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Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera announced on Wednesday that Sam Howell has been benched and that Jacoby Brissett will start Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

That is the official news. The obvious news came on Sunday during the Commanders’ 30-28 loss to the New York Jets — Washington is going to draft a quarterback, and if they play their cards right and lose the final two games (a very real possibility) that quarterback could be available as soon as the second pick in the draft.

The Season of Sam is taking a timeout, according to Rivera, who said, “We’re going to go forward and have Jacoby as our starter. I think it’s probably a good opportunity for Sam to take a break. This is about Sam’s continued development, and things haven’t gone as well as we’d like the last few weeks, so it’s just a good opportunity for him to watch.”

Howell completed just 6 of 22 passes for 56 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns against the Jets, before Brissett entered and for the second straight week got the offense moving, going 10-for-13 for 100 yards and a touchdown.

When Howell was benched the previous week in the third quarter with the team down by 20, Brissett brought the Commanders to within a touchdown of the Los Angeles Rams, which led some of us to outwardly wonder why Brissett hadn’t played more when the season actually mattered.

The Commanders picked Howell in the fifth round of the 2022 draft and, after spending his rookie season as a backup, he has come through with some good moments and, of late, a lot of bad moments. The 4-11 Commanders are not interested in getting Howell any deeper than he already is.

Maybe Sam Howell will be the future of the Washington Commanders, who’s to say? One thing is certain, though — he’s going to have some fresh, new company in the quarterback room next season …

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always felt the PITTSBURGH STEELERS have played with a little extra snap when Mason Rudolph has had to play quarterback for them, and that snap was clear and present last Saturday when he passed for 290 yards and led the Steelers to a 34-11 stomping of the Cincinnati Bengals.

It was just a different offense. It was a different team.

The 8-7 Steelers are going to need some help to get to the playoffs, but if they are able stay on track and win at Seattle and Baltimore the next two weeks, they’ll need even less help.

I’ve been telling you all season not to count them out, but some Steelers fans aren’t happy unless they’re miserable.

Don’t count the Steelers out.

DISTRACTION? TAKE YOUR PICK: One of the dumbest narratives I’ve ever heard in years of watching #NFLTheTVShow came this week when former NFL players Keyshawn Johnson and Michael Irvin responded to a social media post made by Skip Bayless during whatever afternoon scream show the three of them are on and said that Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s antics are “a lot” and are contributing to the Kansas City Chiefs’ recent losses on the field.

Bayless called Swift “a distraction” in his social media post.

I make a point to not pay attention to anything Bayless says, which doesn’t mean he’s not right about some things; but, frankly, I have neither the energy nor the interest for him or for any of the so-called talk shows that fill space in the 24-hour news cycle to even watch.

As for Johnson and Irvin, correct me if I’m wrong, but throughout their playing careers they both seemed to thrive on creating attention for themselves as well as distractions for their teams while they were important members of their respective teams. Taylor Swift sits in the stands, or in a private box, while her boyfriend is playing football. I doubt very seriously she has any input or actual contact with anybody on the Chiefs team while the game is taking place.

I have nothing against Taylor Swift. Couldn’t name one of her songs, but why does it seem to bother so many people that she’s so famous and popular and has a famous boyfriend to boot?

If anything is a distraction it’s having to see her so many times during a Chiefs game, but I don’t believe that’s anything the Chiefs themselves are aware of while they’re trying to win football games, which, of course, they haven’t been doing with much regularity these days.

Hey, Swift and Kelce are stars — big stars — in their respective fields and are going to gain attention wherever they go. What’s wrong with that? I doubt the suits at #NFLTheTVShow headquarters mind it one bit, because any publicity is good publicity. That’s the first rule of show business, which is what the NFL is.

If there is a distraction for the Chiefs, maybe it’s all of the passes their receivers drop, or all of the stupid penalties they commit that cost the team games; or maybe it’s all of the insurance commercials the team’s quarterback and head coach are making, which, frankly, I find to be far more annoying than seeing Taylor Swift.

Jealousy is an ugly thing, and we see that anytime we are subjected to Skip Bayless’ lazy and desperate takes.

Mike Burke writes about sports and other stuff for Allegany Communications. He began covering sports for the Prince George’s Sentinel in 1981 and joined the Cumberland Times-News sports staff in 1984, serving as sports editor for over 30 years. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MikeBurkeMDT