Commanders got hit early; How did they respond?

Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson once said, “Everybody has a plan…until they get hit.”

I thought of that today watching the Washington Commanders no doubt come into the game with offensive and defensive schemes/plans, only to get hit early and simply never respond in the first half. Consequently, they were down 22-0 at the half in what had to be one of the ugliest halves in recent Washington football history. They were the boxer who can’t get out of the corner, off the ropes, can’t hurt their opponent. They simply took a beating in that first half.

For all of the criticism Antonio Gibson received following his fumble in the first preseason game against the Panthers, it was Gibson who pulled no punches regarding the first half, saying, “We didn’t come out to play in the first half.” Indeed they looked a step slower in all three phases of the first half.

No question when Washington took the field for the second half, they were a step quicker, playing with more of a sense of urgency. At least they responded to some degree. The defense stopped the Lions on four consecutive possessions, until they determined they were again going to attempt to convince us that the Lions were quarterbacked Sunday by Bobby Layne and not Jared Goff.

Terry McLaurin after the game was thinking if Washington had simply played the first half like they did the second, they might have won. “That first half was as bad as it can get for us. The second half we made some adjustments, didn’t hurt ourselves as much and saw we could move the ball like we’re confident of doing. It’s just a matter of putting four quarters together.”

But Charles Leno, who had his hands full with Aidan Hutchinson (3 sacks) has been around long enough that he recognized at halftime it was more than about one NFL game. His comments, following the game, sounded more like a man who felt they needed to show more manhood in the second half. “You don’t expect to be in that situation but who are we going to be? Are we going to be a team that lays down or a team that fights. You clearly saw what type of team we are.”


Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire