Friday, September 29, 2023

Washington Commanders Week 4 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 4 roundup for the Washington Commanders in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 17

Biggest issue on offense: Pass protection

Sam Howell has been sacked an NFL-high 19 times -- six more than any other quarterback. He's been pressured on 36.6% of his passes, fifth highest -- this despite being blitzed only 20.3% of the time, second lowest. After a nine-sack game, Bills defenders said they noticed he holds the ball too long at times. But it extends beyond that: The line has not protected him well enough; he's getting hit after he throws too often. Other times it's a slower developing play that leads to trouble with no receiver open or looking back before he's sacked. -- John Keim -- Rank: 22

It was surprising to see Sam Howell force as many bad passes and take as many sacks as he did against Buffalo, even taking into account his lack of experience (and knowing the biggest knock on him coming out of North Carolina was that he needed to feel pressure better). He straight up held onto the ball for ages on a few of his nine sacks Sunday, and while two of the four picks came with Washington facing a big deficit, this was as poorly as we've seen Howell play. It also should be concerning that both lines of scrimmage were owned by the Bills. Buffalo dominating Washington's O-line wasn't a shock. As for the Commanders' defensive line, though, Montez Sweat, Jonathan Allen and Chase Young generated some pressure, but it certainly wasn't enough to turn the game in Washington's favor.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 15

Was that loss to the Bills who the Commanders really are as a team? Sam Howell looked bad, throwing four picks and getting sacked nine times. Not a good sign.

USA Today -- Rank: 25

They — namely QB Sam Howell (4 INTs) — got exposed in a 37-3 rout by Buffalo ... but at least they staved off the first shutout of the Ron Rivera era with a last-minute field goal. Yawn.

The Athletic -- Rank: 20

QB confidence rating: 3

The wheels came flying off the Sam Howell bandwagon Sunday. The fifth-round pick was 11th in the league in passing yards through two weeks (501). He had three touchdowns and one interception, and the Commanders were 2-0. Then Howell threw four interceptions against the Bills. Only five quarterbacks have thrown that many this season (and two of those are Justin Fields and Zach Wilson). Howell has been pressured on a league-high 15.4 percent of his dropbacks, but plenty of that is on him for holding the ball too long.

FOX -- Rank: 21

Is it even fair to call that a measuring stick game? It felt more like the Commanders weren't tall enough to go on the ride. There's still plenty of reason for good vibes in Washington, but a 37-3 beatdown is a not-so-gentle reminder of the difference between fun stories and true contenders.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 16

Sacks are often blamed on the offensive line, but it's at least as much of a quarterback stat. Sam Howell has taken 19 sacks, six more than any other quarterback, this season. He's on pace to shatter the record of 76, set by David Carr in 2002. Howell does some good things, but if he can't figure out how to process and get rid of the ball quicker, he's not going to make it as a starter in the NFL.

PFT -- Rank: 16

"That boy is an I-N-T."

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