What were some big disappointments from the Washington Commanders' close-fought win over the Arizona Cardinals to begin their 2023 season?
For the first time since Week 14 of the 2020 season, the Washington Commanders won a game entirely on account of their dominant defense. Specifically, the defensive line, headed by Daron Payne and Montez Sweat, overwhelmed the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1.
Every member of the two-deep line made at least one big play at a crucial moment to help secure the first win under new owner Josh Harris and his team of wealthy investors.
But as euphoric as 1-0 may be, there were several very troubling parts of the Commanders' victory. Some of these things will simply take time to work out, but others could pose longer-term problems as Washington takes on better competition down the road.
Here, then, are the five biggest disappointments from Week 1.
Arizona’s chances of winning were severely hampered by their own penalties. But the Washington Commanders did not play a very disciplined game either.
How many times do you see a holding call go against the punt coverage team? That’s exactly what was given against Christian Holmes on Washington's first punt. They followed it up with a more traditional holding call on the next punt – against Quan Martin - when the Commanders were the return team.
A few of the calls – especially an offensive pass interference against John Bates at the end of the first quarter – were ludicrous. But the Commanders have to cut out the penalties, particularly on offense and special teams.
The Commanders committed eight on the day, and they will not always be playing against a team like Arizona, who bailed them out several times with their own bad infringements. The Cardinals committed nine, for more than 100 yards.