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Robinson and an Opportunistic Defense Keep it Going | Washington Commanders

Updated: May 5, 2023

By Adam Aniba

On the 15th anniversary of Sean Taylor's death, fans dealt with mixed emotions after the pictures of the FedEx memorial ceremony hit social media.

Regardless if fans agreed with the memorial being appropriate (fans believed a statue resembling Taylor would be unveiled per reports), Washington got the win for the Taylor family with the #21 decal on their helmet.

On a rainy day at FedEx field, it was fitting that Washington's defense would secure the win vs Atlanta. Although the only sack in the matchup came from defensive end Montez Sweat, the biggest play on the day came from defensive tackle Daron Payne.

On 2nd and Goal from Washington's 4 yard line, the Falcons decided to pass as opposed to run. The call was surprising, considering their struggles in the passing game. Atlanta could have eaten up clock and potentially taking over the lead, if they continued to run the ball. This would end of being another fierce goal line stand by Washington's defensive.

Falcons QB Marcus Mariota had a wide open Cordarrelle Patterson on the play, but Payne pushed the pocket and was able to get a hand up to tip the pass. The result was a Kendall Fuller endzone interception.

After starting off 1-4, Washington has now won 6 of their last 7 games and are in the hunt for a playoff spot. It's also a real possibility, that all 4 NFC East teams could make the playoffs.

It was actually in '98 when the entire AFC East division made the playoffs, but that was when each conference consisted of three divisions and the total number of wild card playoff slots per conference was only three.

In the win, Brian Robinson recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game (20 yards receiving for 1 TD) and was awarded the game ball. Running backs Antonio Gibson, Jonathan Williams and receiver Curtis Samuel combined for 67 yards rushing, but the Robinson's 5.8 yards per rush was a team best on the day.

Robinson's ability to gain yards after contact, proved to be the difference on the day, with Taylor Heinicke only able to muster 138 yards through the air with an interception.

What's Next?

Washington heads into a crucial stretch with two strait NFC East matchups against the Giants (bye week in between games). Although expectations for Chase Young's return should be tempered, having another pass rusher for offenses to key on, only makes Jack Del Rio's unit tougher to defend against.

Although Payne, Allen and Sweat have all dealt with double teams, Young's presence alone will lead to more 1-on-1 matchups along the defensive line.

At 7-5, chasing a the Eagles (lead the East at 10-1) for the NFC East tile are unlikely, but leapfrogging the Giants and potentially the Cowboys for a playoff spot is now a very real reality.

An exciting December is on the horizon, with meaningful football still to be played for the Burgundy & Gold.

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