4 major observations from Sam Howell's performance vs. the 49ers in Week 17

It's been quite a week for Sam Howell...

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Greg Fiume/GettyImages
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Sam Howell's costly mistakes

Just when everything was going so well for Sam Howell, two costly errors in quick succession turned it around almost in the blink of an eye. Two interceptions when the Washington Commanders were trying to find a way back into the contest did nothing to improve his chances beyond the season.

Howell's first pick came after there appeared to be some timing issues between the signal-caller and wide receiver Terry McLaurin. It was hard to tell who was most at fault. It also came with the Commanders in touching distance of another touchdown that could have given them a fighting chance.

The second pick was entirely on Howell. There was a lack of conviction. This led to hesitancy in getting it out. By the time he got rid of the football, it was too late.

This has been the story of Howell's second half of 2023. The highs are jaw-dropping. But the mistakes in terms of accuracy and decision-making haven't improved since Week 1. That might be the most damning indictment of all when it's time to discuss his future under a new regime.

It's extremely unfortunate. Howell seems to be taking one step forward and two steps back right now. Whether it'll lead to Ron Rivera starting Week 18 against the Dallas Cowboys with someone else for his last game as head coach is the big question.