What were some major observations from Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell's performance against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 18?
After a rollercoaster campaign for Sam Howell, the quarterback at least got the chance for one final starting chance in Week 18 against the Dallas Cowboys. What comes after that is less certain as Josh Harris' ownership group looks set to stamp their mark on the franchise through widespread changes.
That's out of Howell's hands. His focus centered on attempting to overcome a ferocious Dallas Cowboys defense capable of completely wrecking a game with early momentum. The former fifth-round pick experienced this once before during a Thanksgiving Day mauling earlier in the campaign. He didn't want to suffer a similar fate before embarking on a prolonged period of offseason rest.
As it turned out, Howell and the Commanders were unable to keep up with the juggernaut Cowboys en route to their 13th loss of the campaign. From the signal-caller's perspective, it was another up-and-down afternoon at the office.
With this in mind, here are four major observations from Howell's regular-season finale against the Cowboys at FedEx Field.
Sam Howell's composed start
Considering the pressure was off, it came as no surprise to see Sam Howell look composed over the opening exchanges. The quarterback was assured in the pocket. He took what the defense gave him. He managed to connect with his playmakers aside from the odd miss.
There are times when Howell makes jaw-dropping throws. There are times when the stupid mistakes leave fans shaking their head almost in disbelief. But the player demonstrated a level of comfort that's been seldom seen over the second half of 2023.
Eric Bieniemy helped matters with some long-awaited trickery to his play-calling. Just where this had been all season is anyone's guess, but keeping the Dallas Cowboys on their toes seemed to help Howell early on.