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Washington Trash The Cowboys In The Season Finale

By Mark Solway | January 10th, 2023

With nothing to play for but pride, the Washington Commanders handed the Dallas Cowboys their proverbial behinds in the final game of the 2022 regular season. Washington outclassed the Cowboys 26-6 largely on the strength of a colossal effort from their defense.

In what may very well have been the very last time that the Commanders took the field with Dan Snyder as owner, there wasn’t much to play for. Perhaps that’s fitting given the tumultuous times of the past two decades-plus under Snyder’s thumb. Washington were eliminated from Wild Card contention in Week 17, and no result from them in Week 18 was going to change that.

Given that, the Commanders chose to sit some regulars in lieu of evaluating some talent that had seen little or no playing time this season. That included getting quarterback Sam Howell his first start.

Rookie Debut

Through most of the 2022 season, Howell has held up the adage that many Washington fans seem to always clamor for the quarterback that seems the furthest away from the starting position. Despite being selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, there were no shortage of fans that wanted / demanded that Howell be handed the keys to the shiny car throughout the up-and-down season.

How did he fare in his debut?

Pretty well. It was a bit of a mixed bag if you look at things objectively, but overall, it was a positive start.

His very first NFL pass was a touchdown strike to Terry McLaurin. How can you start any better than that?

Howell completed 11 of his 19 pass attempts for 169 yards. He had two touchdowns – the one to McLaurin, and one on the ground. In fact, he pounded out 35 yards rushing, and ran hard. 

He also threw one interception, which he probably would like to have back. It wasn’t a great decision. That was part of that mixed bag.

Given the circumstances, the North Carolina quarterback had an all-around solid performance though. Washington sat Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson was already sidelined, so the Commanders were deep into the depth chart at running back. That meant Howell wasn’t exactly shielded by a running attack.

“I’m happy we came out here and got a win,” said Howell in his post game interview.

Pretty understated. Given that he was asked about his personal performance and turned it into a response about the team, that’s also one for the ‘win category’. He definitely seems to “get it,” when it comes to his attitude.

Congratulations on your first start young man. Now go work your tail off in the offseason.

De-fense! De-fense!

The Cowboys played all of their starters and were expected to come out and dominate an already-eliminated team. Fortunately for Commanders fans, the Washington defense had other ideas.

Despite being without leader Jonathan Allen, as well as Kamren Curl, Jamin Davis and Benjamin St. Juste, the Commanders defense forced Dallas into TEN 3 and outs. That’s the absolute most in the NFL this season.

Dak Prescott completed just 37 percent of his passes for a paltry 128 yards.

He threw two touchdowns – one to CeeDee Lamb – and the other to Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller. Fuller picked off Prescott at the 29-yard line and took it to the house for the touchdown. Rather miraculously, Fuller appeared to have the opportunity for a pick six in the play right before he did so. In other words, Prescott threw two ducks in a row.

The stiff Washington defense also held Dallas to just 182 yards of total offense. The two-headed backfield of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard managed just 29 yards on FIFTEEN carries.

Salt In The Wound

While the Cowboys finished at 12-5 and earned a playoff date with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they go into the game on a down turn. They obviously intended to roll over Washington and enter the Wild Card weekend on a high.

Instead they mailed in a stinker.

It doesn’t eliminate the sting of a disappointing season for the Commanders, but it does at least put a bit of lipstick on a pig.

Buh-Bye?

As for the Commanders, will it be the end of the Dan Snyder era?

Washington finish with an 8-8-1 record in what was a very up-and-down season.

If it is the end for Snyder, he would finish with a pathetic 164-220-2 win / loss record. That’s a winning percentage of .427, or about the equivalent of a 7-9 or 7-10 season.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Who knows how many changes the 2023 offseason will see?

People seem to think that Ron Rivera will be back because if the Commanders do get a new owner, it will be too late to make wholesale changes. But that’s not set in stone.

It is actually conceivable that Washington replace their owner, their general managers, their president, their coach, their co-ordinators and their quarterback.

And then some.

Buckle in.

 

 

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Categories Posted In | Game Day | Washington Commanders |