What huge disappointments emerged from the Washington Commanders' home defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 17?
I usually have no trouble spitting out 1,000 words about the latest Washington Commanders disappointments. Today, I do.
I don’t think their performance against the San Francisco 49ers was all that disappointing. Given the Philadelphia Eagles' home embarrassment against the Arizona Cardinals, it was a pretty darn good day.
The Commanders were facing an extremely talented San Francisco squad coming off a painful loss and with everything in the world to play for. They were down three starting offensive linemen and their top two cornerbacks. As you know, the protection and the secondary have been trouble spots even when fully healthy.
What’s more, they were relying on a young quarterback who had just been benched. It certainly did not look promising going against Christian McCaffery, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, and Fred Warner - not to mention Trent Williams and Chase Young.
And what happened? The Commanders, who have started poorly in virtually every game this season, stayed fairly even with the mighty Niners for the first half. San Francisco controlled the ball better, but in most important categories, Washington outperformed their opponent.
They had a better third-down conversion rate. They had better yards-per-play and yards-per-pass numbers. No sacks. No interceptions. They were trailing by three and scheduled to get the ball to begin the second half. Other than the two Eagles games, this may have been the best first half the Commanders have put together all season.
Of course, in the second half, it all fell apart.
Washington’s yard-per-play dropped almost two full yards, and their yards-per-pass was even worse, going from a healthy 7.7 to a cellar-dwelling 4.2. Sam Howell threw a couple of picks. The Commanders failed to score while surrendering two touchdowns to a Niners team that seemed to wake up just enough to produce the expected outcome.
As I think about it, the biggest disappointment on the day is the very fact I wasn’t all that disappointed. The Commanders lost a home game by 17 points, and I thought it could have been worse. That’s a case of endemic disappointment, and that’s someplace no fanbase wants to be.
As for the lower-case-d disappointments from the 49ers game, let’s begin.