Skip to main content

News | Washington Commanders -

Game Balls | Three standouts from Washington's thrilling Week 2 win


The Washington Commanders bested the Broncos 35-33 in a thrilling game at Mile Stadium on Sunday. Quarterback Sam Howell, running back Brian Robinson Jr. and defensive end Chase Young helped lead the charge in a memorable come-from-behind win for the Burgundy & Gold.  

Sam Howell 

Like the mountains all around him on Sunday, Sam Howell's first NFL start on the road was rocky at the start. But, despite getting heavy contact from the Bronco's defensive front and struggling to find rhythm in the first quarter and change, Howell kept composure. Importantly, he also showed that he had put in the work this past week to learn from his mistakes in the Cardinals win.  

These adjustments, including smarter decisions under pressure, were instrumental in Washington's push to turn the tables in Denver after the visitors found themselves trailing by 18 points. In addition, Howell also demonstrated how dangerous his arm can be. His 30-yard pass to find Terry McLaurin in the end zone in double coverage and his 30-yard dime to Bates on an out-and-vertical route offered just a couple examples of the potency of that weapon. 

Fresh off of celebrating his 23rd birthday on Saturday, the young signal-caller finished the day with 27-of-39 passes for 299 yards, plus two touchdowns and two rushes for 13 yards. With Washington's win, he became the fourth quarterback in franchise history in the Super Bowl era to win his first three starts at the helm.

Check out the best photos of the Washington Commanders from their Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)

Brian Robinson Jr.

Washington's No. 8 was quite simply a star in yesterday's big win. He was shifty, broke tackles, and, as has become his signature, managed to gain impressive yards after contact. Picking up where he left off last week, Robinson put points on the board for Commanders when they needed it most.

After a Logan Thomas touchdown in the second quarter, Robinson came in clutch to punch in the two-point conversion and cut the Broncos' lead to ten points. Then in the fourth, he scored two touchdowns that changed the game. The first was a two-yard push up the middle for the Commanders' first lead of the game. The second was a special 15-yard run that saw Washington's offense end a contest with 35 points for the first time since Thanksgiving 2020.

Those plays alone perhaps would have been game-ball worthy, but Robinson's play on Sunday was much more than those pivotal runs into the end zone. His rushes for sizable yardage continuously sparked the offense, he offered a reliable receiving threat and just his mere presence forced the Broncos' defense to make decisions that allowed for his teammates to shine.

When the final whistle blew, in addition to the two touchdowns, Robinson had 87 rushing yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 42 receiving yards (21.0 yards per carry). With those numbers, he eclipsed 1,000 scrimmage yards and 900 rushing yards in his career.

Chase Young

Washington's defensive line stepped up at Mile High. Daron Payne had a massive game, recording one sack, two tackles for loss, three quarterback hits and a pass deflection. Montez Sweat recorded multiple sacks in back-to-back game for the first time in his career.

But sometimes, a game ball needs to be delivered not just for a performance but what for a performance means in context, as part of a larger story. And that is why this third game ball goes to Chase Young.

Young's up-and-down journey over the last two years is no secret. His recovery from a 2021 knee injury took longer than anticipated. He didn't look quite like himself in the few games he was able to get under his belt last season. Disappointingly, after playing well this past preseason, he sustained a stinger that required him to miss most of the preseason and the season opener.

Finally, Young was cleared to play, and much to the joy of himself and everyone around him, he showed glimpses of the terror he was a few years ago. He ended yesterday's game with 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and a tackle for a loss. The sack, which he notched in the third quarter, was his first full sack since Oct. 10, 2021, against New Orleans. Sunday was also his first multi-sack game since September 13, 2020, against Philadelphia.

"It was amazing [having Young back out there]. He's been through so much just battling injuries -- injury after injury," Sweat said after the game. "Just to have him out there, he's my best friend, so it's fun having success with him."

Related Content