“It’s extremely tough because this one hurts a lot," second-year wide receiver Jahan Dotson said Sunday following the 31-19 loss to the New York Giants. "You never know where you could be at the end of the season, but hurting ourselves like this against teams that I feel like we should be beat is tough.”
The Commanders have dropped the past three games they've been favored to win: twice to the Giants, who are in last place in the NFC East, and once at home to the Bears. They're 10 1/2-point underdogs on FanDuel Sportsbook for the Cowboys' annual Thanksgiving Day home game.
Veteran tight end Logan Thomas, who had one of Washington's three fumbles lost in the latest loss to the Giants, said it was nice to move on quickly. But that's the only positive.
“Nobody’s body is ready to go on Thursday,” Thomas said. “Everybody’s hurting. Dallas is gonna be sore, too, so there’s no pity from anybody."
The Commanders sacked Tommy DeVito nine times, one shy of the franchise record. Five sacks were the most in a first quarter in franchise history.
They became the first team since 1984 to get nine or more sacks and still lose by double digits. Linebacker David Mayo had two sacks and rookie K.J. Henry had 1 1/2 after losing what would have been his first in the NFL to a questionable roughing the passer penalty at New England.
“We played good as a D-line — not going to say we played great, but we played good,” said veteran defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who had 1 1/2 sacks. “Some of the younger guys are really starting to step into their roles and make plays for us, and now we’ve got to keep going and roll with them.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Losing the turnover margin 6-0 is obvious. Giving up plays of 40, 36, 31, 26, 24, 21 and 21 yards also is not a winning recipe.
Washington has allowed 52 plays of 20-plus yards this season.
“We can’t allow those type of explosive plays,” Rivera said. "There are things that we have to look at. We have to just continue to discuss it and go from there.”
Running back Brian Robinson Jr. continues to show he can be as good at catching the ball out of the backfield as he is running with it. He had a team-leading seven catches for 58 yards (tied with Thomas) to go along with 17 carries for 73.
Robinson has been responsible for 288 yards from scrimmage over the past two games alone.
Sam Howell did not look like the team's long-term answer at quarterback, throwing three interceptions, including one in the final minute that Isaiah Simmons returned 54 yards for the game-sealing touchdown.
Rivera said Howell “had his moments” while acknowledging the turnovers cannot continue to happen. The second-year pro, who still leads the league in passing yards with 3,038, took responsibility for his mistakes.
“I got to do a better job taking care of the football,” Howell said. “No matter who you’re playing in the NFL, if you turn the ball over that many times, you’re not going to win.”
Defensive end Efe Obada is almost certainly out for the season after being carted off with a right leg injury. With pass rusher James Smith-Williams also nursing a hamstring injury and after trading away Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the Commanders could be looking for help off the edge.
On the positive side, linebacker Cody Barton appears close to returning following a high ankle sprain. The team opened his 21-day practice window Monday.
51 — Number of times Howell has been sacked this season after four more against the Giants. That's by far the most of anyone in the league. The Cowboys are tied for the fifth-most sacks with 34.
Try to bounce back quickly at Dallas before a long break precedes another tough challenge, with the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins coming to FedEx Field on Dec. 3.
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