bull rush as a pass rusher. The Commanders had 13 tackles for loss and 11 QB hits on the day, the defensive front was simply dominant today.
Benjamin St-Juste was tasked with covering Justin Jefferson for most of the day. Jefferson won a fair share of his reps but St-Juste battled. He had two pass deflections, one of which led to an interception, could’ve potentially had a game-winning pick-6 if not for a questionable DPI call, and had a sack on a CB blitz today. Against his toughest challenge yet, St-Juste brought his best. Bright days are ahead for the former Golden Gopher.
The rest of the secondary is filling out their roles well. Kam Curl remains one of the team’s most important players, as his sure tackling in space stopped drives, and saved points on his shoe-string tackle of Adam Thielen in the fourth quarter. Bobby McCain had a tackle for loss and a pass deflection on the day, and he continues to settle into the free safety role.
Kendall Fuller and Jamin Davis, two players who have struggled at points, are also coming into their own. Fuller is a nice complement to St-Juste, as he had a pass deflection and a tackle for loss on the day. Davis’ run fits have significantly improved and he isn’t as much of a liability in coverage as he was before.
The Commanders held Dalvin Cook to just 2.8 yards per carry on the day, as they continue to be dominant against the run. This defense is good. And it will keep them competitive in most games. How good they end up being is dependent on the offense beginning to perform at a league-average level. If not, the Commanders could be staring down the barrel of another 7-10 seasons.
But hey despite the disappointing loss, I’ll leave you with one last cool nugget for Commanders fans. Jay Glazer confirmed on FOX’s pregame show that Dan Snyder is seeking to sell 100% of the franchise after he announced they had hired Bank of America to explore selling options. An even better statement was this is expected to move quickly and could be done by the new league year.
So the Commanders may have lost the battle today but they may have won the war. The loss still stings, though.