Grace Under Fire (Falcons-Commanders; 11.27.22)

Rodney Pierce/ALOST

akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

LANDOVER, MARYLAND — For those of a certain age, the last two months of Washington Commanders football almost certainly resembles Adam West-era Batman episodes, with the caped crusaders finding themselves in near-impossible predicaments before wriggling away and saving the day. On Sunday afternoon, the Commanders’s cliffhanger included an Atlanta Falcons running game that trampled over Washington’s defense for most of the game, and its inexorable march toward the goal line in the final minute of the game may have well been the Riddler waiting for Robin to be sawed in half at the end of an episode before leaving the audience in suspense to tune in to see the conclusion the next day..

But like most of the Commanders season, and especially in their good run of form over the past two months, they found a way to avert complete disaster, pulling another win out of the jaws of defeat.

Kendall Fuller’s interception in the end zone with 58 seconds remaining, off a deflection from defensive tackle Daron Payne, saved the day for Washington in a 19-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at FedEx Field of Sunday afternoon. Taylor Heinicke threw for two touchdowns while the Commanders running game accounted for a season-high 178 rushing yards, with rookie Brian Robinson Jr. accounting for 105 of those yards, his first career 100-yard performance on the ground.

From 1-4, the Commanders now sit at 7-5, the first time Washington has been two games above .500 since 2018. That escape act from being set adrift to sea as an also-ran to being in the thick of the NFC playoff picture reflects this team, who has won six of their last seven games — the six wins in that stretch coming by a combined 38 points.

“Very proud of them just because the biggest thing that they’ve gotten to where they are right now is because they believe in what they can do,” said Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, who won his 100th game as a head coach in the National Football League. “There’s a lot of negativity that we’ve tried to get past and we’ve tried to work past and just constantly trying to tell these guys it’s what they can do. They’re a good group of young men. They really are.”

Robinson actually had a death-defying experience occur before his NFL career officially started, when he was shot twice in the lower body during an armed robbery attempt in late August. The Alabama product was expected to have a big role this season, but, as would be expected, had to recover from his injuries and get back into game shape. His punishing runs today showcased his potential, and his 14-yard touchdown reception on the first Commanders’ drive of the game was an eye-opener as he ran over cornerback Atlanta cornerback Darren Hall before crossing the pylon.

“It is just a special moment to have the opportunity to be able to [run for 100 yards] and to do it after everything that’s been doing on this year,” Robinson said. “I’ve been patient with it, just continued to stick to it, stick to the run game and stick to my run tracks and discipline. Today was a good day on the ground probably because of the way I balled.”

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Sunday afternoon’s game, with all photos taken by DC-area photographer Rodney Pierce. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 32 pictures in total.

Facebook Comments Box
Tags : Atlanta FalconsNFLWashington Commanders

Leave a Response