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A Few Thoughts from the Commanders Game.....in no particular order

   (1 review)

© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Took the opportunity to go to the Commanders game yesterday, but with that comes limited observations from the seats.  While I would love to give thoughts in the normal fashion, I honestly just didn't have the same vantage point as usual.  With that, expect some questions as I still haven't been able to see a good replay of the game.


1 - Commanders Fans - I've been to quite a few away games and I can honestly say that this felt more like a home Bills game than anywhere else I've visited.  I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that 50% of the fans in attendance supported the Bills.  I decided to take the metro (free parking at $4 total metro fees) and would absolutely recommend it for anyone going to a Commanders game.  What was interesting was that I had to change trains near the old RFK stadium, which is still standing.  Looks haunted, but still there.  All of the fans I spoke too talked about wanting the Commanders to move back to this area.  And in fairness, the location is great.  Also, the Commanders fans didn't seem concerned about a win or loss, but were just happy that Snyder didn't own the team anymore and overall felt they were headed for brighter times.  Once in the game, I had the pleasure to sit behind the only drunk Commanders fan who wanted to stand up almost every play.  Thankfully, that was beaten out of him around halftime.  Once halftime was over, that might have been the quietest crowd I've ever heard.  It was beyond strange.   On the visitors site, I'd say 80% of the fans were Bills fans.  The shout song was sang loudly after every score and there were only Bills fans left with about 8 minutes remaining. 


2 - FedEx Field - I've been a long time critic of this stadium since I first visited over 20 years ago.  However, I will say that they've done some quality work with seat renovations and the upper deck isn't the steep death trap I remember it to be.  However, the covered seats still have huge concrete pillars to block your view if you sit more than 19 rows deep.  As for the atmosphere, that left much to be desired.  In the tunnels, they had about as many TV's as in Buffalo, but only 1 out of 5 of them actually showed the game. I thought the game was at a commercial break until I heard the fans react.  In terms of replays, audio commentary, or just any form of information about the game as it was happening, don't count on much.  It was strange how little information we had during replays, challenges, or penalties. The main ref's mic wasn't working, so that didn't help.  Lastly, they invited over 100 legend Washington Players, but I have no idea why. They marched them on the field at halftime, but then didn't say or do anything to address why they were there.  All of the focus quickly turned to a kid trying to kick a field goal to win a thousand dollars.  Seriously, it was a really awkward halftime for what it was supposed to be.



© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


3 - Gabe Davis - I have to get this one off my chest first.  On the Josh Allen interception, did Gabe not realize the ball was coming his way until it was too late?  For whatever reason, I watched Gabe that entire route.  He either got tripped or pushed out of bounds.  Whatever it was, he seemed to slow down and almost give up on the route.  Then, once he saw that ball was in the air, he tried to play defender but it was too late.  Again, I haven't seen the replay, but I was pissed in the moment that Gabe seemed to just give up once he stumbled a bit, and could have at least made a real play on the ball.  Also, was his drop over the middle as bad as it looked live? Again, no replays at the stadium.


4 - Oh how strange is the story your eyes tell me

And quiet all the new words that you say

So come and hold my hand for you see I'd understand

And remember the only time is now


5 - Dorsey - To me, this was a game score that didn't truly reflect the overall performance within the game.  Most of our offense took over once the Commanders were exhausted.  This felt like a college game where the depth chart finally won out and the trenches were the Bills to dominate.  Before that point, at 16-0, the Bills offense did not look great to me.  The first FG only happened because Josh had to Josh on two plays and make something happen.  Dorsey decided today was the day he was going to make WR screens happen, which is fine, but know when to walk away.  But overall, what's with the empty backfield on 3rd and 4th and short?  Are we back to just not even pretending we can run the ball?  Not a single QB sneak?  While it was nice to see Sherfield get involved, where the crap were the Knox/Kincaid targets?  Thankfully, our defense was great, because our offense was not going to keep up with the Commanders if they knew how to score.  Good thing we aren't playing any high scoring offenses soon....



© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


6 - Turnovers - I mean, wow.  Two weeks in a row we had an interception just stolen from a WR.  White's interception was amazing from the stands and I can't blame Howell at all.  The receiver had all the body positioning and Tre just decided he wasn't okay with that.  Also, that was the moment the Commanders fans died a little inside.  The Bernard interception was amazing too.  Fully body extension, great positioning, and everything Edmunds wouldn't do.  It was almost comical how the Commanders found a way to turn the ball over every single time they made it into Bills territory.  Even seeing it liv just felt surreal.  If we can keep this level of ball hawking skills up even a fraction of the time, this defense could end up setting some Bills records


7 - Defensive Line - Let me start by saying that Leonard is wide as hell.  I don't think I realized how big he was during training camp, but he definitely stood out in this game.  Not only that, but some of his routes to the QB were like a DB blitz that doesn't get picked up by the line.  Seriously, dude was a missile on some plays.  This is not to take away from Oliver, whom I think everyone is pleasantly surprised with his performance.  Dude is a wrecking ball up the middle.  But overall, I can't remember a game where I saw so many pocket collapses.  Yes, Howell is known to hold the ball too long and that did happen a few times.  But mainly, the gates of hell opened around him and Howell was swallowed up by the Kraken that is the Bills front 4.  If the Dolphins are going to be slowed down at all, these guys need to show up and the Dolphins head specialist should be waiting on the sidelines. 


8 - Safeties - It was nice to see a couple of strong hits by Poyer, as discussions of his decline have popped up more and more.  The safeties showed a lot of cover 2, but would switch to Cover one during the count. The one deep ball that Bendford gave up was during one of those transitions, were Poyer creeped up into the box and left Benford on an island.  Hyde's interception was almost comical to me, as if Howell's arm finally just gave up and thought Hyde was wearing a Commanders jersey.  But overall, strong game keeping the Commanders underneath.



© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports


9 - AJ - If you would have told me that I was going to mention AJ two weeks in a row, I would have taken the under all day.  The AJ pick six was absolutely amazing.  From my vantage point, AJ was chasing Howell like the Waterboy, jumped to grab the lob pass, had the mental cognizance to swap the ball to his other hand, then used his dominant hand to stiff arm Howell into the earth's core.  I mean, this is AJ we are talking about, right?  It's great to see him take advantage of his opportunities and really close out our 4 man rotation once Von comes back.  Seriously, Von, Floyd Groot and AJ....looking really good.


10 - Murray - Is Murray our 3rd down back now?  I'm very confused on this RB rotation.  Is Murray considered the better pass catching back?  Or, was Cook just brought out of the game on numerous 3rd downs to rest him?  I'm not really complaining, except that we didn't use RB's on 3rd/4th and short, as much as I'm just trying to figure out what the plan is there.



Prepare for a whole week of Dolphins/Bills coverage.  I hate to say that a Week 4 game matters, but a home game against the Division/Conference leader can make a difference come final standings and tie-breakers.  Should be a fun one.


Go Bills!!


You can find all of Virgil's Articles in the, "A Few Thoughts...Category."


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