All posts in blog


Taylor Heinicke’s blind faith in Terry McLaurin proves the difference

Washington Commanders receivers caught just one of quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s first seven attempts. The same can be said of Green Bay defenders. And honestly, Packers defenders could have, and likely should have, picked off two or three more wayward passes during a less-than-stellar first half for the burgundy and gold’s backup-turned-starter.

Mercifully for the hometown fans (who might have been outnumbered by cheeseheads at FedEx Field on Sunday), Heinicke settled down after a horrid start and played his way into a rhythm — spearheading a rally after Washington fell behind 14-3 less than two minutes into the second quarter.

For as bad as he played in the first half, Heinicke clearly must have been inspired after seeing Super Bowl winning quarterbacks Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien — each with a Lombardi Trophy in hand — during the team’s halftime show. The Old Dominion product completed 13 of 16 attempts in the second half, including two huge passes to receiver Terry McLaurin, that turned the tides in Washington’s favor. The first was a 37-yard bomb down the right sideline in the early stages of the third quarter that gave the Commanders their first lead of the afternoon.

The second was a 12-yarder to his favorite target on third-and-9 with 2:13 remaining in the contest that Heinicke threw … with his eyes closed.

While the offense, led by their scrappy undersized quarterback will get the bulk of the headlines, the defense absolutely deserves to be recognized for their efforts. Back-to-back NHL MVP Aaron Rodgers looked downright miserable on the day as he settled for check down after check down. Green Bay’s top receiver on the day was running back Aaron Jones who had nine catches for 53 yards and two touchdown catches.

The Packers ground game, conversely, was nonexistent, as the team finished with just 12 carries for 38 yards. And, for the first time in Rodgers’ prolific career, his team failed to convert a single third down in a game. Other than that though, things are going swingingly for the future Hall of Famer.


Once again, Ovechkin torments former coach Bruce Boudreau

When it’s all said and done, Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin could go down as the greatest goal scorer in the history of the National Hockey League.

As he continues his quest to catch Wayne Gretzky on the all-time scoring list, former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau loves seeing The Great 8 continue to excel all these years later … except when it’s at the expense of his current club, the Vancouver Canucks.

“If he played against me every day, he’d probably have 110 goals a year,” Boudreau said of Ovechkin last season. “He gets up for it. He marvels me at his age.”

The Canucks came to town for an early-season matchup hoping to see Boudreau earn his 600th career victory and, after 40 minutes of action, it looked like Vancouver would emerge victorious. But the Capitals, led by Ovechkin, responded with four third-period goals en-route to an entertaining 6-4 win.

Ovechkin, who had no goals and just one assist in his first three games, torched the Canucks for two goals and two assists. And much to the dismay of his former coach, the 37-year-old now has 23 points (11 goals and 12 assists) in 13 games against Boudreau-led teams. Additionally, Lars Eller, John Carlson and Dylan Strome all scored their first goal of the season for Washington in the win.One area of concern: forward Connor Brown, who the Caps acquired this offseason in a trade with Ottawa, suffered an apparent lower-body injury and could be sidelined for the foreseeable future.


Commanders win in primetime, but lose Wentz in the process

Spotlighting the one-win Washington Commanders and the two-win Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football! What could go wrong?!?

Two disjointed offenses who struggle to put points on the board with any semblance of consistency faced off on national television in primetime, and the results were not pretty.

The Commanders eked out an ugly 12-7 at Soldier Field, thanks largely to their defensive efforts and a key special teams play in the late stages of the fourth quarter. Chicago had the ball five yards away from their end zone three separate times and came away with zero points on those drives.

The Commanders, meanwhile, weren’t much better offensively. Quarterback Carson Wentz completed just 12 of 22 passes for an anemic 99 yards. Making matters worse, the 29-year-old suffered a fractured ring finger on his throwing hand during the second quarter (shown above) and is expected to be out four to six weeks.

Taylor Heinicke assumes the role of starting quarterback once again for Washington. The Old Dominion product started 15 games last season after Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured in the season opener.

Food for thought: If Wentz plays at least 70 percent of Washington’s snaps this season, the Commanders owe Indianapolis a 2023 second-round pick. If he does not meet that threshold, the Colts get a third-round pick. Depending on how the team fares with Heinicke behind center, that trade compensation could become hugely relevant down the stretch.

At the time of his injury, Wentz ranks top 10 in passing yards (1,489) and touchdown passes (10). Conversely, Wentz is tied for the third-most interceptions (six) and no quarterback has been sacked (23) more this season. Whether or not he has a chance to improve those numbers will likely have to do with how the offense performs in his absence.


Nothing More at Baltimore Soundstage

Life on the road is tough. It’s infinitely tougher when you’re a band being told you can’t play your music. 

That’s where Nothing More found themselves when members of In This Moment fell ill and had to back out of a series of shows during their “Blood 1983” tour. While In This Moment was unable to perform, they same could not be said of Nothing More, who immediately let it be known that they were willing and able to play every show on their calendar — with or without the headliner. 

Unfortunately, the band was told that wasn’t possible, thanks to difficulties involving promoters and Ticketmaster. Determined to find a way to play, the San Antonio-based quartet called an audible and quickly scheduled an impromptu show in Baltimore. Rather than playing an abbreviated 45-minute set supporting another band, Nothing More performed a full 90-minute spectacle that spanned their entire catalog and blew the doors off of the Baltimore Soundstage. 

Lead singer Jonny Hawkins, guitarist Mark Vollelunga, bass guitarist Daniel Oliver and drummer Ben Anderson clearly picked a healthy way to work through whatever pent-up frustrations the band came into the evening with, after being initially told they couldn’t play for fans who had purchased tickets to see them in concert. They worked each and every inch of the stage during the evening and, when that wasn’t enough, used a 14-foot-tall contraption made of scrap metal and auto parts, affectionately known as “Scorpion’s Tail,” to elevate Hawkins above the stage.

Nothing More will drop its sixth studio album, Spirits, Oct. 14. Several songs, including “Tired of Winning” and “Turn It Up Like (Stand in the Fire),” have already been released and were very well received by the sellout crowd while fan favorites “Go to War” and “Jenny,” which is about Hawkins’ sister, received the loudest ovations during the evening. 


Sleep Token at Baltimore Soundstage

If you’re unfamiliar with Sleep Token, don’t feel bad. Not much is known about the British rock collective.

Sleep Token are a masked, anonymous collective of musicians united by their worship of an ancient deity crudely dubbed “Sleep,” since no modern tongue can properly express its name. In case you were wondering, “Sleep” appeared to the band’s lead singer, “Vessel,” in a dream. And the rest is history, apparently.

Their second album This Place Will Become Your Tomb was elected by Loudwire as one of the best rock/metal album of 2021. For the uninitiated, “Alkaline,” “Mine” and “The Offering” are solid starting points to get a feel for what the band is all about. At a surprise show on a random Wednesday night in Baltimore, Sleep Token enthralled and captivated an audience that seemed unsure at the start, but was all in by the time the collective finished their set.


Commanders emerge victorious via Full Carson Wentz Experience

It is not an exaggeration to say that, if not for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carson Wentz would not be a member of the Washington Commanders. A humiliating season-ending loss to the three-win Jaguars kept Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts out of the playoffs, infuriating owner Jim Irsay to the point where he felt a change was needed at quarterback.

“No disrespect to Jacksonville, but I mean, they’re the worst team in the league. You play well and hard for the first quarter or so, and they’re looking to go to their locker room and clean it out. I’ve never seen anything like that in my life,” Irsay said. “You say, ‘My God, there’s something wrong here.’ It needs to be corrected. I think that we feel like we did.”

“Your guy’s gotta pick you up and carry you through Jacksonville. He has to do it. Not an option. Has to. No excuses, no explanations,” Irsay added.

It’s rare to see an NFL owner make such pointed remarks about a player, but to quote Ron Rivera and/or The Dude:

“Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.”

Seeing an opportunity to upgrade at the game’s most important position, Washington traded a 2022 third-round pick and a 2023 third-rounder that can convert to a second-rounder based on incentives to acquire the North Dakota State product. And, as fate would have it, the Commanders welcomed Jacksonville to town for Wentz’s debut game in Washington.

Commanders fans were treated to the Full Carson Wentz Experience in the season opener, as the 29-year-old completed 27 of 41 passes for 313 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions and a QB rating of 101.0. The two interceptions came on back-to-back throws in the fourth quarter, the kind of soul-crushing mistakes that almost always spell doom.

But Wentz responded with touchdown throws of 49 and 25 yards to mount a 28-22 come-from-behind victory for the burgundy and gold. He threw for four touchdowns in a contest for the first time since 2017, but also nearly singlehandedly allowed the Jaguars to earn their first road victory in 18 games. Such is life when you’re playing for your third franchise in three seasons, it seems.

Wentz was not the only Commanders player who turned in a memory performance. Rookie receiver Jahan Dotson caught three passes for 40 yards and two touchdowns, wideout Curtis Samuel contributed 72 total yards and a touchdown and running back Antonio Gibson chipped in 130 yards in total offense as well.

Defensively, safety Darrick Forrest was everywhere — compiling four tackles, two passes defended, one forced fumble and an interception. Defensive lineman Daron Payne picked up a sack, batted down two pass attempts as he spent the majority of the afternoon in the Jaguars’ backfield.


Juan Soto, along with all hope, has left the Nationals

The Lerner family simply cannot sell the Washington Nationals soon enough. 

In what will likely/hopefully be their final act, the Lerners gutted the franchise by trading away right fielder Juan Soto. This move was telegraphed as soon as ownership offered the superstar a 15-year, $440-million extension … they absolutely knew he wouldn’t accept. 

On the surface, it indeed represented the largest contract in baseball history (which is what the Lerners hopes casual sports fans focus on). This public relations move/contract offer represented the 20th highest average annual value ($29.3 million) in the sport. Think about that for a moment. Soto, at 23, is widely considered a top three player in the game. So why would he sign away the next decade and a half for less money per season than 18 or so players who aren’t at his level?

He wouldn’t and he didn’t, which is how another supposed franchise building block got away. Soto joins Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Max Scherzer as players of consequence who were shown the door in Washington and now, a team that won the World Series in 2019 finds itself with the worst record in the majors. And likely for years to come.

Fate brought Soto and his new ballclub, the San Diego Padres, just 10 days after he was dealt away and the Nats have officially reached a point where the most enticing reason to go to the ballpark these days is to see opposing players. Padres starter Blake Snell barely broke a sweat, giving up just three hits while striking out 10 over six shutout innings in the series finale. Paolo Espino took the loss for Washington, after allowing seven hits and four runs in five-and-two-thirds innings. 

During the series, Soto went 4-for-12 with four walks, two runs and two RBIs as San Diego took two of three games. Josh Bell, who was included in the Soto deal, went 0 for 13 with three walks in the series. But, unlike the Nationals, better days are ahead for Bell and friends who still have plenty to play for this season.

HomerMcFanboy background image