Commanders special teams
The Washington Commanders' defense has been bad all year. Sunday’s game was the 11th this season they have surrendered at least 28 points to an opponent. And the New York Jets came in as the worst-ranked offense in the league.
You cannot pin this loss on the defense. The offense, before Jacoby Brisset’s insertion midway through the third quarter, was awful. And the special teams may have turned in the worst performance I have ever seen from a Washington team.
The first time Washington lined up to punt, Christian Holmes was called for a false start. He would commit another penalty on an illegal touch a few minutes later. In between those two penalties, Terrell Burgess would allow Jermaine Johnson an unfettered route right to Tress Way for the Jets’ first punt block in about 1,000 years.
The Commanders' punt return teams were no better. Tariq Castro-Fields committed an unfathomable encroachment penalty which led directly to a Jets touchdown. To begin the second half, Dyami Brown was called for holding which pinned Washington inside their 10-yard line. Normally reliable returner Jamison Crowder fumbled a punt without being touched.
Kickoff returner Byron Pringle also fumbled, but fortunately was able to recover. It also pinned Washinton inside the 10 and led to another Jets touchdown.
After Pringle’s miscue, Way had a poor punt which gave the Jets the ball in Commanders' territory. On the day, the veteran punted seven times for a 42-yard average - not counting the block. His counterpart, Jets punter Thomas Morstead, punted six times for just under 49 yards per kick.
This was a sloppy, uninspired performance by the unit coached by Washington’s longest-tenured coordinator, Nate Kaczor. Special teams have been far from great under the coordinator, but they have never looked this bad. From the franchise that once was home to George Allen, Marv Levy, Brian Mitchell, and Bill Malinchak, this is painful to watch.