Crimson Commanders: Week 1
There are currently five alumni of the University of Alabama football program that play for the NFL's Washington Commanders: Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Cam Sims, Phidarian Mathis, and Brian Robinson, Jr.
Every week of the NFL season, this column will serve as a summary of their performances and contributions to the team. This week, they did enough to help propel the squad to a 28-22 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Jonathan Allen - Defensive Tackle
Unsurprisingly, Allen's presence was felt early and often by the Jaguar offense. The Washington team captain tallied three solo tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss. Allen's lone sack came on a Jacksonville third down and saw Trevor Lawrence hit the ground nine yards behind the line of scrimmage. Outside of the stats, Allen was in Lawrence's face all day, hitting him one other time beyond the sack. Allen went down in the final minutes of the game and did not return. He was seen clutching his groin area on the ground, but left the field on his own power and did not appear to be seriously hurt.
Daron Payne - Defensive Tackle
Payne was a nightmare for Lawrence and the Jacksonville offense all day. He totaled two solo tackles and a third assisted one, a sack, a tackle for loss, three quarterback hits, and two deflected passes on the day.
Payne came up huge in critical moments. His sack came on a crucial third and four in the fourth quarter as Jacksonville attempted to drive down the field and put the game out of reach for Washington, who was down 22-20 at the time. Payne's second batted pass of the afternoon was also on a third down and forced Jacksonville to settle for a field goal.
In addition to his key contributions on third downs and in other moments, Payne did not allow a single completion while in coverage. It was a properly dominant performance from him.
Cam Sims - Wide Receiver
Sims had a quiet day. He was only targeted once and failed to haul in the pass.
Phidarian Mathis - Defensive Tackle
Mathis left the game on just the second defensive effort of the game for Washington with what appeared to be a very serious left knee injury. He appeared to hyperextend the joint before collapsing to the ground. Mathis was carted off of FedEx Field and needed help from multiple members of the medical staff just to get on the cart.
After the game, Ron Rivera expressed that he was "concerned" for Mathis, and that the team would disseminate more information following a deeper examination of his knee on Monday.
Brian Robinson, Jr. - Running Back
Robinson was not dressed for the game as he continues to work his way back off the reserve/non-football injury list after suffering a gun shot wound in an attempted carjacking in north east Washington, DC in late August. Robinson suffered no major damage to the knee that was shot, is already off crutches, and is expected to be available at some point this season, though no one in the building is rushing him.
Next week, the Commanders travel to Detroit to take on the Lions at noon on September 28.