There’s an old quote by philosopher, Seneca, that states, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
With that being the case, the 2022 Washington Commanders just might be the most prepared team this franchise has seen in quite some time. Over the last seven weeks, the team has received multiple “opportunities” or lucky breaks and has been able to correlate that into a 6-1 record, the best record in the NFL since Week 6.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Commanders have a better record since Week 6 than Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, Josh Allen and the Bills, and Jalen Hurts and the Eagles (albeit they are 5-1 due to having a bye week).
Five of those six wins have come with Taylor Heinicke leading the way. The wins haven’t been pretty, but they sure as hell have been gritty.
This team has a swagger to them. This team embraces that underdog mentality epitomized by its quarterback. This team believes in head coach Ron Rivera.
"The biggest thing that they’ve gotten to where they are right now is because they believe in what they can do. They’re a good group of young men. They work hard, they rally around each other. They have found a common bond and common thread and that’s doing their job and being successful at winning."
As Seneca said, preparation is one part of the equation of luck. A team that doesn’t believe in itself or what the coach is saying isn’t going to put the work in. Just look at the Texans.
In spite of all the noise and distractions, this team has remained focused on football. The congressional hearing, the lawsuits, the constant missteps by the front office, none of that has stopped this team.
Now the second part is where opportunities come in. Throughout their run, the Commanders have benefitted from multiple “opportunities” where they have made their luck.
According to NFL Football Operations, through Week 9, Washington was ranked as the third luckiest team in the NFL, with 1.67 wins added through luck, right behind its upcoming opponents, the New York Giants.
Luck was calculated based on four categories: interceptions dropped by an opponent, passes dropped by an opponent, field goals and extra points attempted by an opponent, and fumble recoveries by either team.
Since Week 9, Washington has gone 3-0 while the Giants have gone 1-2 so some of these metrics may have shifted, but we’ll look at some of the instances where the Commanders caught lucky breaks during its hot streak.