The indicators had been there. Before the Commanders period may even formally kick off, visions of the past resurfaced by way of their creaky stadium and advertising and marketing mishaps. But these Commanders, led by new quarterback Carson Wentz and spurred by extensive receivers Curtis Samuel and Jahan Dotson, unveiled a brand new look that went effectively past their identify and uniforms as they rallied past the Jacksonville Jaguars with two touchdowns in the ultimate 10 minutes for a 28-22 victory.
But there have been points on the sector, too. Wentz’s common season Commanders debut seemed very like his coaching camp and preseason: spot-on throws and good reads countered by baffling interceptions, a preventable sack and passes that sailed effectively above the heads of his receivers. He completed 27 for 41 for 313 yards, 4 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Analysis from the season opener
In the primary half, Washington seemed to be a modified crew with an offense that seemed good and environment friendly. Exciting, even.
The Commanders not solely scored twice in the primary half to take a 14-3 halftime lead, they did so with flare, with ankle-breaking jukes and acrobatic catches.
It began late in the primary quarter, when Wentz threw a wonderfully positioned ball to the skin shoulder of operating again Antonio Gibson, who ran a seam route out of the backfield. The 26-yard catch put the Commanders on the Jacksonville 4-yard line, establishing a three-yard landing catch by Samuel two performs later for a 7-3 lead.
Samuel, who missed most of final season due to groin and hamstring accidents, appeared very like the participant he was in 2020 with the Carolina Panthers, showcasing his pace and fast cuts with out limitation. He completed with eight catches for 55 yards and added 4 carries for 17 extra.
Early on, his power was infectious: On Washington’s subsequent sequence — a 14-play, 71-yard drive that bled into the second quarter — Wentz discovered Dotson in the center of the top zone for a seven-yard landing, his first of two on the day. The first-round decide tripped up the defender to realize sufficient separation for his seize close to the purpose publish.
The Commanders’ first half needed to catch even their most die-hard followers without warning. Consider: Last season, Washington punted on its opening drive in its first 4 video games — whereas permitting its opponents to attain touchdowns on theirs. What’s extra: Not since 1991 — eight years earlier than Daniel Snyder purchased the crew — had Washington scored touchdowns on its first two drives of a season.
In the primary half, the Commanders transformed 4 of 5 third-down makes an attempt and held Jacksonville to a 2-for-7 exhibiting — and touchdown-less on three journeys to the pink zone.
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But consistency has by no means been Washington’s forte, so it shouldn’t have been a shock when the Commanders got here unglued in the second half, permitting the Jaguars to attain 19 straight factors for a 22-14 lead.
Despite Wentz’s miscues and the Commanders’ defensive errors — together with missed tackles and breakdowns in protection — Washington was clutch on the finish.
Wentz, who was introduced in for his deep passing potential, hit Terry McLaurin on a go route for a 49-yard landing catch with 9:36 left, bringing a quieted crowd again to life. The two-point conversion failed after Wentz was underneath heavy stress virtually instantly, conserving Jacksonville forward 22-20, however Washington’s protection acquired off the sector rapidly when defensive sort out Daron Payne sacked the Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence on a key third down with a little bit over seven minutes left.
The Commanders then marched 90 yards on 13 performs, together with a 14-yard reception by tight finish Logan Thomas on third down, and capped the surge with a 24-yard landing catch by Dotson. After a two-point seize by J.D. McKissic, Washington had a 28-22 benefit with 1:46 to go.
Jacksonville had loads of time to retake the lead, however second-year security Darrick Forrest ensured the Jaguars wouldn’t go far. He picked off a deep go by a hurried Lawrence on third and 11 with 1:19 remaining to all however seal the victory. Forrest, who began in place of injured security Kam Curl, additionally had a compelled fumble and broke up two passes in the top zone.
His interception was the finale of a wild experience for the Commanders. As he threw up his fingers in celebration, the gang roared — maybe with visions of a brighter future in thoughts.
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