May 18, 2024

Magic Johnson did not rip the Washington Commanders to shreds.

He did not promise heads were going to roll following a disappointing 40-20 loss at home to a Chicago Bears team that had lost 14 straight going into the “Thursday Night Football” matchup.

But the Lakers legend did offer what appears to be his first critical words about the team’s on-field performance since becoming a minority owner of the Commanders during the offseason.

And, perhaps more important, Johnson questioned the Commanders’ effort.

Johnson appeared on the pregame show from FedEx Field and happily obliged when Amazon Prime analyst/gushing fanboy Ryan Fitzpatrick asked him to sign a Lakers jersey and a ton of other merchandise on air.

But Johnson definitely wasn’t happy with what he witnessed after that. The Commanders (2-3) only mustered a field goal during a first half that also included two three-and-outs and an interception by quarterback Sam Howell in Washington territory. Meanwhile, the Bears (1-4) scored on all five of their possessions during the opening 30 minutes to take a 27-3 lead into halftime.

The Commanders made the game somewhat interesting in the second half, with a shot at pulling to within a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But kicker Joey Slye’s 46-yard field goal attempt went wide right, and the rout was back on.

After the game, Johnson posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: “Tonight the Commanders played with no intensity or fire. We didn’t compete in the first half and got down 27-3 heading into halftime. It was too big of a hole to climb out of and that is why we ended up losing 40-20.”

Johnson is a member of the ownership team, led by Josh Harris, that purchased the Commanders for $6.05 billion in July. Fans were overjoyed to be rid of unpopular former owner Daniel Snyder and basked in the team’s 2-0 start. But the honeymoon didn’t last long, as calls for the jobs of coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio have quickly ramped up during the three-game skid that followed.

Johnson posted glowing reviews of the team’s performances following the wins. He refrained from posting about a 37-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sept. 24 but had encouraging words for the team following a 34-31 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

“Even though we lost the game, I’m proud and happy with the @Commanders team effort on both sides of the ball, the way Sam Howell played, and the way we bounced back from the Bills loss!” he posted on X.

“Hopefully the effort we displayed in this game will be part of our DNA all season long.”

Four days later, it was apparent to Johnson and everyone else (with the possible exception of Harris, who was shown seeming to have a bit too good of a time in his suite while his team was getting blown out below) that wasn’t going to be the case.

Told of Johnson’s X post after Thursday’s game, receiver Terry McLaurin said it was “a pretty fair assessment.”

But, McLaurin said, “I know we don’t have a lazy bunch. I know we don’t have a non-intense group of guys. That showing is not reflective of us.”


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