ARLINGTON, Tx. -- The Washington Commanders have had opportunities to win games like the one they lost on Sunday here against the Dallas Cowboys.
When you watch the team, there are weak points, but there are enough strong ones, too. ... strong enough to not get drubbed like this.
And that's where the frustration in the fan base surely grows as the team continues to not only lose but do so in a disappointingly passive manner.
"For the most part, there were some things that were working pretty well," coach Ron Rivera said following his team's 25-10 loss at AT&T Stadium in Week 4. "We just got to sustain them at that point. We get opportunities to score, we’ve got to score ... We’ve got to score touchdowns. Kicking field goals, especially in the second half, was not good enough."
After the Cowboys (now 3-1 with Cooper Rush subbing for the rehabbing Dak Prescott at QB) scored an opening-drive field goal, quarterback Carson Wentz drove Washington's offense into opposing territory in just five plays.
From there, it all turned upside down.
A false start by guard Trai Turner sent them back to their own side of the field before they even got another snap.
Then Wentz was sacked, and before you knew it, 2nd and 7 in plus territory became 3rd and 21 at the Washington 38-yard line. Which became a punt.
But the defense held, and Washington got the ball back at the exact same spot they punted from previously.
With a new set of downs and a chance to regain momentum, Wentz's offense again moved into Cowboys territory.
Again, a penalty pushed them right back out.
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Washington would eventually move to the right side of midfield again on that drive, but ultimately could not recover from the setback, and punted again.
That was how the game started - a see-saw going nowhere - and it only got better for short periods of time, while staying the same for much of the afternoon.
Seven times the Commanders offense was penalized. Each of them put the team in a double-digit yards-to-gain situation or added to already existing ones.
Five times, offensive penalties forced Washington to need more than 20 yards for a first down.
"Certain penalties are concentration-focused," Rivera said. "Sure, it gets loud. Sure, the crowd gets into it. Sure, they’re jumping the line, something like that. But we’ve got to sit in there and we’ve got to be disciplined. That’s something that we as coaches got to make sure gets corrected. That was not good enough. We hurt ourselves and took ourselves out of certain opportunities."
In the first half, Washington's offense had just one drive that didn't involve an offensive penalty or a turnover.
They scored a touchdown on that drive.
The rest killed any chance of a fast start and gave Dallas all the early momentum they needed to grab hold of the game. ... all sending the Commanders to their second-straight NFC East loss and to a 1-3 record.
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