NFL Week 1 Game Recap: Washington Commanders 20, Arizona Cardinals 16

2RT3RKG Washington Commanders running back Brian Robinson Jr. (8) is tackled by Arizona Cardinals safety K'Von Wallace (22) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Arizona Cardinals traveled to face the Washington Commanders in an offensive struggle as both teams started new quarterbacks to open the 2023 season. Sam Howell and the Commanders picked up the win, 20-16.


Offensive spotlight: Howell had an up-and-down outing in his second NFL regular-season start. He threw a touchdown in the first quarter, but it took until the fourth quarter for the Washington offense to get back in the end zone — with multiple sacks and turnovers leading up to that point. Luckily, the Commanders’ defense forced a turnover inside the Cardinals’ territory where Howell utilized his legs and scrambled for a touchdown. From that point on, the Commanders added a field goal to their one-point lead and held on for the win.

Cardinals’ starting quarterback Josh Dobbs managed the game well enough to get Matt Prater into field goal range on three separate occasions, which made up all of the Cardinals’ offensive points. The defense added a touchdown for the other score. Dobbs completed 21 of his 30 passes for 132 yards with no interceptions.

Defensive spotlight: The Commanders’ defensive line took it to the Cardinals’ offensive line, totaling 14 total pressures after PFF's initial review of the game, which included three sacks of Dobbs. The unit also secured two fumbles. Edge defender Montez Sweat and interior defender Jonathan Allen, specifically, dominated in this game — with 1.5 sacks for Sweat, one for Allen and four unofficial pressures for each.

Rookie spotlight: Commanders’ first-round rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes worked as the team’s third cornerback and made a big play late in the game to help seal the win for Washington. Forbes was targeted just twice in this game and did not allow a single reception, pending review.


Box Score

Passing
Arizona Cardinals
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Long Sacks Rtg
Joshua Dobbs 2.98 21 / 30 132 4.4 0 0 31 3 78.8
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Comp/Att Yds YPA TD Int Long Sacks Rtg
Sam Howell 17.18 19 / 31 202 6.5 1 1 32 6 77.6
Rushing
Arizona Cardinals
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
James Conner 12 14 62 4.4 0 12 0
Marquise Brown 8.7 1 29 29 0 29 0
Rondale Moore 7.5 2 12 6 0 8 0
Joshua Dobbs 2.98 3 -3 -1 0 1 2
Keaontay Ingram -0.4 5 -4 -0.8 0 6 0
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Car Yds YPC TD Long Fum Lost
Sam Howell 17.18 2 11 5.5 1 6 1
Brian Robinson Jr. 13.6 19 59 3.1 0 7 0
Curtis Samuel 11 1 6 6 0 6 0
Antonio Gibson 1.9 3 9 3 0 3 1
Chris Rodriguez Jr. 0.7 3 7 2.3 0 3 0
Receiving
Arizona Cardinals
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD Long
James Conner 12 5 5 8 1.6 1.6 0 11
Marquise Brown 8.7 5 3 28 5.6 9.3 0 11
Zach Ertz P 8.1 10 6 21 2.1 3.5 0 6
Rondale Moore 7.5 3 3 33 11 11 0 31
Trey McBride 4.3 2 2 23 11.5 11.5 0 13
Michael Wilson 3.9 4 2 19 4.8 9.5 0 15
Zach Pascal 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
Washington Commanders
Player Fantasy Tgt Rec Yds YPT YPR TD Long
Brian Robinson Jr. 13.6 2 1 7 3.5 7 1 7
Curtis Samuel 11 5 5 54 10.8 10.8 0 32
Jahan Dotson 9 7 5 40 5.7 8 0 14
Logan Thomas 8.3 8 4 43 5.4 10.8 0 19
Terry McLaurin 5.1 4 2 31 7.8 15.5 0 19
Cole Turner 2.7 2 1 17 8.5 17 0 17
Antonio Gibson 1.9 1 1 10 10 10 0 10

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