The Bad: Commanders OL questions linger
6: Is it too early to start panicking about the offensive line? Coming in as one of the weakest position groups on the Washington Commanders, the line gave up 6 sacks and 6 quarterback hits. Sam Howell already took a big shot on an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit early in this game, and if the sacks continue, questions will linger if he can withstand a full season.
-1: It is hard to win when you don't win the turnover differential. Although the Commanders forced two turnovers, the team coughed up the football over three times, resulting in a -1 differential.
69: The Commanders were in the bottom half of the league last year in penalty yards per game, and that trend seemed to have carried on into this season. Washington finished with eight penalties for 69 yards. This is an area that needs to be cleaned up as the campaign goes on as the penalties wiped out a 10-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder and multiple potential first downs.
26: The Commanders have struggled with slow starts in both halves. Last season, the team only scored on their first drive of the second half in five of their 17 games. Against the Arizona Cardinals, the offense went scoreless and had a grand total of 26 yards of net offense in the entire third quarter.
60: Over his first two starts - including the Dallas Cowboys game last season - Sam Howell has averaged a 60 percent completion percentage, which would have put him third to last in the NFL, ahead of Baker Mayfield and Zach Wilson. However, the sample size is too small to be significant as just in the NFC East, Daniel Jones and Dak Prescott both completed under 60% of their passes in Week 1.
Regardless of his stats, Howell is now 2-0 as a starter and it is too early to make any sort of assessment on his play. Kirk Cousins went 0-7 after his first win as a starter and went on to become one of the better quarterbacks in Washington franchise history.
Yes, Howell still has a ways to go in terms of decision-making and getting rid of the ball quickly, but you can see he is quick to bounce back from mistakes. He also has the respect of the team, which was evident from the scuffle that occurred after the former fifth-round pick suffered a late hit out of bounds early in the game.
The key early on will be maintaining a more balanced offense and not needing Howell to play the hero. It looks like Washington realized that in the second half, with the signal-caller only attempting seven passes and the Commanders going to a 2:1 run-pass ratio.
Next week, the story continues and Howell will get a chance to face off against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. It will be the first start of his career away from FedEx Field and the first road game for the Commanders in the Josh Harris era.
Can Washington keep the momentum going?