At points during the 2022 NFL season, the Washington Commanders looked like they would return to the playoffs. Heading into December, they were 7-5 and had won six of their last seven, including a massive upset over the then-undefeated Philadelphia Eagles. They weren’t one of the league’s elite teams, but they were playing well enough to make the playoffs.
Then the wheels fell off and Washington collapsed down the home stretch. The Commanders tied with the New York Giants in Week 13, then lost three straight games following their Week 14 bye to fall out of the playoff picture. They won their season finale against the Dallas Cowboys, but it was far too little and far too late.
It goes without saying that this is a very disappointing year for Washington, especially down the stretch. While some players like Daron Payne and Terry McLaurin had strong seasons, the bad outweighed the good. Today, we’re going to be ranking the three most disappointing Commanders from this season.
While we could go on and on about Washington’s disappointments off the field with owner Dan Snyder (is it really a disappointment if it’s predictable?). However, we’re going to limit this list to just the players on the field.
With that said, here are the three most disappointing Commanders from the 2022 NFL season.
3. Chase Young’s delayed return
In Week 10 of the 2021 season, Washington defeated Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a massive upset to give its season new life. That victory came at a cost, though, as star defensive end Chase Young tore his ACL during the game. He obviously missed the rest of the season with the injury, but the type of surgery he had extended the recovery time into the 2022 season.
Still, few expected Young to be out as long as he was. He made his season debut against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 16, giving him just three games this season. In those three games, Young played sparingly and recorded just five tackles with no sacks.
To be clear, no one should fault Young for those low stats, or the Commanders for being cautious with him. Coming back from an ACL tear is a major hurdle and needs to be done carefully to avoid further damage. That said, Young not returning until the end of the season is certainly a major disappointment for the Commanders and their franchise player.
2. Antonio Gibson
To be fair to Antonio Gibson, he had the tough task of transitioning into a new role this season. Washington drafted Brian Robinson to be the new top back, which forced Gibson into more of a third-down, receiving back type of role. That type of adjustment isn’t easy, and Gibson showed why this year.
Gibson finished the season with a career-low 546 yards and three touchdowns rushing. He set a career-high in receiving yards with 353, as well as two receiving touchdowns, but his overall production still took a noticeable dip. In 15 games this season, Gibson averaged just 59.9 scrimmage yards per game, and his five total touchdowns are just half of what he scored last year.
Gibson also played through a foot fracture during the later part of the season, which also explains his lower production. Hopefully, for the Commanders, Gibson recovers well from his injury and comes back better next season.
1. Carson Wentz
The 2022 season may have been Carson Wentz’s last chance as a starter. After a strong start to his career in Philadelphia, he had a miserable 2020 season that, combined with Jalen Hurts’ arrival, led to the Eagles shipping him off. He then flamed out with the Indianapolis Colts late last season, leading to him landing in Washington this season.
Early on this season, it looked like Wentz had regained some of that lost confidence. He threw for at least 300 yards and three touchdowns each of Washington’s first two games but fell back to Earth after. Then, an injury against the Chicago Bears in Week 6 kept him sidelined for much of the season.
Wentz finally saw playing time again in Week 16, then Ron Rivera made him the starter for Week 17. In a must-win game against the Cleveland Browns, Wentz played terribly with just 143 passing yards and three interceptions. In a story that’s all too familiar to Colts fans, that loss ended up eliminating the Commanders from the playoffs.
Now with three subpar seasons in a row, it seems unlikely that Wentz will ever return to his peak form. Washington acquired him hoping that he could stabilize the quarterback position, and now there are more quarterback questions than ever.