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Not getting Terry McLaurin involved is one of many problems for the Commanders

Answers are lacking for the Washington Commanders after their latest humiliating loss, 45-15 at home to Miami on Sunday.

They go into their bye week 4-9, and changes are likely coming after this lost season ends, including the possible firing of coach Ron Rivera as new ownership puts its stamp on the organization.

One of the many immediate questions created by the Dolphins game is how Washington's pass-centric offense isn't featuring top wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

Sam Howell targeted McLaurin just three times on his 23 pass attempts. McLaurin did not have a catch for just the second time in his near- 80-game NFL career.

“I ran a lot of cardio,” McLaurin said. "It happens. It comes with it when it’s tough. Yeah, it's frustrating, but I’m going to keep coming in and practicing and playing hard. ... I’ll continue to run my routes hard, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m not going to quit just because I’m frustrated.”

McLaurin has gone five games without a touchdown, and he doesn't have a 100-yard game all season. He would figure to be the safety valve Howell could use as an inexperienced, young quarterback, but it's not working out that way.

“Terry's the best part of our offense, and we got to find ways to get him the football,” Howell said. "I’ve got to find ways to get him the football. Obviously, he had a few targets, but three targets are not enough for your best player. We just got to find more ways to get him involved.”

That's also a job for offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who took the job in Washington in part to show what he can do working under a defensive coach and away from Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.

WHAT’S WORKING

Well, the season is almost over. The Commanders get a break before their next game Dec. 17 at the Los Angeles Rams, then visit the New York Jets on Christmas Eve, host the San Francisco 49ers on New Year's Eve and finish up against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 6 or 7.

Washington could land a top-five pick, which is a nice incentive for whomever is responsible for the rebuilding/retooling effort.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

There are problems all over the place. Firing defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio and defensive backs coach Brent Vieselmeyer and Rivera taking over the play-calling on defense did not yield an improvement, as the Dolphins racked up 406 yards.

“Wasn’t a very good defense,” defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said. “Can’t stop the run, can’t stop the pass.”

STOCK UP

Rookie running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. averaged 4.1 yards a carry after Brian Robinson Jr. left with a hamstring injury. With Antonio Gibson a pending free agent, Rodriguez has a chance to show he can fill that role next season.

STOCK DOWN

Allen and Daron Payne were supposed to be the centerpiece of a strong defense. It doesn't help that pass rushers Chase Young and Montez Sweat were traded before the deadline, but they're getting paid big bucks to make a difference and aren't making a noticeable impact.

INJURIES

Rivera said Robinson's hamstring tightened up, so the team decided to take the second-year pro out. Rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes is still expected to play again this season after missing the past two games with an elbow injury, and the first-round pick who was benched in October could use the snaps and growing pains that come with them for his development.

KEY NUMBER

58 — times Howell has been sacked this season, by far the most in the league.

NEXT STEPS

Shift into future mode, whatever that means for a potential lame duck coaching staff and front office. Josh Harris' ownership group will be in the spotlight January when the possible search begins, but until then there are still four more games to see what Howell and other young players have to offer.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press