Commanders @ Broncos
Final Score: Commanders 35, Broncos 33
Writer: Brian Hartman (@TooMuch_Brian on Twitter)
The Commanders and Broncos game was a thrilling rollercoaster of football action, with the Broncos initially dominating, holding a commanding 21-3 lead with just two minutes left in the first half. It seemed like smooth sailing for Denver, but as they say, it’s not over until it’s over. Amidst all the drama, Kareem Jackson‘s ejection for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Logan Thomas added a fiery spark to the contest, showcasing the intensity on both sides of the ball.
While Brian Robinson‘s standout performance carried the Commanders on the ground, Howell’s inexperience in only his third start left questions about his readiness at the quarterback position. This game was a wild ride from start to finish, a testament to the unpredictability and sheer excitement that football brings to our lives.
Russell Wilson orchestrated a comeback for the ages. His pinpoint precision and clutch throws had fans holding their breath as he led the Broncos to a stunning turnaround. But it was the missed crucial two-point conversion after that sealed Denver’s fate.
- Marvin Mims – He ran a very minimal number of routes tonight but showed that there is no one more explosive on the Broncos offense
- Brian Robinson – He has taken over this backfield! On a team that wants to run, he’ll have countless opportunities to carry the rock, and his increased usage in the passing game shows he can be a bell cow if the Commanders choose to use him that way.
- Courtland Sutton: With Mims emerging, the likelihood of Sutton staying relevant is slim.
Sam Howell: 27/39, 299 yards, 2 TDs | 2 carries, 13 yards
Sam has been quite the inspiration on this Commanders team, showing that this team has more to offer than just defense. His resiliency after being down 18 in the first half may just be enough to keep this team afloat in an uninspiring NFC. For every throw Howell made in which he threaded the proverbial needle, there were just as many that caused Washington fans to pull out their hair. He finished the day with only two carries, but what you don’t see are two other scrambles called back that amounted to over 25 lost yards. These receivers are freaky talented, offering Howell an avenue to realize his upside through his rushing and passing work. Their continued efforts in the screen game gave the Broncos Defense fits today as well.
Brian Robinson: 18 carries, 87 yards, 2 TDs | 1 2-pt conversion | 3 targets, 2 carries, 42 yards
Robinson is the definition of a grinder. He may not be an elite talent, but his tenacity and work ethic make up for it. This Broncos defense was no joke, but Robinson was able to wear them down. His effectiveness between the tackles and down around the goal line were a lift to many fantasy lineups on Sunday. Robinson was also surprisingly a factor in the passing game, threatening to make Antonio Gibson even more irrelevant. He only played 6 more snaps than Gibson but logged nine times as many carries (18 to 2).
Antonio Gibson: 2 carries, 9 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 44 yards
Gibson’s elusiveness is something to watch when he gets the ball in space, but his lack of opportunity may stem from ball security issues last week. This week, he did excite the Washington faithful with a great run after the catch early into the fourth quarter to keep the game alive.
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Terry McLaurin: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 54 yards, TD
McLaurin still functions as the go-to guy in Washington despite a recent case of turf toe that might still be uncomfortable to play through. His highlight reel worthy touchdown grab in the third quarter stands out as his largest contribution of the day, but the former Ohio State Buckeye kept drives alive on multiple third downs with clutch (and sometimes acrobatic) catches.
Curtis Samuel: 1 carry, 13 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards
Dyami Brown: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 25 yards
Jahon Dotson: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 22 yards
We’d love to see more from this second-year wide receiver. We’re not seeing as many deep shots from Howell as we’d like, and those are necessary if Dotson is to post as many explosive plays as we saw down the stretch last year. His talent is undeniable, so his time is coming. The only question: when?
Logan Thomas: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards, 1 TD
Thomas had a decent start to his half with three targets and a touchdown catch at the first half’s two-minute warning. His game was cut short by a brutal hit by Kareem Jackson, and the Broncos defender previously knocked Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Jakobi Meyers out of action with a questionable hit to the head in Week 1. Jackson was ejected for the hit, and Thomas did not return. This isn’t the first probable concussion that Thomas has sustained in recent years, so we all hope he takes enough time to heal before coming back to the Commanders. Odds are high that fellow tight ends John Bates and Cole Turner will play larger roles next week if Thomas is unable to play.
Russell Wilson: 18/32, 308 yards, 3 TDs, 1 Int | 6 carries, 56 yards
What happened here? We were watching the first half, and Chef Wilson was actually cooking! He was dropping dimes to guys who seemingly never scored before. But when the second half rolled around, we went from cooking with Gordon Ramsey to opening a can of Chef Boyardee. This offensive line play affected the passing game to an extent, but it also forced Wilson to run a bit more, which might give his fantasy managers more confidence in plating him in their lineups.
- Wilson has to find ways to finish games. This defense is incredible but it’s thinning out in the secondary, so Russ will have to shoulder more responsibility t finish games and play better football for the duration of all four quarters.
Javonte Williams: 12 carries, 44 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 14 yards
Even after shredding two knee ligaments last season, Williams looks like the running back we know amd remember. He needs more carries to be productive, and hopefully we’ll get there as the season progresses. Samaje Perine didn’t siphon nearly as many touches as many expected, but rookie Jaleel McLaughlin vultured a touchdown on his lone carry of the day; that score would’ve salvaged Williams’ day from a fantasy standpoint.
Samaje Perine: 1 carry, 4 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 20 yards
Jaleel McLaughlin: 1 carry, 5 yards, TD
Wide Receiver/Tight End
Jerry Jeudy: 5 targets, 2 receptions, 25 yards
Jeudy’s first action of the 2023 season was not what fantasy managers were hoping for. It’s fair to wonder if he was held back a little to prevent him from aggravating his recent leg injury. There are so many issues on this offense, but Jerry may get enough looks going forward to stay relevant and remain on rosters; hopefully, he’ll become a lineup fixture for his fantasy managers going forward as he regains confidence in his healing hamstring.
Courtland Sutton: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 66 yards
Despite the seven targets, this offense isn’t offering enough quality attempts to feel good about Sutton’s role on this team. Sutton was fine, but with stars like Jeudy returning to action and talented rookies like Marvin Mims breaking out, Sutton may not be a pivotal piece of this passing game for long.
Marvin Mims: 2 carries, 10 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 116 yards, 1 TD
I’d love to talk more about one of the most exciting rookies in the NFL, but unfortunately, the Broncons have been keeping him a secret. Mims ran only five routes, yes just five. However, he was targeted twice and caught both in exciting fashion, including a long 60-yard touchdown. Why in the world is this guy not seeing the field more?
Brandon Johnson: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 66 yards, 2 TDs
With two huge catches, Johnson put himself on the map for a team that has been desperately missing Tim Patrick (lost for the season due to injury). Johnson’s most exhilarating play came as time expired on a Hail Mary-Turned-Tip-Drill. As a result, Johnson delivered the Broncos into a two-point conversion opportunity that tragically wasn’t converted, ushering in the end of the game.
Adam Trautman: 1 target
Greg Dulcich landed on IR this week and many thought that would carve out many opportunities for Trautman, especially in a game in which Wilson threw over 30 times. Trautman was drafted by Sean Payton and came over from the New Orleans Saints, so the peak of his story arc might still be written. However, he is a tight end in a year in which they’re seemingly less productive than ever, so we can’t have nice things. At least not right now.