The Washington franchise, whether they were called the Redskins, the Football Team, or the Commanders, haven’t had a legitimate franchise quarterback since Joe Theismann. Before the career-ending tackle by Lawrence Taylor, he started 124 games, including all but three games from 1978 to 1984.

Since then, other play-callers like Jay Schroeder, Doug Williams, Mark Rypien, and Gur Frerotte have lined up behind center. Some quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Alex Smith, Taylor Heinicke, and Kirk Cousins showed flashes of brilliance but didn’t last long.

This year, the team gave second-year player Sam Howell the keys. He had one start last season, finishing with a pedestrian 11 completions for 169 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.

But now that he is the bona fide starter, he hasn’t disappointed the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. While he struggled earlier in the season, Howell’s recent three-game stretch gives Commanders fans hope he will be the long-term solution in the game’s most crucial position.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Howell in his first year at the helm. He threw for zero touchdowns and four interceptions in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. However, his comfort level with Eric Bieniemy’s offense has grown every week.

The victories may be challenging, but Howell’s output is undeniable. He threw 39 completions for 397 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception against the Philadelphia Eagles. In their next game, he completed 29 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown versus the New England Patriots. Howell followed that with 29 completions for 312 yards and three touchdowns versus the Seattle Seahawks.

Aside from throwing for over 300 yards in each game, he had completion percentages of 75, 64.4, and 65.9. His three-game output makes him the league’s passing yards leader through Week 10 with 2,783 yards. Sam Howell also has a 66.5 completion percentage and 17 touchdowns, tied for the third-most through ten weeks.

Counting his one-game start last year, the former North Carolina standout is the first quarterback in NFL history to have 2,900 passing yards, 200 rushing yards, and a 65 percent completion percentage through his first 11 games.

While his immense talent is undeniable, the challenge is to be consistently good for at least the next decade. Otherwise, he will be like the other Washington quarterback who came before him.

The best approach is to take it one game at a time. Therefore, Sam Howell can continue his fantastic run when they host the New York Giants in Week 11. After this comes a grueling test when Washington visits the Dallas Cowboys on a short week.

-Lance Fernandez