5 huge disappointments from Commanders loss vs. the 49ers in Week 17

Things went better than expected, but the result was the same.

Christian Holmes
Christian Holmes / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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More what ifs for the Commanders

This begins with Cornelius Lucas.

Back in 2020, Lucas took over as the starting left tackle from a struggling Geron Christian Jr. and played very well. Over the next two years, with Charles Leno Jr. ensconced on the blindside, he occasionally stepped in at right tackle and was fairly average. Still, a respectable swing tackle option. But seeing him at left tackle these last two weeks makes me wonder if he shouldn’t simply have been starting since 2020.

He doesn’t move as well as Leno, and he will not get out in front of running plays. But his massive frame can collapse the edge on sweeps and he makes it very difficult for opposing pass rushers to find a way around him. Chase Young made a couple of plays on Sunday but was mostly invisible. Clelin Ferrell wasn’t much better.

I think this extends to the other backups. I haven’t seen it yet, but I imagine right tackle Trent Scott will have a very poor Pro Football Focus rating this week. He committed a couple of penalties and gave up a few plays. He also had a lot of help from Sam Cosmi, tight ends, and running backs.

He lined up against Nick Bosa the entire game and held up reasonably well, especially in the first half. Had Scott been playing all season, could he have been better than Andrew Wylie?

If I can’t sell you on Scott, how about this? Where was this Nick Gates all season? This was far and away the best game I have seen him play in a Washington Commanders' uniform. Arik Armstead may have been out, but the San Francisco 49ers still have a formidable interior, and the center was their equal on the day.

Perhaps this is more frustrating than disappointing. But it does make you think about what might have been.