The game headlined by a quarterback change rather than the widely anticipated 37-20 loss result.
After back-to-back Washington possessions ended with a Taylor Heinicke turnover, Ron Rivera stepped in and put Heinicke on the bench in place of Carson Wentz.
This move may sound surprising, but it shouldn’t be. Rivera said he was considering a move to Wentz for last week’s game against the Giants and he’s not afraid to make the move.
Heinicke played very well in the first half against the Niners, throwing for 89 yards and a touchdown. He kept the drive going with impressive throws on a string of third downs. The struggle continued in the second half as a hole in the attacking line created a lot of pressure and that pressure forced Heinicke to spit the ball out.
The NFL, like most things, often comes down to money. The Commanders are paying Wentz about $30 million this season. Heinicke accounts for about 10% of that. Ultimately, the team needs to see what the highly paid guy can do on the field.
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Wentz has the bigger arm and will probably start the rest of the season. It remains to be seen what that will do as the commanders stick to their playoff positioning.
- heating – Jahan Dotsson got his rookie season off to a good start, catching two touchdown passes in the season opener and totaling four touchdowns in his first four games. He then injured his hamstring and sat on the bench for over a month. When he returned, Carson Wentz was an afterthought and Taylor Heinicke was QB. It took Heinicke and Dotson some time to get the chemistry going, but now it’s working. Dotson did well against San Francisco, having six catches and 76 yards in one touchdown.
- still a man – Terry McLoughlin showed the world why he became a Pro Bowler with two catches in the third quarter. First, his shot 51 yards deep from Heinicke was well-thrown, and McLoughlin made an incredible one-handed catch as he was down. A few plays later, after the play collapsed, McLoughlin streaked towards Heinicke and the QB gave his stud WR a chance and there was a score. McLoughlin finished with four catches for 77 yards and a TD.
- big step – Despite being perfectly healthy, there were a lot of crazy people who said the Commander should rest Chase Young for the entire season. Young played against the 49ers and played well. He displayed his speed and athleticism in the first-half tackles when Christian McCaffrey escaped from Young and was taken down by a backside pursuit. In the third quarter, Young showed his cleverness on screen with his play. San Francisco tackle Trent Williams gave Young a free rush to QB, but Young realized what was going on, stayed home, and stopped the 49ers’ screen pass. Great news that Washington’s most talented athlete is back on the field after a major knee injury.
- Play number games – Washington’s defeat hurts, but it really doesn’t. Washington finished his race in the NFC playoffs as the Giants, Lions, and Seahawks all lost, leaving him in seventh place. The season ends today and if it doesn’t, Washington will be in the playoffs even after losing.
- Beware of aggressive driving – Ron Rivera must have had a layover in Las Vegas on his way to California. Commander’s superiors pressed the gas on seemingly all the close decisions, but by and large they didn’t work. was In the third quarter, Rivera again packed in with his fourth and shortstop. The 49ers scored after both of these decisions. People want riverboats, but remember, rivers fight back.
- deep problem – Washington’s second level was set ablaze in this game. The Commanders’ defense suffered without the all-around playmaking safety-cam curl. Washington gave up big plays in the air to George Kittle and Brandon Ayuk and gave up a 71-yard touchdown run to Gadgetguy Rayleigh MacLeod. For Washington, he often seemed confused at the deepest levels of defense, which is never a good thing.
- Please sit down – Heinicke played pretty well for most of the afternoon, but once on the bench, he lands in the stock down column. That’s the rule.
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