The Washington Commanders' Week 3 matchup against the Buffalo Bills ended in a devastating loss, 37-3, leaving fans and analysts searching for answers. The Commanders struggled in all aspects of the game, failing to find any rhythm or momentum. In this article, we will examine four key individuals who played a significant role in the Commanders' massive blowout loss, highlighting their shortcomings and the impact they had on the game.
The Commanders' Massive Week 3 Blowout Loss
If you believed that this team had a legitimate chance at contending after securing two come-from-behind victories against winless opponents, you were in for a rude awakening.
The Bills decisively demonstrated to the Commanders and their newly invigorated fanbase that they have a significant journey ahead before they can be considered a serious threat to the league's top teams.
Buffalo showcased their dominance across all three phases of the game. They handed the Commanders their first home loss of the season, witnessed by numerous esteemed alumni. This loss ranks among the most humiliating during Ron Rivera's tenure. It could have been even worse if the Bills hadn't eased off the gas pedal in the fourth quarter.
Here we will look at the four Washington Commanders to blame for their massive Week 3 blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills.
1. Sam Howell
Washington QB Sam Howell's performance on Sunday was nothing short of dismal. He endured numerous sacks, a recurring issue, and turned the ball over four times. Considering this was only his fourth NFL start, such struggles were somewhat expected. Throughout the game, Howell found himself under constant pressure. This was partly due to his own indecisiveness and at times due to issues with the offensive line. Each of his four interceptions stemmed from poor decisions. While one interception resulted from being hit during the throw, it was still quite unfortunate.
This was arguably Sam's worst day possible, with his performance deteriorating as the game progressed and the pressure continued to mount. He concluded the game with statistics of 19 completions out of 29 attempts, 170 yards, and four interceptions, while also suffering nine sacks. It was a forgettable day for Howell, and how he rebounds will provide valuable insights into the Commanders' faith in their young quarterback.
Horrible, just HORRIBLE decision here by Howell 🤦♂️ pic.twitter.com/WfNHPl5JYH
— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) September 24, 2023
2. Commanders Offensive Line
Right tackle Andrew Wylie remains a weak link in Washington's offensive line. Wylie allowed multiple pressures during Sunday's game. At times, he even failed to touch the edge defender before they reached the quarterback. Although Wylie performed well as a right tackle in the playoffs, the prevailing belief was that he excelled at guard. However, Washington signed him to play as a tackle. At this point, turning to longtime backup Cornelius Lucas may be the right course of action.
Yes, Wylie stood out as the primary culprit for struggling against Buffalo's edge rushers. However, it's important to note that when a team concedes nine sacks and faces pressure on 80 percent of their drop-backs, the entire offensive line unit bears responsibility.
3. Ron Rivera
Head coach Ron Rivera referred to Sunday's game as a measuring stick for his 2-0 Commanders. Interestingly, he made a similar statement two years ago when Washington faced Buffalo, resulting in a 22-point loss. However, this time around, the outcome was even more dismal. Rivera emphasized the importance of the game against the Bills, describing them as an elite team and an opportunity to assess Washington's standing. Yet, this marks another instance in Rivera's four-year tenure where he hyped the significance of a game, only for his team to falter. While the Bills are indeed an elite team, the Commanders appeared outclassed on the field.
In light of Sunday's game, Rivera should have a clearer understanding of where the Commanders currently stand. For sure, that's a significant distance from the league's top echelons.
The decision to enter the season with the existing offensive line or to trust Andrew Wylie to handle Buffalo's EDGE rushers in isolation both warrant scrutiny. Furthermore, the much-anticipated Commanders' defensive front failed to register a single sack, making life considerably easier for Josh Allen and his teammates.
4. Commanders Defensive Line
Speaking of that d-line, Bills QB Josh Allen dropped back to pass 32 times, yet Washington failed to sack him even once. Moreover, they managed to hit Allen only once. This raises questions about which defensive linemen Washington should invest in. Although the Commanders have already secured contracts for two key players, their performance in high-stakes games against elite teams needs to be more impactful. Montez Sweat and Chase Young, both free agents in 2024, are likely to command substantial contracts. When facing top-tier opponents, particularly those with uncertain offensive lines, the defensive line must deliver more.
Sure, the defensive line isn't the primary reason for the Commanders' loss. Still, their lack of influence would have been more conspicuous if the game had been closer. It's worth noting that the match was still within reach at the start of the fourth quarter.
The Washington Commanders' massive blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 was a result of several key individuals' shortcomings. Sam Howell's poor performance, coach Ron Rivera's play-calling, and the Commanders' linemen on both ends all played a significant role in the Commanders' defeat. Moving forward, the team must address these issues and make the necessary changes to ensure that they are better prepared for future matchups.