After a Washington Commanders’ offense ran 81 plays in a 60-minute game, keeping the Philadelphia defense on the field for 40:24, the game plan seemed predictable: either a handoff or finding Terry McLaurin wide open.
It couldn’t be stopped by Philly.
In a throwback 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust rushing performance, the Commanders racked up 152 rushing yards on 49 carries, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. McLaurin led the way with three big plays.
The quarterback Taylor Heinicke seemed to target McLaurin almost every time he dropped back to pass, particularly on third downs and in high-pressure situations. On eight receptions, the star wideout accounted for 128 of the Commanders’ 211 passing yards, including a stunning 41-yard bomb from Heinicke.
In an interview after the game, head coach Ron Rivera said, “Terry was terrific.” I really appreciated the way he performed and wanted to get the ball. When we agreed to the contract this summer, I told you this was an organizational decision. You are impacted by a young man like that.”
Among the best young receivers in the NFL, McLaurin is able to run precise routes, get open with speed to burn, wiggle after the catch, and has great hands at the catch point. He is the complete package. McLaurin is the only thing holding him back from a consensus top-10 wide receiver overall because the Commanders haven’t achieved national success.
McLaurin burned the Eagles‘ defense Monday night, becoming the only receiver with 80-plus yards this season and repeatedly beating top corner Darius Slay.
Heinicke said about the wideout, “You paid him lots of money in the offseason for a reason because he keeps making big plays. So when we have one-on-one with Terry, we like it. I get excited whenever I see Terry one-on-one, and I’m confident he’ll win because he continues to do so.”
Heinicke should retain the starting role due to McLaurin’s recent production: 9.0 targets, 6.0 catches, 92.5 yards with Heinicke in 2022. With Csaron Wentz, McLaurin averaged 6.2 targets, 3.7 catches, and 61.2 yards.
The 5-5 Commanders clearly have a leader and heartbeat in McLaurin.