Commanders’ blowout loss to Dolphins exhibits it’s ‘too late for progress’ – eastpowernews

The Washington Commanders fired their defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach and had a plan to simplify components of their protection so younger gamers might play quicker. They hoped issues can be higher. Completely different. Not less than not the identical end result as after they gave up 400-plus yards and 45 factors to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving.

Sunday ended any phantasm that these Commanders are something however a staff trudging to the end line of a misplaced season. In entrance of a sellout crowd at FedEx Area, Washington fell into an early 17-point gap towards the Miami Dolphins and by no means recovered, giving up 406 yards in a 45-15 loss. The defeat was Washington’s fourth in as many weeks and its sixth up to now seven video games. It ensured the staff would enter its bye week in a tailspin and with few choices to reverse course.

The Commanders (4-9) aren’t formally out of rivalry for a wild-card spot, however they’ve created little confidence they’ll flip issues round over their final 4 video games. Washington’s solely assure now’s ending one more season with out a profitable document.

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Coach Ron Rivera, calling defensive performs for the primary time since 2019, hoped some tweaks might at the least cease the bleeding this week. The protection has relied on youthful gamers to step into larger roles due to accidents, so he trimmed the playbook to get rid of a number of the checks and zone-match rules in protection that may journey them up. He additionally made changes up entrance to attempt to generate extra stress and shuffled the teaching employees to fill the void.

But the Commanders made lots of the identical errors and paid for them simply as enormously. Missed assignments, missed tackles and missed alternatives.

“You’ll be able to’t try this,” Rivera stated. “You simply can’t try this on this league, particularly towards actually good groups.”

Washington had allowed a league-high 98 explosive performs (16 or extra yards passing, 12 or extra yards dashing) to opponents earlier than Sunday. The Dolphins wanted solely three performs to get No. 99 — after which racked up eight extra explosive performs all through the sport.

On Miami’s first third down of the day, speedy vast receiver Tyreek Hill beat rookie defensive again Quan Martin for a 78-yard landing catch, setting a transparent tone for the rest of the sport. Hill lined up within the slot and shook Martin on the line of scrimmage, leaving him stumbling out of the blocks as he turned in protection. Martin trailed from two yards again, alongside Kam Curl, his security assist excessive, as Hill sprinted into the top zone.

“These guys are nice at what they do, they usually additionally receives a commission,” Hill stated. “However sooner or later it’s like, man. I don’t know, man. I simply recognize it. Thanks for not respecting me, I assume.”

They did not respect him once more within the second quarter.

On third and 7 from Miami’s 40-yard line, Hill bought a working begin with a movement to the skin, then turned on the burners to blow by cornerback Kendall Fuller and catch a 60-yard landing go.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa obtained stress from a double blitz on the left facet of the road, so he launched a deep ball downfield in Hill’s course. Hill corrected his route and adopted the ball, guiding it to the top zone. Not a single burgundy jersey stood in his means.

If Hill have been Miami’s lone offensive menace, perhaps Washington might have been aggressive.

However the Dolphins are loaded, they usually have a coach in Mike McDaniel who is aware of get his finest gamers the ball — and sometimes. Alongside Hill — who had 157 receiving yards, 30 greater than Washington’s total receiving corps — is wideout Jaylen Waddle, who’s on tempo to high 1,000 yards. Then there are Raheem Mostert, one of many NFL’s main rushers, and dynamic rookie again De’Von Achane, who mixed for 154 scrimmage yards and three dashing touchdowns in Miami’s win.

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“I feel it’s powerful for his or her security in that occasion when you may have guys like Tyreek, guys like Jaylen, who’ve one-on-ones, and you then put a ’backer on the market with De’Von,” stated Tagovailoa, who accomplished 18 of 24 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and a 141.0 passer ranking. “I imply, I don’t know what you’ll anticipate them to do. For those who anticipate them to cowl Tyreek’s facet, then we’re going to throw to De’Von. I imply, we favored our matchups, however it undoubtedly is hard whenever you go man throughout the board and it’s press towards actually quick guys like that.”

And if Miami’s offense have been the lone downside, perhaps Washington might’ve eked out a win.

However the Dolphins’ protection stifled the Commanders’ passing recreation, sacking Howell 3 times and limiting him to 12-for-23 passing for 127 yards. Within the last minute of the primary quarter, after Miami had jumped to a fast 10-0 lead, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel intercepted Howell and ran it again 33 yards for one more landing.

Howell, who has thrown a pick-six in three consecutive video games, nonetheless flashed his potential and resilience, albeit inconsistently. On Washington’s ensuing drive after his interception, he discovered Curtis Samuel for a 33-yard completion, then punched it in the long run zone with a one-yard run after two tries by the offense failed. Within the third quarter, Howell had his most interesting play of the day when he scrambled on fourth and three for a 13-yard landing.

However the troubles overshadowed the few brilliant spots. Among the many larger issues was how little consideration the offense paid to vast receiver Terry McLaurin. For less than the second time in his profession, McLaurin was catchless. He was focused solely 3 times.

“Nah, I ran a number of cardio,” he stated when requested if he was annoyed by his minimal involvement. “It occurs. It comes with it when it’s powerful. Yeah, it’s irritating, however I’m going to maintain coming in and practising and enjoying arduous.”

Within the locker room after the sport, the strain was palpable as veterans expressed frustration over not simply Sunday’s loss but additionally the staff’s failed makes an attempt to enhance yr after yr.

“Yeah, I’ve been coping with this for seven years,” defensive deal with Jonathan Allen stated. “I’m uninterested in attempting to construct character. My character has been constructed up sufficient. I’m attempting to win.”

Added Samuel: “It sucks to lose and to lose like that. We bought a lot expertise, and we all know that. But when we’re not going on the market and exhibiting everyone, we’re simply speaking about it.”

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All through the season, Rivera has preached progress and growth, noting the progress of Howell and his potential to grow to be a viable long-term possibility at quarterback. Rivera has cited the change in system with Eric Bieniemy as offensive coordinator and the elevated enjoying time of his youngest gamers on protection. However after 4 consecutive losses, together with a pair of blowouts, the notion of any such progress has misplaced some credibility, a actuality even Rivera acknowledged.

“You’ll be able to’t do the issues we did and anticipate to win,” he stated.

With an upcoming bye, Washington’s hope now’s that with relaxation and a renewed focus, it will possibly attempt to give the speak of progress some legitimacy within the last 4 video games. However what little is left of the season feels virtually misplaced.

“Actually, I’d say it feels like phrases,” working again Antonio Gibson stated of the staff’s discussions of progress. “We maintain saying that, however … it’s too late for progress proper now, I really feel like.”

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