The Commanders lost the turnover battle on Sunday, but they won the game.
Rookie safety Jartavius Martin picked off a pass by Patriots quarterback Mac Jones with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the Commanders will leave New England as 20-17 winners. Martin's pick was the first takeaway of the game by the Commanders defense and it came with Jones trying to rally the team for a game-tying field goal or game-winning touchdown.
Jones was trying to hit JuJu Smith-Schuster on the final Patriots offensive play and he was 24-of-43 for 220 yards and a touchdown before that toss. The Patriots were able to get a field goal that stretched their lead to 17-10 to open the third quarter, but they picked up just four first downs while punting four times over the rest of the second half.
The Commanders followed that field goal with back-to-back scoring drives. Sam Howell made up for an interception in the end zone at the end of the first half by dropping a dime to wide receiver Jahan Dotson for a 33-yard touchdown and the Commanders moved into the lead on a field goal late in the third quarter. The Commanders were 7-of-10 on third down before fading in the fourth quarter and Howell had throws to convert several of those opportunities.
Howell finished the day 29-of-45 for 325 yards and he was sacked three times, which is an improvement over most Washington outings this season. Brian Robinson ran 18 times for 63 yards, but lost a fumble, and Antonio Gibson had 76 yards from scrimmage for the Commanders.
Washington is now 4-5 and will head to Seattle next Sunday in a bid to keep their playoff hopes alive. The 2-7 Patriots will try to get out of the AFC cellar at home against the Colts.