The Washington Commanders are one of the biggest surprises thus far in the 2023 season. They are off to a 2-0 start, defeating the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 before mounting an impressive comeback against the Denver Broncos on the road in Week 2.
It was a truly shocking turn of events on Sunday afternoon as the Commanders looked lost on offense in the first half. They gained only 90 yards on their first 20 plays from scrimmage and managed three points while Denver took a 21-3 lead.
But, near the end of the first half, something began to click. Sam Howell led the Commanders on a nine-play, 49-yard touchdown drive to cut the deficit to 11. That was the spark the team needed to get rolling, as Howell and the offense were on fire after that.
That kicked off a stretch in which Washington scored on five out of six possessions. The only time they didn’t was when Joey Slye missed a 59-yard field goal attempt; it was his second miss of the day as he failed to connect from 49 on the opening drive of the game. Both attempts missed wide right.
In the end, it didn’t hurt the Commanders as they escaped Denver with a 35-33 victory. In the process, the team made some history. This was Howell’s third start with the Commanders and he has come away victorious in each one.
According to NFL research, Howell has accomplished something that hasn’t been done in a very long time by a Washington quarterback. He is the first player since 1950 to win their first three career starts.
In the 2022 regular-season finale, Howell got the starting nod and helped the team defeat the Dallas Cowboys. The presence of the offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has paid dividends as Howell has looked poised and produced despite an underwhelming offensive line blocking for him.
Howell and the Commanders will face a stiff test next week to keep the winning streak alive. They will be hosting the Buffalo Bills in Week 3, who 1-1- and coming off a dominating victory over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 2.