5 positives from Commanders’ upset win over the Cowboys

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 08: Sam Howell #14 of the Washington Commanders celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on January 08, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 08: Sam Howell #14 of the Washington Commanders celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Dallas Cowboys at FedExField on January 08, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Washington Commanders closed out their 2022 season with a bone-crushing victory over their division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys.  The gang from Ashburn will now enter a new era in more ways than one.

The Washington Commanders had nothing to play for on Sunday afternoon against the Cowboys. Some fans were hoping for a loss to help with draft position.  Some fans wanted a victory, especially over one of the most hated division rivals in the NFC East.  Other fans wanted to see what younger players could bring to the table.  The Burgundy and Gold sent a message of their own and it was very impressive.

The Commanders dominated the Cowboys with a 26-6 win to close out the season with an 8-8-1 record.  Honestly, it should’ve been much worse for the Cowboys – a team that was fighting for the number one overall seed in the NFC playoffs.  Washington did not oblige.  It also marked the debut of quarterback Sam Howell and he did not disappoint the fans in attendance and those who were watching on television.  There are certainly many wonderful moments from the game and we are here to cover it all for you today.

Welcome to this week’s look at the latest game – the last one of the season.  We have five positives to talk about, hand out four game balls, and grades to bestow on the players and coaching staff.  Let’s jump right in and savor the experience.

Five positives for the Commanders

  • The first positive from Sunday’s game is none other than quarterback Sam Howell.  Sure, he made a couple of mistakes and his stats will not overwhelm you, but he was solid and demonstrated that 2023 could be his opportunity to stake a claim to being the long-term starter in Washington.
  • How about that defense against one of the best offenses in the NFL?  It was total domination. Eleven three-and-outs – the most of any team this season!  Did you notice Chase Young lining up over the center on a few snaps?  Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was 14-37 for 128 yards (45.8 QBR).  The leading receiver for Dallas accumulated just 52 yards.  Their leading rusher gained 19 yards – Dallas rushers had 27 carries for 64 yards.  The defense is our second positive.
  • Running back Jaret Patterson is our third positive from Sunday’s game.  He carried the ball 17 times for 78 yards and provided the Commanders with several key first downs.  Not bad for a player who spent most of the season on the practice squad.
  • The fourth positive from the game is one that is difficult to fathom, but in a pleasant way.  Wide receiver Dax Milne rarely sees the field on offensive play sets, but he is the primary punt returner.  Milne turned in his best performance since coming to town last year. He had 7 returns for 55 yards (7.9 yards per return) and continuously gave the Commanders solid field position.
  • Our fifth and final positive for the 2022 season is simple.  The fans.  The fans on social media.  The fans here who read the articles.  The fans who show up to team activities, training camp, preseason games, and many regular season games.  The die-hard fans never give up and all of you are our fifth positive to close out the season.  Your enduring fandom will be rewarded.

Grades for Commanders vs. Dallas

  • Quarterbacks – Grade: B+
  • Running Backs – Grade: B
  • Tight Ends – Grade: C
  • Wide Receivers – Grade: A-
  • Offensive Line – Grade: B+
  • Defensive Line – Grade: A
  • Linebackers – Grade: B
  • Cornerbacks – Grade: A+
  • Safeties – Grade: A
  • Special Teams – Grade: B
  • Coaches – Grade: A

Awarding four game balls to deserving Commanders

  • Khaleke Hudson is awarded our first game ball from Sunday’s game.  He was solid on special teams. He had seven tackles on defense and nearly had a sack.  Leke was also given a game ball in the locker room from head coach Ron Rivera.
  • The second game ball goes to Sam Howell.  It’s only one game, but it’s time for the front office and coaches to give the former Tar Heel star a chance to start in 2023.
  • The third game ball goes to Kendall Fuller.  Entering the 2022 season, the former Virginia Tech Hokie had plenty of good seasons on the gridiron, but zero pick-sixes.  He had two this season, including one against the Cowboys.
  • The fourth game ball goes to safety Percy Butler.  He had four tackles and one pass defended – a very long pass that was batted away at the last second near the end zone.  If Butler can step forward and provide solid depth at deep safety going forward, then a major perceived weakness a year ago is now a major strength.
  • Honorable Mention – Chris Paul, Efe Obada, Jaret Patterson, Darrick Forrest, Terry McLaurin, Wes Schweitzer, David Mayo, Jahan, Dotson, Charles Leno, John Ridgeway, and Christian Holmes.

Final Thoughts

  • Yours truly had a poor season of predicting games.                                                                             KJ Record: 7-10
  • The Commanders have the 16th over pick in the NFL draft.
  • Washington finished the season at 8-8-1, the first non-losing season with Ron Rivera as the head coach.

The offseason is here. Mock drafts, free agency news, and seasonal updates will be a regular feature – stay tuned for so much more in the coming months. See you as we go along.

Next. 13 Commanders players to watch vs Cowboys. dark