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Sam Howell has great first game as Commanders’ official starter

A few days after being named the starter, Howell put on a performance FedEx Field.

Baltimore Ravens v Washington Commanders Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

While it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that Sam Howell was going to be named the starter for the Washington Commanders this season, the team went through all of spring and summer practice with it technically up in the air. He was the starter for their first preseason game, but Ron Rivera still wouldn’t officially call him the starter.

That changed on Friday

The question would be whether this designation would affect Howell going into the Commanders’ second preseason game against Baltimore. It wasn’t just any preseason game, though: it was ESPN’s only Monday Night Football of the preseason.

Sam did not disappoint.

Much like his week 1 start, he seemed to get better as the game went along. He took a sack early to create a third-and-long, and then immediately converted it to keep the drive alive. The drive eventually ended in a field goal, but each drive Howell helmed would show that he had earned the designation of starting quarterback.

This was Howell’s first touchdown pass, giving the Commanders a 10-7 lead. Baltimore would react quickly and take a 14-10 right back, giving Howell to show what he can do in the two-minute drill.

To say the resulting drive looked familiar is putting it mildly. Howell marched down the field, got back into the red zone and then had this connection

You’d have been excused if you sang “I’m a Tar Heel Born” once Dyami reeled that pass in.

With this being the only action of the night, Howell’s night was the talk of Twitter:

Howell’s final numbers: 19/25, 188 passing yards, 205 total yards, 2 Touchdowns, no interceptions.

Obviously, we need to put out some caveats here. This is the preseason, Baltimore wasn’t playing their most complex defense and sat some defensive starters, and the more Howell plays in this offense, the more NFL defenses will likely adapt. He’s still shown he will not throw the ball away under pressure, and at some point that’s likely going to bite him this season.

All that said, this is exactly the type of performance you want to see after Howell was given the vote of confidence by Ron Rivera. Washington will likely take it easy on Howell for their last game, getting him ready for their season opener against the Cardinals. This is all a good sign going into the season, and it’ll be interesting to see Howell evolve as he learns more of Eric Bieniemy’s playbook.