The Bad: Penalties and Third-Down Defense
To beat an undefeated team, you need to play a near-perfect game, and the Commanders did just that for most of the game. There are a few areas that still need improvement to build on Monday’s momentum.
1: The Commanders are one of the top teams in QB hits, but were held to only 1 against the Eagles. The team has struggled to contain mobile quarterbacks throughout Coach Rivera’s tenure and that is definitely an area for improvement.
62.5%: The Eagles came into Monday with the 4th-best third-down conversion percentage (45.87%), but fared even better than that against the Commanders, finishing 5-for-8 (62.5%) on third downs.
58: Washington came into Monday’s game giving up the sixth-most penalty yards per game. Although the Eagles were more undisciplined in this game, Washington still gave up 58 penalty yards and was lucky not to have a facemask penalty called on Jamin Davis during the Dallas Goedert fumble recovery.
Although the pass interference penalty on Benjamin St-Juste was questionable, it did lead to 30 yards for the Eagles, who would score one play later to take a 14-7 lead.
Later in the game, Washington had a delay-of-game penalty on a 4th-and-1 attempt, which forced the team to settle for a field goal instead of potentially adding a touchdown to the board.
44: After a resounding first half, the Commanders’ offense stalled toward the end of the game. Over its last four drives, Washington only gained 44 total yards of offense on 18 plays, with the drives ending in an interception, field goal, and two punts.
After nearly beating a one-loss Vikings team and then beating the undefeated Eagles, there is a feeling around D.C. that fans haven’t experienced in a while; hope. Can Ron Rivera and company continue their late-season magic and sneak into the playoffs?
We’ll have to wait and see, but one thing is for sure. Heinicke has earned the right to continue playing even after Carson Wentz returns from IR.