It’s been a week for the Washington Commanders. From Brian Robinson’s name being used in a team statement criticizing the city’s “crime problem” to the D.C. attorney general suing the team. Lest we forget, the team had a game on Monday night against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, where they were 11-point underdogs.
Nobody gave this team a chance. Still, you know what they say about racehorses wearing blinders? It’s to help them run their own race and stay focused on the things they can control. That’s exactly what the Commanders did, riding behind the legs of Robinson and Antonio Gibson.
With Taylor Heinicke leading the charge, this team plays with a swagger that is unlike anything you see with Carson Wentz on the field. Yes, he has his limitations, we’ve heard all about that, but his attitude rubs off on the team.
The fact that he can get lit up and fumble early in the game, come back, take more hits, and keep making plays while getting the ball perfectly placed to Terry McLaurin on a 40-yard pass proved his playmaking abilities.
Those are the intangibles that can’t be coached. Those are the things teammates feed off. They are making plays when they are needed most, even if they don’t make a difference in the box score.
On the 16-play, 86-yard drive to go up 17-14, Tyler Larsen snapped the ball over Heinicke’s head, but instead of falling on it and taking a 20-yard loss, he picked it up, ran out of the pocket and just got the ball past the line of scrimmage to avoid an intentional grounding penalty.
Then, on Washington’s last drive, on 3rd-and-7 with under two minutes left, Heinicke gave himself up with two defenders coming at him and was able to draw an unnecessary roughness penalty that all but clinched the game.
Giving the ball back to the Eagles at home, with that much time left, could have spelled disaster, but a crisis was averted thanks to some quick thinking and a little bit of luck.
With two winnable games coming up against the Texans and Falcons, the season is far from over, and it looks like the Commanders are starting to get it together at just the right time. Let’s get into the key numbers from Week 9’s 32-21 upset of the Eagles.