Carson Wentz provides zero spark as Commanders collapse against Cleveland

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Carson Wentz provides no spark as Commanders collapse against Cleveland originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

LANDOVER, Md. -- Ron Rivera benched Taylor Heinicke for Carson Wentz because the Commanders offense needed a spark.

Well, that didn't happen.

Washington lost to the Cleveland Browns 24-10 at FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon in a virtual must-win game and was able to muster only 260 total yards of offense. Ironically, that's Washington lowest offensive total since since Wentz's last start, a 12-7 win in Chicago where the team logged 210 total offensive yards. It wasn't close to good enough.

Wentz was awful in this game, throwing two interceptions in the first half and looking generally inaccurate. Washington is now in a scenario where playing Sam Howell next week against the Dallas Cowboys makes sense in that it's at least an opportunity for the Commanders to see what the rookie signal caller has got.

This is a wildly disappointing loss for the franchise, and that's even with the understanding that this organization is largely known for disappointing losses. Cleveland came into this game already eliminated from the playoffs and the Commanders had to win to keep playoff hopes alive. It's possible that before the end of Sunday evening's games, Washington will be completely out, but if not, Ron Rivera's team is hanging on by a thread.

A loss like this - at home - will lead to a lot of evaluation. For all parties involved.

Stock up

  • Making bacon - The Commanders rolled out their new mascot - Major Tuddy, a 6-foot-5 hog with a football helmet. On a day with little to cheer for, Tuddy got it done. This organization has never had a mascot before but with the team's rebrand the hog does a nice job of connecting the past with the future.

  • Fans - It wasn't a packed crowd but a lot of Commanders fans showed up to support their squad. They got nothing in return. And when they chanted "HEINICKE! HEINICKE!" it wasn't without cause.

  • Nothing else. 

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Stock Down

  • Carson Wentz - He's a nice guy, but not a good quarterback.

  • Ron Rivera - It was a mistake to bench Heinicke for Wentz. Heinicke won't be confused for Joe Namath anytime soon, but even the limited Washington offense with Heinicke is better than the anemic Washington offense with Wentz.

  • Offensive line - This has been a problem all season and it showed again on Sunday. Seems very likely Washington will be looking to rebuild most, if not all, of this group in the offseason.

  • Secondary - Without Kam Curl the Commanders defensive backs often looked confused. When Amari Cooper goes for three catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns there are serious problems. Cooper hasn't gone for more than 100 yards in a game since Nov. 20th.