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Commanders Vs Vikings: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

By Mark Solway | November 7th, 2022

The winning streak is over. Washington blew a fourth quarter 10-point lead on Sunday, and fell to the Minnesota Vikings 20-17 in a heartbreaker. Minnesota’s Greg Joseph kicked a go-ahead 28-yard field goal with just 12 seconds left to go. The win put Minnesota at 7-1 for the season, while the Commanders fell to 4-5.

To add a little further salt to the wound, Kirk Cousins got the win in his first game back at Fed Ex Field. He finished 20 of 40 for 265 yards, with TD passes to Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook.

It was a tough loss for the Commanders who had won their last three games.

Who was or wasn’t responsible?

The Good

Daron Payne And Jonathan Allen

The gruesome twosome. Game in and game out, these two come to play. Game in and game out, they are usually the two best players.

It must kill them to see a game slip away like it did on Sunday.

Payne had one sack and another quarterback hit / hurry. Allen had four quarterback hit / hurries. Even that doesn’t tell the full story. One or both of these two behemoth tackles were in the backfield causing havoc on nearly every play.

Allen already got paid, and Payne needs to. It would be a tremendous mistake to let him go. Franchise tag him if you have to. That can run a short term course if not careful – but don’t let this guy depart via free agency no matter what.

There hasn’t been a combination of defensive tackles of this caliber in D.C., since Darryl Grant and the recently passed Dave Butz.

The Bad

Taylor Heinicke

There’s lots to love about the kid, but he was not on his game on Sunday.

He was an anaemic 15 of 28 for just 149 yards. He also missed on 11 of 26 targets, which is almost half the time. It’s tough to win games with that kind of ratio.

And of course, there was the interception. Not only did it come at a terrible time, but there were two receivers wide open on the play. Heinicke overthrew his target in the middle of the field, and Harrison Smith nabbed an interception for the third straight game.

It only took two plays for the Vikings to capitalize on the mistake, and tie the game at 17-17.

The NFL is an unforgivable terrain. It only takes one fall to go from the penthouse to the doghouse. Or so it seems with Heinicke.

Fans are already clamoring for unproven rookie Sam Howell, despite Heinicke posting two straight wins and having everything to do with those two wins.

The Ugly

Scott Turner

What a gong show the play calling was on Sunday. It’s hard to even put it all into words. Antonio Gibson and Brian Robinson combined for 24 carries. Considering the multitude of offensive weapons the Vikings have, keeping their offense off the field with ball control would seem a sound gameplan. Pound the rock, eat clock. Turner obviously had other ideas.

And there were other travesties.

Passing the ball on a 4th and 1? Gibson and Robinson were both effective on that very same drive. Why not put the ball in their capable hands? Why run that risk with a backup quarterback who is not having his best outing?

Perhaps the coup de grace though, was just the play selection in the fourth quarter.

Up by a touchdown and Turner STILL keeps calling pass plays instead of running the ball. At that stage of the game – up by ten – it doesn’t even matter if you move the ball. Just drain the clock as much as you can on every possession. Punt the ball and let the defense do its job.

Instead, Heinicke ends up throwing the aforementioned interception, and gave every drop of momentum to Minnesota.

Turner might not be the one who ultimately made the mistakes, but he’s the one who put players in a position to make them. For that reason, he gets this week’s ugly tag.

Up next

On to the next one. They don’t get any easier.

The undefeated Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football are up next.

Buckle in.

Categories Posted In | Game Day | Washington Commanders |