It was not pretty but to the long-suffering fans, it was a win and perhaps a forecast of things to come as the Washington Commanders (1-0) opened the long-awaited NFL season Sunday with a 20-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals in front of a sold-out crowd at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
It is a new era under new ownership. Fueled by the new team ownership, which has developed a strong relationship with the fan base, the Commanders opened with the game’s first score.
After a rocky start against the stout Commanders defense, which forced three first-half Washington turnovers, the visitors began to get things going with two field goals to get to 7-6. The Cardinals later scored their first TD of the season sandwiched around a Washington field goal to make the score 13-10 Cardinals at the half.
Arizona added a field goal to take a 16-10 advantage at the end of three quarters. With the defense playing lights out, Washington outscored the visitors, 10-0 in the fourth quarter with the deciding touchdown, a six-yard run by quarterback Sam Howell. The second-year pro completed 19 of 31 passes and a TD pass to second-year running back Bernard Robinson.
The Commanders defense showed why they are ranked among the best in the NFL by stepping up big on a day when the offense did not play particularly well.
Washington takes on the Denver Broncos in an away game next on Sunday, Sept. 17.