Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell had an eventful Week 1. While Howell led the Commanders to a season-opening 20-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals, there were more than a few plays he’d like to have back.
Howell took six sacks in defeat and turned the ball over twice. Some of the sacks were preventable, as were the two turnovers. One of those turnovers, Howell was under heavy pressure and tried to spin away from the defender. In doing that, he had one hand on the football, allowing the Arizona pass rusher to poke the ball loose for an easy touchdown.
It was the Cardinals’ only touchdown in Week 1. Fortunately for Howell, he did enough, passing for one touchdown and rushing for another, to lead the Commanders to the win.
Former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky had some advice for Howell this week.
Howell has to learn for @Commanders
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) September 13, 2023
It was fair criticism for Howell, who also had his share of positive moments in the season opener.
On Wednesday, Howell met with the media and reflected on his Week 1 performance in his typical humble manner.
“Yeah, definitely a lot of things to clean up,” Howell said. “I just think offensively we, there’s a lot of things that we learned on film and things that we expect and hope to do a better job of this week.”
What about some of the sacks Howell took against the Cardinals?
“Yeah, I mean I’m always gonna err on it was my fault just because I think I could’ve done a better job,” Howell said. “I mean, there were some of ’em where I just ran out of bounds at like a yard or two behind the line of scrimmage which is just dumb. You know, just throw the ball away. And you know, obviously the strip sack for the touchdown, that was on me. I was just trying to do too much, especially down there backed up. Don’t try to reverse out and spin out of it. Just be smart.”
One of Howell’s best attributes is following up a negative play with a positive one. After his strip-sack for a touchdown, Howell led the Commanders to a field goal with less than one minute remaining in the first half. Below is one of Howell’s most impressive plays from Sunday to set up the score on this throw to Curtis Samuel.
I think this may be the most impressive pass I’ve seen from a Washington QB in YEARS given the situation. pic.twitter.com/U3fAcbqboL
— Mark Tyler(Hogs Haven) (@Tiller56) September 11, 2023
Howell has two NFL starts on his resume. He has shown a lot of positives in those two starts and in the time between. For Howell, it’s all about not repeating the same mistakes, something offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has praised him for throughout the summer.
For all of the talk about Howell’s play, did anyone see Joe Burrow and Josh Allen in Week 1? No, we aren’t comparing Howell to either of those star quarterbacks, only emphasizing that every NFL team has played one game and too much is often made from Week 1 — good or bad.
Howell heads to Denver for his first NFL road start in Week 2.