The Detroit Lions' first third-down attempt set the tone for the rest of the afternoon.
All the Lions needed was three yards to keep the chains moving, but they got much more than that when Amon-Ra St. Brown found a gaping hole in the Washington Commanders' coverage. The wideout turned the pass into a 49-yard gain, setting up a field goal four plays later.
It was the first of several explosive plays from the Lions' offense, and the Commanders, who suffered a 36-27 loss in Week 2, could never really manage a response.
"You can't give those plays up," Ron Rivera told reporters after the game. "You allow an explosive play, and it throws you off."
The Lions finished the day with 425 yards, and nearly half of that stemmed from five plays. After St. Brown's catch-and-run, D'Andre Swift gashed the Commanders' defense on a 50-yard rush. It did not directly lead to points, but it did help back up Washington's offense after a turnover on downs, which then led to a safety.
Three of the Lions' six scoring driving featured at least one play covering 20-plus yards. After the Commanders had dwindled a 22-0 start down to a seven-point deficit, they were dealt not one, but two crippling blows. The first was a 58-yard jet sweep by St. Brown on the first play of the ensuing drive. The more devastating blow came on third-and-15, when Swift made the catch short of the first down marker, fell down and still managed to get in the end zone.
Those moments helped the Lions average seven yards per play, and there are part of the reason why the Commanders are currently tied for 27th in yards allowed.
As Rivera pointed out in his postgame press conference, there is still plenty of time for the Commanders to correct these issues. However, there are three opponents up next on the schedule -- the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Tennessee Titans -- who have weapons that can regularly deliver explosive plays. The Commanders may have time, but getting back on track sooner, rather than later, is the preferred solution.
Here's a morning roundup of what the local and national media have to say about the Washington Commanders on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022. All reports, rumors and conjecture are a reflection of the media conversation and are not endorsed or confirmed by the Washington Commanders.
The reports and deals expressed in this article have not been confirmed by Washington, nor do they reflect any insider information from anyone in the front office.
- The Washington Post's Sam Fortier looks at the offensive line during the Commanders' Week 2 loss.
- The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga gives his opinion on the Commanders' defense.
- The Washington Post's Nicki Jhabvala writes about the Commanders falling short against the Lions.
- The Washington Post's Scott Allen gives four takeaways from the Commanders' loss.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras reports on Ron Rivera's decision to go for two against the Lions.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras also writes about the defense's performance against the Lions.
- The Washington Times' Matthew Paras reports on the Lions' victory over the Commanders.
- The Athletic's David Aldridge gives his thoughts on the Commanders through two weeks.
- The Athletic's Ben Standig reports on the Commanders' loss to the Lions.
- NBC Sports Washington's Ethan Cadeaux writes about the Commanders struggling with issues from 2021.
- NBC Sports Washington's Peter Hailey gives his thoughts on the Commanders' performance against Detroit.
- NBC Sports Washington's JP Finlay gives his opinion on the Commanders' Week 2 loss to the Lions.