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Washington Commanders disastrous Week 2 loss tells us a lot about Ron Rivera’s club

Vincent Frank

The Washington Commanders entered Sunday’s Week 2 action against the Detroit Lions riding a high following their season-opening win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Carson Wentz threw four touchdowns in said win. Despite his two interceptions, the embattled signal caller looked every bit the part in his Commanders regular-season debut.

Could Washington get off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2011? Almost immediately, the belief that Washington had turned the corner under head coach Ron Rivera was thrown out the window.

Washington tallied a total of 39 yards in the first half alone. Its offense actually scored more points for the Lions than itself after Wentz lost a fumble in the end zone for a safety. At that point, the Commanders found themselves down 5-0. They would ultimately be trailing by the score of 22-0 at the half.

Wentz and Co. did make a game of it by scoring 27 points in the second half. But it was not enough to overcome that disastrous start with the Commanders losing by the score of 36-27 after Joey Slye missed an extra point with Washington down by nine late in the fourth quarter.

Related: Washington Commanders schedule and game-by-game predictions

Washington Commanders offensive line struggles in pass protection

NFL: Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions
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Offensive tackles Charles Leno and Sam Cosmi were downright pathetic in pass protection in front of Wentz Sunday afternoon. Detroit rookie No. 2 pick Aidan Hutchinson had three first-half sacks alone. All said, the Lions registered nine quarterback hits and four sacks of Wentz. It was downright humiliating.

You can’t let the defensive line get a push like that on a consistent basis and expect an immobile Wentz to do his thing down the field. That is not on the quarterback. Period.

It’s not like the Commanders’ offensive line was better in run-blocking, either. Wentz, Curtis Samuel and Terry McLaurin combined for 51 yards on the ground. Washington’s healthy running backs had 37 rushing yards on 17 attempts. That’s just not going to cut it.

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Washington Commanders defense comes up empty

NFL: Washington Commanders at Detroit Lions
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Lions quarterback Jared Goff put up his best single-game performance since the former No. 1 pick was a member of the Los Angeles Rams all the way back in 2018. He picked apart Washington’s defense in pretty much every imaginable way.

Questionable heading into this one, Lions running back D’Andre Swift went for 87 total yards on just seven touches. Stud wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown made minced-meat of the Commanders defense with 116 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches. He also added 68 yards on two rush attempts. Coverage aganst him on the back end was just atrocious. Missed assignments also played a role here.

Ron Rivera just didn’t have the Washington Commanders ready to play

NFL: Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders
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You can blame the offensive line and a lack of a running game. Washington’s defense also yielded 425 total yards. That’s fine. But the one common denominator here was Rivera’s inability to get Washington to play early on.

Down 22-0 at the half, Washington was outgained by a margin of 245-39 in the first two quarters alone. Simply put, the Commanders can’t rely late-game comebacks to be the name of the game this season like we saw Week 1 against Jacksonville. The margin for error just isn’t there. Instead, this team needs to play a full four quarters. Through two games, we have yet to see that. And in reality, it’s on the Commanders’ embattled head coach.