5 winners and losers from the Commanders' win vs. Cardinals in Week 1

Jonathan Allen
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Who were the big winners and losers from the Washington Commanders' victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 of the 2023 season?

All the history books will show that Week 1 of the 2023 season was a win for the Washington Commanders. But the Arizona Cardinals gave a tremendous account of themselves and looked for a long time as if they might spoil the party at FedEx Field before fading down the stretch.

Ron Rivera freely admitted a sense of relief to get over the line but acknowledged things have to improve quickly. This was a highly charged atmosphere emotionally - the first game under new ownership and raised expectations - so things should settle down once everyone becomes more comfortable with one another in the coming weeks.

A sterner test awaits the Commanders next Sunday at the Denver Broncos. Sean Payton lost his opening game at the Las Vegas Raiders, so he won't want to start his home slate with anything other than a victory in pursuit of avoiding further complications down the road.

Before we look ahead, here are five winners and losers from Washington's important win over the Cardinals.

Winner No. 1

Curtis Samuel - Commanders WR

It was an indifferent day overall on offense as Eric Bienieny works his way into a legitimate play-calling role for the first time. There were some positives to take from the game, with Curtis Samuel's usage catching the eye when his number was called.

As expected, Bienieny lined Samuel up all over the field. The former Ohio State star brought in all five of his targets for 54 yards to lead the Washington Commanders in receiving while also getting one carry out of the backfield that went for a further six yards.

These are modest numbers, of course. But the way Bieniemy deployed Samuel according to his strengths makes him a big winner if the same trend continues as the campaign progresses.