Grading Commanders quarterback Sam Howell's first five games in 2023

How is QB1 getting on to start the season?

Sam Howell
Sam Howell / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 5

Commanders vs. Bills - Week 3

  • 65.52% completion
  • 170 passing yards
  • 0 touchdowns
  • 4 interceptions
  • 9 sacks against
  • 14.6 QBR
  • 41.5 passer rating

This was the first acid test for Sam Howell and the Washington Commanders. The Buffalo Bills are expected to be among the leading Super Bowl contenders once again led by a stout defense and a quarterback in Josh Allen who represents an immense obstacle to overcome - so the challenge was obviously significant.

It was clear from pretty early on that this wasn't going to go Washington's way. Buffalo's defense was nothing short of relentless immediately, putting Howell under significant duress and forcing the second-year-pro into numerous costly errors along the way.

Putting up four interceptions represented Howell crashing back down to earth in no uncertain terms. He looked shaky behind an offensive line that couldn't be trusted en route to conceding nine sacks, with the defense's subpar performance doing nothing to tip the scales in the Commanders' favor.

All the positivity surrounding Howell sapped away in the blink of an eye. Others were also at fault, but the quarterback normally carries the can and four giveaways were not what many anticipated despite the high standard of opposition.

Performance Grade: D

Howell was the first to admit that this wasn't his greatest moment. All eyes were on the player to see how he'd bounce back in the face of adversity for the first time in his NFL career at the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.