Commanders offensive game plan
I have praised Eric Bieniemy to the hilt so far this season. So I think it’s only fair to say that this week, his game plan did Sam Howell no favors.
It was obvious early on that Howell looked uncomfortable. But instead of leaning on a fairly effective running game, Bieniemy had him dropping back and throwing far too much.
To be fair, this game looked a lot more like offensive games from the last several seasons because the Washington Commanders had no legitimate downfield threat. The difference between this and previous campaigns is that this was not due to a weak-armed quarterback, but instead due to an offensive line that simply could not protect the passer long enough to take those deep shots.
No matter, this is the least creative the offense has looked in Bieniemy’s short tenure.
It was especially bad on the two plays run near the goal line with the Commanders trailing just 10-0. On third down from the one-yard-line, a dive up the middle by Brian Robinson Jr. was completely bottled up. Then on fourth down from the two, somehow the running back was tasked with blocking defensive end Greg Rousseau in space while the rest of the offensive line focused on three pass rushers.
Saahdiq Charles didn’t touch a defender on the play, but Robinson was left alone on Rousseau. That’s a design problem and it cost the Commanders their best shot of making this a competitive game.
We have come to expect Bieniemy to outmaneuver his opposite number in these situations, but he was constantly bested by the Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator. And by the way - they don’t have a defensive coordinator. Head coach Sean McDermott handles that role.