5 Commanders reality checks for Week 11 against the Texans
By Tim Payne
It’s taken a few days, but I think I’m finally over the shock of what we saw Monday night as the Washington Commanders convincingly handled the Eagles in Philadelphia under the bright lights. The discipline and physicality they played with was a sight to see, especially in contrast to the absolute egg they had laid earlier this season when the Eagles came to FedEx.
But, as impressive as that win was, the national perspective on this Commanders team remains highly skeptical. And rightfully so. Washington didn’t exactly dominate. They played a very efficient first half, managed to create a couple turnovers, and held off Philly late in the game in spite of getting extremely conservative in the 4th quarter.
If Washington isn’t able to follow up their surprising victory in Philadelphia with wins the next two weeks against Houston and Atlanta, we’ll know the Monday Night Football victory was more about Philadelphia laying an egg than Washington turning the corner toward late-season playoff relevance. With that in mind, let’s take a look this week’s Commanders Reality Checks for Sunday’s tilt in Houston.
5 Commanders reality checks for Week 11 vs the Texans
5. The Reality Is, pre-snap motion is key for Washington.
As consistently as Washington managed to rush the ball on Monday night, it was almost exclusively off of pre-snap motion that they were able to win on running plays. Whether the motion-man got the ball, was a decoy, or was used as a lead blocker, the consistency with which Scott Turner dialed up pre-snap motion in Philadelphia should absolutely be commended.
If Turner continues to utilize this approach in the run game, expect continued success in moving the chains by the Commanders.
4. The Reality Is, Jon Allen and Daron Payne are due.
They’ve been getting plenty of praise and recognition. But they are both due for a breakout in sacks. As dominant as they have been, the slate of relatively mobile quarterbacks they have played this season combined with their selflessness in the scheme that Rivera and Del Rio have employed has meant that they’ve each had several games where they played incredibly well but didn’t have much statistical success.
They are asked to keep QBs in the pocket and stuff the run, rather than primarily focusing on pass rush. Here’s hoping that Sunday they are able to tee off on Davis Mills and the weak Houston pass protection.