New Washington Commanders owner Josh Harris saw FedEx Field overrun with Buffalo Bills fans on Sunday. Quarterback Sam Howell learned a good defense eats bad passes. Yes, the honeymoon is over following Dan Snyder’s departure. Every part of the Commanders were beaten in a 37-3 loss and it’s all their fault, not the guy who sailed away with $6 billion.
Welcome to the past three decades.
It was a nice honeymoon. The opener saw local fans thrive in a victory over Arizona. Washington then stole a road game in Denver for 2-0. For a moment, there was hope in Burgundy and Gold land.
But reality hit hard. Howell was exposed. He held the ball too long and made too many bad decisions with four interceptions that were back breakers. The vaulted defensive couldn’t stop third downs or Bills quarterback Josh Allen’s escape act with zero sacks.
Washington lost to a better team that has Super Bowl aspirations. Now they visit the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and face another team with Super Bowl hopes. Suddenly, 2-2 is staring hard at them.
Not that it’s unexpected. Washington is a slightly-better-than-average team. They have enough talent to contend, but enough weaknesses to exploit.
It started with Howell. Again, he held the ball too long, causing five of the nine sacks himself, and threw four interceptions. His mechanics melted down. There was no saving him after things went bad. He couldn’t find a way out of a nightmarish game.
Oddly, it wasn’t that the offense regularly stalled. The running game was decent. Mistakes simply ruined the day.
With 10 minutes left, Commanders coach Ron Rivera should have thrown a white flag, and removed Howell to avoid further humiliation. Commanders fans had long left, leaving the stadium 70 percent filled with Buffalo backers. It looked like so many of the bad beatdowns Washington has suffered since moving to Landover in 1997, with only visitors staying to relish seeing their team’s win.
There is nothing to salvage from such a loss. No individual performances to build upon or bright moments of success. It was all bad. All of it.
So how does Washington regroup to avoid another butt kicking by Philadelphia? Forget the Bills loss. Burn the tape. There’s nothing to learn from it.
Figure on a quick-strike offense against the Eagles. Win the coin toss, take the ball and try to dictate the game with an early touchdown. Washington-Philadelphia games are usually the season’s strangest games, so maybe the Commanders can regain their dignity after a disgraceful effort that many critics predicted.
Otherwise, it’s another bad loss.