2021 Washington Football Team season
OwnerDaniel Snyder
PresidentJason Wright
General managerMartin Mayhew
Head coachRon Rivera
Offensive coordinatorScott Turner
Defensive coordinatorJack Del Rio
Home fieldFedExField
Results
Record7–10
Division place3rd NFC East
Playoff finishDid not qualify
Pro Bowlers
Uniform

The 2021 season was the 90th season for the Washington Football Team in the National Football League (NFL) and their second under head coach Ron Rivera. Some additions and changes include the team hiring Martin Mayhew as general manager and Marty Hurney as another high-ranking executive.[1] With the hiring of Mayhew, who is black, Washington became the first team in NFL history to concurrently have a minority general manager, head coach, and team president.[2] Ryan Kerrigan, the franchise's all-time sack leader, became a free agent in the offseason and played the year with division rival Philadelphia Eagles.

Washington failed to improve upon their 7–9 record from the previous season, failed to repeat as division champions, and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in their past six seasons after a Week 17 home loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington was also the first team since the 1995 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to have their final five games of the season be within the division.[3] This season was also the second and last under the transitional "Football Team" moniker as they rebranded as the Commanders in 2022.

Draft

Main article: 2021 NFL Draft

2021 Washington Football Team Draft
Round Selection Player Position College Notes
1 19 Jamin Davis LB Kentucky
2 51 Sam Cosmi T Texas
3 74 Benjamin St-Juste CB Minnesota from San Francisco
82 Dyami Brown WR North Carolina
4 124 John Bates TE Boise State
5 163 Darrick Forrest SS Cincinnati
6 225 Camaron Cheeseman LS Michigan from Philadelphia
7 240 William Bradley-King DE Baylor
246 Shaka Toney DE Penn State
258 Dax Milne WR BYU from Miami

Notes

Staff

2021 Washington Football Team staff

Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches

Special teams coaches

Strength and conditioning

  • Director of player performance – Brett Nenaber
  • Head strength and conditioning – Chad Englehart

Final roster

2021 Washington Football Team final roster
Quarterbacks

Running backs

Wide receivers

Tight ends

Offensive linemen

Defensive linemen

Linebackers

Defensive backs

Special teams

Reserve lists


Practice squad


Rookies in italics
53 active, 20 inactive, 14 practice squad (+1 exempt)

Schedule

Preseason

The preseason was reduced from four games to three with the regular season expanding to 17.

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 August 12 at New England Patriots L 13–22 0–1 Gillette Stadium Recap
2 August 20 Cincinnati Bengals W 17–13 1–1 FedExField Recap
3 August 28 Baltimore Ravens L 3–37 1–2 FedExField Recap

Regular season

Week Date Opponent Result Record Venue Recap
1 September 12 Los Angeles Chargers L 16–20 0–1 FedExField Recap
2 September 16 New York Giants W 30–29 1–1 FedExField Recap
3 September 26 at Buffalo Bills L 21–43 1–2 Highmark Stadium Recap
4 October 3 at Atlanta Falcons W 34–30 2–2 Mercedes-Benz Stadium Recap
5 October 10 New Orleans Saints L 22–33 2–3 FedExField Recap
6 October 17 Kansas City Chiefs L 13–31 2–4 FedExField Recap
7 October 24 at Green Bay Packers L 10–24 2–5 Lambeau Field Recap
8 October 31 at Denver Broncos L 10–17 2–6 Empower Field at Mile High Recap
9 Bye
10 November 14 Tampa Bay Buccaneers W 29–19 3–6 FedExField Recap
11 November 21 at Carolina Panthers W 27–21 4–6 Bank of America Stadium Recap
12 November 29 Seattle Seahawks W 17–15 5–6 FedExField Recap
13 December 5 at Las Vegas Raiders W 17–15 6–6 Allegiant Stadium Recap
14 December 12 Dallas Cowboys L 20–27 6–7 FedExField Recap
15 December 21 at Philadelphia Eagles L 17–27 6–8 Lincoln Financial Field Recap
16 December 26 at Dallas Cowboys L 14–56 6–9 AT&T Stadium Recap
17 January 2 Philadelphia Eagles L 16–20 6–10 FedExField Recap
18 January 9 at New York Giants W 22–7 7–10 MetLife Stadium Recap

Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.

Game summaries

Week 1: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Washington vs. the Los Angeles Chargers
Week 1: Los Angeles Chargers at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Chargers 7 6 0720
Washington 3 6 7016

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

Game information

The Chargers scored a TD with a 3 yard Austin Ekeler run on the first drive of the game. The rest of the scoring in the first half was an exchange of field goals which gave the Chargers a 13-9 lead. To mirror the start of the first half Washington scored a TD on the first drive of the half, with an 11 yard pass from Taylor Heinicke to Logan Thomas. Washington got the ball back in their own redzone thanks to a dubious call ruling Herbert had fumbled into the end zone under pressure from Montez Sweat. Hopkins then missed a field goal before the decisive moment came at the start of the 4th quarter. William Jackson intercepted Herbert in the Washington redzone but on the subsequent play Antonio Gibson fumbled the ball on the Washington 5 yard which was recovered by the Charger who then scored the game winning TD with a 3 yard pass to Mike Williams. This would be QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's last game, as he suffered a season ending injury in the second quarter and would promptly retire after the season.

Week 2: vs. New York Giants

Washington vs. the New York Giants
Week 2: New York Giants at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Giants 7 3 10929
Washington 0 14 31330

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

Game information

A back and forth shootout, Washington capitalized on a late opportunity to escape with a 30-29 win. After Washington took a 14-10 lead into halftime, the Giants scored on their first 4 possessions of the second half to take a 26-20 lead. Washington answered back with a touchdown from Heinicke to Ricky Seals-Jones to take a 27-26 lead, but the Giants capitalized on a late Heinicke interception to take a 29-27 lead. After Washington got into field goal range, Dustin Hopkins missed a 48-yard field goal to win the game. However, the Giants were offside, which nullified the miss and gave Washington one untimed down, since a game cannot end on a defensive penalty. Hopkins made his second attempt from 43 yards to give Washington the win. This was Washington's first win over the Giants since Week 8 of the 2018 season, and improved their record to 1-1 on the season.

Week 3: at Buffalo Bills

Washington vs. the Buffalo Bills
Week 3: Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 0 14 0721
Bills 7 20 9743

at Highmark Stadium, Orchard Park, New York

Game information

Buffalo got out to a 21-0 lead early, and Washington was never able to fully recover in a 43-21 loss. Josh Allen threw for 358 yards and four touchdowns, and ran for another in the fourth to give Buffalo a 43-14 lead. The 43 points allowed were the most points Washington has allowed under Ron Rivera, and were the most points they had allowed since week 17 of the 2019 season against the Dallas Cowboys (until Week 16 of this season). Washington dropped to 1-2 on the season.

Week 4: at Atlanta Falcons

Washington vs. the Atlanta Falcons
Week 4: Washington Football Team at Atlanta Falcons – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 0 13 91234
Falcons 3 14 6730

at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

Game information

Washington was able to recover from an early 10-0 deficit to defeat the Falcons 34-30 behind 290 yards and 3 touchdowns from Taylor Heinicke. After the 10-0 deficit, Washington scored two touchdowns in the second to take a 13-10 lead. After the Falcons took a 17-13 lead into half, DeAndre Carter returned the second half kickoff 101 yards to give the lead back to Washington. The Falcons took back the lead and then extended it to 30-22 early in the fourth, but Heinicke threw two touchdowns in the final four minutes to give Washington the win. The win improved Washington to 2-2 on the season, and 2-0 in the conference. It was their first win over the Falcons since 2003.

Week 5: vs. New Orleans Saints

Washington vs. the New Orleans Saints
Week 5: New Orleans Saints at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Saints 7 13 01333
Washington 6 7 3622

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

  • Date: October 10
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EDT
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 68 °F (20 °C)
  • Game attendance: 50,137
  • Referee: Shawn Smith
  • TV announcers (CBS): Spero Dedes and Jay Feely
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Washington suffered an 11-point loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Week 6: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Washington vs. the Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6: Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Chiefs 7 3 71431
Washington 3 10 0013

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

Game information

Week 7: at Green Bay Packers

Washington vs. the Green Bay Packers
Week 7: Washington Football Team at Green Bay Packers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 7 0 0310
Packers 7 7 7324

at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Game information

Week 8: at Denver Broncos

Washington vs. the Denver Broncos
Week 8: Washington Football Team at Denver Broncos – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 0 3 7010
Broncos 0 10 0717

at Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Game information

Week 10: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 10: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Buccaneers 0 6 7619
Washington 6 10 7629

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

  • Date: November 14
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 47 °F (8 °C)
  • Game attendance: 52,128
  • Referee: Brad Rogers
  • TV announcers (Fox): Adam Amin, Mark Schlereth and Shannon Spake
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

In a rematch of their Wild Card matchup from the previous season, Washington upset the Buccaneers 29-19 to end their four-game losing streak. Tom Brady threw two interceptions in the first quarter, which Washington turned into 10 points to take a 13-0 lead early in the second. Tampa cut the lead to 23-19 early in the fourth, but Washington sealed the game with a 10 minute, 19-play touchdown drive. With the win, Washington improved to 3-6 on the season.

Week 11: at Carolina Panthers

Washington vs. the Carolina Panthers
Week 11: Washington Football Team at Carolina Panthers – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 0 14 7627
Panthers 7 7 0721

at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

  • Date: November 21
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Partly cloudy, 58 °F (14 °C)
  • Game attendance: 73,350
  • Referee: Bill Vinovich
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez and Laura Okmin
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

This was head coach Ron Rivera's first return to Charlotte since his dismissal from the Panthers on December 1, 2019. Rivera previously served as the Panthers head coach from 2011 to 2019, led the team to a franchise-best 15-1 record en route to Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season, and is the franchise's winningest head coach, having won 76 games with the team. Both teams traded a pair of touchdowns in the first half, with Newton throwing for a touchdown while rushing for another while Taylor Heinicke threw for two touchdowns. Washington took their first lead in the third quarter with Heinicke's throwing a touchdown to DeAndre Carter. After the Panthers tied it early in the fourth quarter, Washington got back-to-back field goals from Joey Slye. The Panthers' last shot to win the game was denied when Cam Newton got sacked on fourth down. With the win, Washington won back-to-back games for the first time in the season and improved to 4-6.

Week 12: vs. Seattle Seahawks

Washington vs. the Seattle Seahawks
Week 12: Seattle Seahawks at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Seahawks 7 2 0615
Washington 3 6 8017

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

Game information

Washington hosted the 3–7 Seahawks with both teams needing a win to stay relevant in the NFC playoff picture. Washington kicker Joey Slye was injured on a blocked extra point that was returned for a defensive 2-point conversion by Seahawks defensive tackle Rasheem Green. A touchdown pass late in the 4th quarter on 4th and goal from Heinicke to Logan Thomas was overturned, giving Seattle a chance down 8; while Wilson hit Freddie Swain for a score with 15 seconds left, Kendall Fuller intercepted the 2-point pass to keep Washington with a 17–15 lead. Initially, Seattle appeared to recover an onside kick, but the play was called back due to an illegal formation, and Washington was able to recover the subsequent onside kick attempt to seal the victory and improve to 5–6. It was their first Monday Night Football victory since 2014.

Week 13: at Las Vegas Raiders

Washington vs. the Las Vegas Raiders
Week 13: Washington Football Team at Las Vegas Raiders – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 7 0 01017
Raiders 0 3 3915

at Allegiant Stadium, Paradise, Nevada

Game information

Week 14: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Washington vs. the Dallas Cowboys
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Cowboys 18 6 3027
Washington 0 0 81220

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

  • Date: December 12
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Sunny, 48 °F (9 °C)
  • Game attendance: 61,308
  • Referee: Alex Kemp
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen and Pam Oliver
  • Recap, GameBook
Game information

Week 15: at Philadelphia Eagles

Washington vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
Week 15: Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 10 0 0717
Eagles 0 10 10727

at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Date: December 21
  • Game time: 7:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Cloudy, 38 °F (3 °C)
  • Game attendance: 69,796
  • Referee: Tony Corrente
  • TV announcers (Fox): Kevin Kugler, Mark Sanchez and Laura Okmin
  • Recap, Game Book
Game information

Week 16: at Dallas Cowboys

Washington vs. the Dallas Cowboys
Week 16: Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 0 7 0714
Cowboys 21 21 7756

at AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas

Game information

Washington allowed their most points to the Cowboys in franchise history in giving up 56. The loss dropped Washington to 6–9.

Week 17: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Washington vs. the Philadelphia Eagles
Week 17: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Eagles 0 7 7620
Washington 10 6 0016

at FedExField, Landover, Maryland

Game information

For the first time since 2019 and fourth time in five seasons, Washington was swept by the Eagles. Despite leading through three quarters, Washington could not withstand a second-half rally by Philadelphia, and a late rally of their own was snuffed out by a game ending interception. Washington was eliminated from playoff contention with the 20–16 loss.

Week 18: at New York Giants

Washington vs. the New York Giants
Week 18: Washington Football Team at New York Giants – Game summary
Period 1 2 34Total
Washington 3 3 61022
Giants 0 0 077

at MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

  • Date: January 9
  • Game time: 1:00 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: Rain, 36 °F (2 °C)
  • Game attendance: 69,923
  • Referee: Adrian Hill
  • TV announcers (Fox): Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston and Jen Hale
  • Recap
Game information

The game was the final for the team to be played as the Washington Football Team, as they rebranded as the Commanders in 2022. With the win, Washington swept the Giants for the first time since 2011. Their defense allowed 167 total yards in the win.

Standings

Division

NFC East
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(3) Dallas Cowboys 12 5 0 .706 6–0 10–2 530 358 W1
(7) Philadelphia Eagles 9 8 0 .529 3–3 7–5 444 385 L1
Washington Football Team 7 10 0 .412 2–4 6–6 335 434 W1
New York Giants 4 13 0 .235 1–5 3–9 258 416 L6

Conference

# Team Division W L T PCT DIV CONF SOS SOV STK
Division winners
1[a] Green Bay Packers North 13 4 0 .765 4–2 9–3 .479 .480 L1
2[a] Tampa Bay Buccaneers South 13 4 0 .765 4–2 8–4 .467 .443 W3
3[b] Dallas Cowboys East 12 5 0 .706 6–0 10–2 .488 .431 W1
4[b] Los Angeles Rams West 12 5 0 .706 3–3 8–4 .483 .409 L1
Wild cards
5 Arizona Cardinals West 11 6 0 .647 4–2 7–5 .490 .492 L1
6 San Francisco 49ers West 10 7 0 .588 2–4 7–5 .500 .438 W2
7[c] Philadelphia Eagles East 9 8 0 .529 3–3 7–5 .469 .350 L1
Did not qualify for the postseason
8[c] New Orleans Saints South 9 8 0 .529 4–2 7–5 .512 .516 W2
9 Minnesota Vikings North 8 9 0 .471 4–2 6–6 .507 .434 W1
10[d] Washington Football Team East 7 10 0 .412 2–4 6–6 .529 .420 W1
11[d][e] Seattle Seahawks West 7 10 0 .412 3–3 4–8 .519 .424 W2
12[d][e] Atlanta Falcons South 7 10 0 .412 2–4 4–8 .472 .315 L2
13 Chicago Bears North 6 11 0 .353 2–4 4–8 .524 .373 L1
14 Carolina Panthers South 5 12 0 .294 2–4 3–9 .509 .412 L7
15 New York Giants East 4 13 0 .235 1–5 3–9 .536 .485 L6
16 Detroit Lions North 3 13 1 .206 2–4 3–9 .528 .627 W1
Tiebreakers[f]
  1. ^ a b Green Bay finished ahead of Tampa Bay based on conference record (9–3 vs. 8–4).
  2. ^ a b Dallas finished ahead of LA Rams based on conference record (10–2 vs. 8–4).
  3. ^ a b Philadelphia finished ahead of New Orleans based on head-to-head victory.
  4. ^ a b c Washington finished ahead of Atlanta and Seattle based on head-to-head victories.
  5. ^ a b Seattle finished ahead of Atlanta based on win percentage in common games (4–2 vs. 3–3 against: San Francisco, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Washington, and Detroit).
  6. ^ When breaking ties for three or more teams under the NFL's rules, they are first broken within divisions, then comparing only the highest-ranked remaining team from each division.

References

  1. ^ Jhabvala, Nicki. "Washington overhauls front office, naming Martin Mayhew as GM, Marty Hurney as executive VP". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 22, 2021. Retrieved January 22, 2021.
  2. ^ DePrisco, Mike. "Black History Month: For Jason Wright, activism runs deep". NBC Sports. Retrieved February 17, 2021.
  3. ^ @ESPNStatsInfo (May 13, 2021). "Washington finishes the 2021 season with 5 straight games against the NFC East. They are the first team under the current division format (since 2002) and the first team since the 1995 Buccaneers to finish the season with 5 consecutive divisional games" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Lambert, Ivan (April 28, 2020). "Goodbye Trent". Sports Illustrated Washington Football News, Analysis and More. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  5. ^ Fortier, Sam (September 1, 2020). "Washington acquires offensive tackle David Sharpe in trade with Raiders". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 28, 2021.
  6. ^ Wolfe, Cameron (April 27, 2021). "Miami Dolphins trade OG Ereck Flowers back to Washington Football Team, sources say". ESPN. Archived from the original on April 27, 2021. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
  7. ^ Manning, Bryan (May 1, 2021). "Washington adds two more picks in 2021 NFL draft after trade with Eagles". USA Today. Archived from the original on May 1, 2021. Retrieved May 15, 2021.