Sam Howell produced with better protection
Much has been made about the offensive line's suspect protection this season. To say they've been subpar would be a huge understatement.
We've already mentioned that second-year quarterback Sam Howell was on course to break the NFL's single-season sack record currently held by David Carr heading into Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Something that led head coach Ron Rivera to make changes in the hope improvements arrived.
Veteran free-agent signing Nick Gates was benched as Tyler Larsen switched to the center position and Chris Paul came in for injured left guard Saahdiq Charles. The step forward was immediate, which was also assisted by Eric Bieniemy's play-calling which set a positive tone.
This development was extremely welcome for Howell, who had arguably his best game of the season behind easily the best protection he's had the benefit of since taking over as the Washington Commanders starting quarterback.
Howell was sacked just once for a loss of nine yards. Considering almost everyone across the offensive line has represented a human turnstile at stages in 2023, this was a significant step in the right direction.
Washington's line kept him relatively out of harm's way throughout and the production reflected Howell's newfound safety in the pocket. If this trend continues moving forward, all hope is not lost for the Commanders and head coach Ron Rivera.