Studs and duds from Commanders’ Week 17 loss to the Browns

The Washington Commanders had multiple chances to lock down a playoff spot over the last month but failed at every turn, going 0-3-1 in their previous four games before Sunday’s 24-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

The loss officially eliminated the Commanders from the playoffs.

Why did Washington lose? Where do we begin? It was a long day for the Commanders, who led 7-3 at halftime before completely falling apart on both sides of the ball in the second half.

Washington was missing several key players on defense, particularly in the second half when Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was out. Still, it doesn’t excuse the Commanders’ woeful performance on offense.

Stud: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. (8) carries the ball against the Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Commanders struggled to do anything on offense, but don’t blame rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr. Robinson carried the ball 24 times for 87 yards in the loss to the Browns. While it wasn’t Robinson’s best performance, he was clearly banged up. Still, Robinson ran hard and was effective. He was Washington’s best offensive player on Sunday.

Dud: Head coach Ron Rivera

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera looks on from the sidelines against the Cleveland Browns. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Ron Rivera made the decision to bench Taylor Heinicke in favor of Carson Wentz. Rivera also made the decision to stick with Wentz Sunday when it was clear the offense was going nowhere with him. After the game, Rivera didn’t even know Washington could be eliminated with a loss.

It was a rough day for the dead coach.

Stud: DT Daron Payne

Daron Payne did his part in Washington’s loss, recording two more sacks in the loss, giving him 11.5 for the season. Those 11.5 sacks tied Payne with Dave Butz for the most in a single season in franchise history by an interior defensive lineman.

Dud: CB Kendall Fuller

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) runs with the ball past Washington Commanders cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) en route to a touchdown during the third quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

One play in the third quarter sticks out as a turning point in Cleveland’s win. Watson completed a pass to wide receiver Amari Cooper near the sideline in what should have been considered a routine play. However, Fuller misses the tackle when he had the sideline as an extra defender, allowing Cooper to stroll into the end zone from 46 yards out. It gave the Browns a 10-7 lead, and they never looked back.

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Dud: QB Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz, #11 of the Washington Commanders, looks on against the Cleveland Browns. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Ultimately, Washington’s two duds supersede every other player who played during Sunday’s loss: Rivera and quarterback Carson Wentz.

Wentz completed 16 of 28 passes for 143 with three interceptions. All three of his picks were terrible throws/decisions. Wentz looked uncomfortable, even when he had time in the pocket.

One play in particular really sums up Wentz’s issues from Sunday.

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There was another pass where Wentz overthrew the back by several feet in a similar situation. Ugly.

Story originally appeared on Commanders Wire