Commanders running game - or lack thereof
The Washington Commanders offensive line was atrocious on Sunday. Sam Howell was sacked three times, which counts as a huge victory these days, but he was constantly running for his life.
Washington’s two biggest pass plays came on wonderful, improvised scramble drills. The touchdown throw to Antonio Gibson was extraordinary because Howell could not step into it. He was being pressured too much. Of all the big plays, only the final throw to Dyami Brown was made from a clean pocket.
But even worse than the pass protection was the run blocking. Washington ran for 4.9 yards per carry, which is a very good number. But that is misleading.
They only ran 14 times. If you take out Howell’s option run - on which he fumbled - that average drops almost a full yard-per-carry.
Brian Robinson Jr. had two nice runs on stretch plays in the fourth quarter. On their other 11 rushing attempts, Washington averaged a meager 2.4 yards per carry. That means on almost 80 percent of their runs, Washington was utterly ineffective.
Those runs mostly featured Robinson testing the center of the line and there were simply no holes to be found.
I have lamented on this all season. The interior of Washington’s line gets no push. Yet, except for those three plays - two stretches and one quarterback option - all of which worked, the Commanders just kept trying to run inside against stacked fronts.
I’m done complaining about how ineffective the line is on running plays. These are the players the Commanders chose. I am now wondering what Eric Bieniemy and run game coordinator Juan Castillo are thinking.
What disappoints me the most is that these coaches seem incapable of finding a solution to this persistent problem.