The Washington Commanders are currently off to a rough start. At 1-3, they are last in what looks to be a much improved NFC East.
Through the first four games, they have faced a fair share of struggles on both sides of the ball. The Commanders are currently averaging just 18.3 points per game, while their opponents are averaging 26.8.
On the ground, the Commander’s defense has been solid. They have allowed just one touchdown and 448 rushing yards on 101 total attempts.
But the defense has struggled to be as effective through the air. They have allowed 1,039 passing yards, ten touchdowns, and have recorded just one interception. Even with a pass rush full of elite talent, they have recorded just nine total sacks.
The offense, led by veteran quarterback Carson Wentz, has failed to play at the level that many hoped they would. Wentz has thrown for 1,031 yards and eight touchdowns. But he has also recorded five interceptions.
After a hot start on the ground, the Commanders seem to have been stopped in their tracks. Antonio Gibson is the team’s leading rusher with 173 yards on 53 carries. He is currently averaging 3.3 yards per carry.
Many of the Commander’s problems on offense are rooted in a struggling offensive line. Wentz has been sacked 17 times. In Week 3 versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Wentz was sacked a total of nine times.
At this point, the offense is consistently playing from behind. This has forced them to look away from the run game, making this a very pass-heavy unit.
But amid their struggles, the Commanders have found a nice surprise on their offense. And he could prove to be an integral piece of this team for the foreseeable future.
The biggest surprise of the Commanders season so far
As noted, the Commanders have been forced to play from behind in nearly all of their games. Wentz has in turn thrown the ball 172 times. This has led to his receiving core needing to step up. At the moment, six different Commanders have surpassed 100 receiving yards on the season.
Heading into the regular season, many anticipated that Terry McLaurin could be headed towards an all-out takeover. That hasn’t been the case just yet, as McLaurin has accounted for 250 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown on 14 total receptions.
Curtis Samuel has emerged as the team’s current go-to pass-catcher. Samuel has been targeted 37 times, recording 26 receptions for 219 receiving yards and two touchdowns. But even with his success, one other wide receiver has shocked many around the NFL.
Rookie wide receiver Jahan Dotson appears to be headed towards stardom for this Commander’s offense. And he appears to be everything that the team hoped for when they selected him with the 16th overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
Through the team’s first four games, Wentz has targeted Dotson 22 times, which is the fourth most on the team. In turn, Dotson has recorded 12 receptions for 152 receiving yards. He is currently averaging 12.7 yards per reception.
While his receptions and yardage don’t jump off the paper, Dotson leads the Commanders in one important stat. He currently has four receiving touchdowns, which is more than any other player on the team. He has taken a third of his receptions and turned them into points.
In an offense that has struggled to score, Dotson has become a reliable option to find the endzone.
While Dotson may not be able to continue to reach the end zone at this rate, it could be worth keeping an eye on. The former Penn State receiver seems to be a vital piece of this offense already. And his success has surely been a surprise when looking at the other wide receivers that he is playing alongside.