Commanders key numbers: Comeback thriller at the Broncos in Week 2

It was a comeback for the ages.
Terry McLaurin
Terry McLaurin / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

The Bad: Big plays continue to plague Commanders defense

8: The Washington Commanders' defense has struggled with giving up big plays throughout Jack Del Rio's tenure. That trend continued in Week 2.

The defense gave up 8 explosive plays (plays with over 20+ pass yards or 10+ rush yards). The team gave up runs of 14, 14, and 15 yards, passes of 21, 50, 53, and 60 yards, and a 45-yard punt return.

71: Penalties also continue to plague the team as it had eight infringements for 71 yards, including an offensive holding penalty that wiped out a 19-yard Sam Howell scramble and a roughing the passer penalty that gave the Broncos a free first-down in the red zone on their second-to-last possession.

10: The Commanders' offense needs to start faster and has gone into halftime with a cumulative deficit of 10 points during the first two weeks of the season. The comeback strategy might work against the Arizona Cardinals and Broncos but might be tougher against teams like the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles.

61-17: Washington has to do a better job of incorporating the running attack in the first half of games, as the team is very one-dimensional early on. Over the past two weeks, the Commanders have run 61 pass plays to 17 run plays in the first half.

With three weapons - Brian Robinson Jr., Antonio Gibson, and Chris Rodriguez Jr. - at the running back position, they can easily take some pressure off Howell by diversifying the play-calling a bit. Yes, being down 21-3 does force you to pass more, but the signal-caller had 24 passing attempts at halftime against the Cardinals and 30 against the Broncos, which is fairly similar.

8: The same team that was unable to sack Jimmy Garoppolo at all and only hit him three times, was able to sack Howell on four occasions with eight quarterback hits. Yes, some of this is on the former fifth-round pick holding the ball for too long, but there were many times that the offensive line got completely blasted.

With Howell continuing to improve and the offense making strides, if the defense plays like the top-five unit it's expected to be, the Commanders can be dangerous. That's a very big if though based on what we've seen over the years from Del Rio.