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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Jacoby Brissett's absence

"What might have been" went double for Jacoby Brissett. I am not so much disappointed that Sam Howell got another start. I did not think Ron Rivera should have benched him this late into the season in the first place. But I am disappointed for the veteran.

Brissett deserved a chance to show what he could do with a full week of practice, going against one of the league’s best defenses. Perhaps he would have played a great game. Perhaps he would have flamed out. We’ll never know.

He hits the market as a free agent this off-season, and there should be strong interest in him. I imagine Brissett will find a situation in which he can compete for a starting job. He could have bolstered his case with a strong outing on Sunday.

Unlike some other players on the roster, Brissett has been a good soldier - at least publicly - this season. He has kept his mouth shut and stayed prepared. He has performed when called on. He deserves better.

This has ripple effects as well.

Seeing how effective Brissett has been over the past two weeks begs the question as to whether Eric Bieniemy’s system would have been better with the veteran under center. The Washington Commanders' offense was better in 2023 than it has been in several years, but it has flaws.

Over the past month, those flaws have gotten worse. It has many asking whether the league has caught up to the system, or whether the players simply haven’t performed well enough.

Getting a full start from Brissett might have helped answer those questions. Again, Commanders fans are left wondering.