Jahan Dotson captain, Curtis Samuel takes the burden from Terry McLaurin

Washington leaders may have finally found a reliable supplement (or two) for Terry McLaurin’s broadband star receiver. Curtis Samuel’s and Jahan Dotson’s combination — 16 touchdowns, 134 yards and three touchdowns Sunday — sent a clear message from the reception room to McLaurin: Help is here.

The improvement was stark. in 28-22 win over Jacksonville JaguarsOffensive coordinator Scott Turner has highlighted Samuel’s prowess by using him often as a running back and receiver, as well as on the move. Samuel showed off his sport by turning short throws into long wins with oh– Music worthy and spin. Dotson showed his dazzling hands by reeling in two touchdowns, including the match winner.

Coach Ron Rivera said he saw quarterback Carson Wentz’s chemistry with receivers “combine together” and was most impressed by Samuel.

“That’s what we were hoping for,” he said. “This is the man we know and what he is capable of.”

Other offensive skill players, such as running back Antonio Gibson and end of court Logan Thomas, helped ease the burden on McClurin. But Samuel and Dotson’s performance was notable because during the first three years of his career, MacLaurin often succeeded despite the wide receivers surrounding him. They weren’t dangerous enough to distract the defense, so he regularly faced top-backs and big coverage as the passing game had to rely on tight ends like Thomas or runs like JD McKissic, Kris Thompson and Gibson.

In three seasons, only one of the wide receivers playing alongside McLaurin broke 35 catches (Adam Humphreys in 2021 with 41), and only one crossed for 400 yards (Cam Sims in 2020 with 477).

Terry McLaurin is ready to lead as he and leaders celebrate a new deal

This pre-season, wide receivers coach Drew Terrell told his players the team needed them to help start the attack, but refrained from making big statements in public.

“You certainly think about the potential of the room, but…everything looks good until you go, do it,” Terrell said in August. “You can feel humble the first week.”

If Dotson and Samuel emerge as reliable weapons, it would be a huge boost. Even if they don’t produce big stats every week, it will force the defense to their credit and help Turner and Wentz find the best matches to exploit.

“We have a lot of talent up front, not just the Receiving Corps,” Thomas said. “We’re so talented, we know we’re talented, and let’s put it on the table every week and try to find the mismatches.”

Sunday’s game was of particular interest to every broad area. For Samuel, it was a chance to prove that last season his injury was a fluke, and that he could still be the dynamic, versatile receiver Washington hoped he would be when she signed him to a three-year, $34.5 million deal.

At the end of the first ride, when he touched Samuel for the third time and rushed to the end zone, he shouted, “You’re back! You’re back! You’re back! You’re back!”

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to make men fall like that,” Samuel said of his music. “I wouldn’t say I liked myself, but I did what I knew I could do, and I was just as I said.”

For Dotson, the game was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It was an opportunity to show the privilege that it was wise to use the 16th selection on him. Dotson was the first rookie in franchise history to score two or more touchdowns in the first week, according to Stathead.

“I devoted all of my time throughout high school, throughout college to making sure I was ready for this moment,” he said. “You guys saw him today. I did several plays, but that’s not all I can do. I am ready to make more plays for this team.”

Rising leader Jehan Dotson has a calm, steady and fast presence

McLaurin’s performance is perhaps the best proof of the value of Samuel and Dotson. It was relatively calm—two on four hits caught for 58 yards—but both catches were decisive. The first was a pick-up-and-play switch in the third and eighth. The second was a 49-yard bomb below the right sideline in the fourth quarter that brought Washington back to the lead it had just relinquished.

In the past, maybe two plays alone weren’t enough. McLaurin seemed to acknowledge that after the game, when he noted the team won because “a lot of players put in a lot of plays”.

“we [have] Lots of talent in that room, especially between the three of us,” Dotson added. “You kind of saw a glimpse of that day. There is a lot we can do.”

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