Fail: Jack Del Rio’s defense
Washington kept Seattle’s offense mostly in check, at least on the scoreboard, for three quarters before things completely unraveled in the final 15 minutes. The Seahawks, who snapped their streak of four consecutive games with multiple turnovers, moved the ball at will against the Commanders in the fourth quarter. Fox play-by-play man Kevin Kugler noted that Pete Carroll’s squad came into the game with nine drives of 10 plays or more all season, and had four such possessions against Washington. All of them resulted in points. Seattle demonstrated its quick-strike ability, too, with running back Kenneth Walker III’s 64-yard touchdown catch giving the Seahawks their first lead of the game in the third quarter. The Commanders were helpless in stopping a seven-play, 50-yard drive in the final minute that set up Jason Myers’s walk-off field goal. Washington allowed a season-high 489 total yards.
Despite big days from Seattle’s DK Metcalf (98 yards) and Tyler Lockett (92 yards), Robinson was the game’s unlikely leading receiver. The second-year pro finished with six catches for 119 yards, the most by a Washington running back since Chris Thompson had six receptions for 150 yards in a 2017 win over the Raiders. Robinson’s 51-yard first-quarter touchdown catch was the Commanders’ longest play from scrimmage this season. He added a 48-yard catch on virtually the same play to set up a Joey Slye field goal in the third quarter. Robinson, who nearly tripled his previous career-high of 42 receiving yards, finished with as many catches as Washington wide receivers McLaurin (4), Curtis Samuel (2) and Jahan Dotson (0) combined.
Sunday marked the second time this season — and the 10th time in franchise history — that the Commanders attempted at least 44 passes and rushed 14 or fewer times, according to Stathead. Washington is 0-10 in those games, including its 40-20 home loss to the Bears in October. Washington offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy’s apparent lack of interest in attempting to establish the run — the Commanders had five carries and 21 pass attempts in the first half — was surprising given that Seattle’s rushing defense was searching for answers after allowing 298 yards on the ground to the Ravens last week. Robinson finished with eight carries for 38 yards, including 27 on consecutive plays that sparked a fourth-quarter touchdown drive.
Camaron Cheeseman’s long-snapping issues returned Sunday, and they might’ve cost Washington on multiple plays if not for its sure-handed punter. “I’m not concerned,” Commanders Coach Ron Rivera said of Cheeseman’s struggles after watching Joey Slye miss his first extra point of the season following Washington’s first touchdown. “We got it straightened out at the end when it mattered.” In addition to snagging Cheeseman’s errant snaps in the rain, Way, the reigning NFC special teams player of the week, had two punts downed inside the 20.
For the second consecutive game, Washington found itself on the wrong end of a controversial call that officials attempted to explain afterward. Last week, it was KJ Henry’s roughing-the-passer penalty against the Patriots. On Sunday, it was Commanders rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. being ejected for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Lockett in the first quarter. Forbes’s hit, while hardly vicious, warranted a flag for unnecessary roughness, but it was surprising to see a player without a history of dirty plays get tossed. NFL head of officiating Walt Anderson said the league’s replay office in New York determined Forbes made no attempt to play the ball, which led to the decision to disqualify him.
Hail: A potential get-right game
Some potentially good news for the Commanders after a gut-wrenching loss: They get to face the Giants next week. New York defeated Washington, 14-7, in Week 7, but has since lost quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor to injury. Oddsmakers installed the Commanders as early 10-point favorites for the rematch at FedEx Field after Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito, an undrafted rookie, made his first start against the Cowboys on Sunday and was completely overmatched in a 49-17 loss. The Commanders have been a double-digit favorite five times since 2005, most recently in 2017 against the San Francisco 49ers. Washington is 3-2 in those games, and has covered the spread only once.
Fail: Washington’s pass rush
It’s no surprise that the Commanders’ pass-rushing production has taken a hit since the team traded Montez Sweat and Chase Young. Still, operating from the comforts of a cozy pocket, Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith consistently had enough time to order a Starbucks and listen to most of Nirvana’s “Endless, Nameless” while searching for open receivers downfield. Despite a shaky first half, Smith threw for a career-high 369 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Jonathan Allen registered Washington’s first and only sack since Sweat and Young were dealt two weeks ago, but the veteran also negated a sack by Daron Payne with a defensive holding penalty late in the first half.