Commanders Drop 2nd Preseason Game; Third Downs Still A Problem

August 20, 2022

In Washington’s second preseason game, the Commanders lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 24 to 14 Saturday afternoon.

In a game where both starting guards and left tackle didn’t suit up for Washington, the visiting Commanders dropped their second preseason matchup of the year.

Of course, the starting defense was all there (minus Chase Young) on those first two flawless drives by the Chiefs. Twelve plays, 87 yards on the first drive, and 12 plays, 82 yards on the second drive. Both drives went for touchdowns and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looked damn near perfect in the process.

Mahomes finished 12 of 19 for 162 yards and two touchdowns.

Commanders Lose 2nd Preseason Game

By the numbers, this game was a close one if you only check the box score. Washington gained 318 yards while Kansas City put up 314, but the context that comes with watching the game tells the real story.

The Commanders first-team defense had clear issues getting the Chiefs starters off the field. Mahomes completed passes to seven different receivers in his only two drives of the game.

Washington was short-handed with the injury bug decimating almost their entire offensive line just two weeks into preseason. Center Chase Roullier was also on a limited pitch count that allowed him to participate in a small number of snaps.

The offensive line issues were apparent early on as the team had difficulty in protecting starting quarterback Carson Wentz.

Backup quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and rookie Sam Howell both added touchdown drives. Heinicke’s drive ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Cam Sims in the back of the endzone. Howell’s ended with a one-yard touchdown run by Jaret Patterson.

The Commanders had the game to within a field goal late before Kansas City intercepted a pass from Howell that was intended for Marken Michel. The Chiefs scored another touchdown three plays later when Tayon Fleet-Davis scored from one-yard out.

Third Downs Still A Problem

While it’s hard to assign blame without taking a closer look at the game film, one ugly stat found its way back into the preseason stat book from this game. Third downs on both sides of the ball continue to be this team’s Achilles heal.

Washington was 3-10 on third downs while on offense, which is not something that can continue if they want to be successful in 2022. The Chiefs went 9-15 on third downs, which is slightly worse than the 11-18 the Panthers converted last week.

After finishing 31st in the league in opponent third-down percentage during the 2021 season, it appears the team is starting this year the same way.

Washington also suffered a couple of injuries as cornerback Corn Elder entered the concussion protocol and defensive end Bunmi Rotimi hurt his leg.