The Washington Commanders dropped their third and final preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, 17-15. Here are three numbers to know from the defeat.
Rookie quarterback Sam Howell was tapped to play the entire game against the Ravens and made the most of that chance to feature in all four quarters. Howell looked comfortable and focused under center from the moment the whistle blew. He was accurate with his passing, moving through his progressions quickly to find receivers in stride. Highlights from his throwing game included a 26-yard pass to former UNC teammate Dyami Brown, a 28-yard pass to Matt Cole and another 28-yarder to Marken Michel in the fourth-quarter touchdown drive.
Howell's performance as a passer was equaled by his performance as a runner. The quarterback found his way out of a handful of tough situations by leaning on his scrambling and rushing skills. Whenever he did decide to carry the ball himself, he showed an impressive ability to squeeze out the most possible yardage. He dished out pump fakes, made deft footwork moves to fake out defenders and shook off tackles. He finished the game with 342 total yards (280 passing), and 102.1 passer rating.
The opposing team's third down conversion percentage was highlighted as a major weakness during the first two preseason games that Washington needed to address. An area that hampered Washington throughout last season, the defensive third down conversion issue reared its head against both the Panthers and the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio wasn't shy in voicing his displeasure about it.
Last night was a different story. The Commanders were much stouter at getting their opponents off the field in their third preseason game, and the home team only converted on 1-of-8 of its third-down opportunities. The defensive front allowed just 21 yards on 14 carries, one of the most impressive plays being a stop by Jeremy Reaves that resulted in a four-yard loss, while the secondary forced back-to-back three-and-outs to start the night.
The Washington Commanders take on the Baltimore Ravens to wrap up the 2022 preseason. (Emilee Fails/Washington Commanders)
The Burgundy & Gold became too familiar with seeing the color yellow in its preseason finale. Penalties hindered the Commander all night, as they finished the game with 10 for 82 penalty yards. The stat is one of the primary reasons the team had so much trouble getting into the end zone on the night.
One of the more frustrating moments came in the second half, when Washington, down 17-6, marched down to the Ravens' 1-yard line. Jon Toth was called for a false start, and Howell was sacked for a five-yard loss on the following play. That left the Commanders settling for a field goal, which was a disappointing way to end a 17-play, 64-yard drive, despite still putting points on the board.
While penalty yards in the final preseason game are low on the list of priorities to address, it is a teachable moment for the young players on the roster who will either be backups this season or are fighting for a roster spot. It serves as a reminder that they cannot put themselves in difficult situations, particularly against perennial playoff contenders like the Ravens.