It was a heartbreaking 34-31 Week 4 loss for the Washington Commanders. They took their NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles into overtime before Jake Elliott's 54-yard game-winning field goal stamped out the upset bid. But Washington coach Ron Rivera was impressed by his young quarterback and his ability to bounce back after a rough outing last week.
“Well, first of all, it was a hell of a performance by Sam,” Rivera said in his post-game comments, courtesy of Fox Sports' Ralph Vacchiano. “He bounced back, he learned from last week, he grew and he got better. It was reflected in the way he played, it was reflected in the way he led our offense.”
Howell, in his second NFL season and first serving as the Commanders' starter, was brutal in last week's 37-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He went just 19-for-29 for 170 yards. Howell threw four interceptions and no touchdowns and was sacked an astonishing nine times.
But he displayed a short memory in delivering an impressive performance in the Commanders' losing effort on Sunday. Howell finished the game 29-for-41 for 290 yards and a touchdown. Crucially, he avoided turning the ball over, although he did take another five sacks by Philly's D.
Down seven with 1:43 left to play, Howell drove the offense 64 yards on 10 plays, culminating with a 10-yard touchdown strike to WR Jahan Dotson that helped force overtime. It showed Howell's poise to step up when his team needed him to make plays. Rivera certainly took notice, and was encouraged by the display.
“Lot of positive things that we're gonna take from that. That's a plus.”