Sunday, October 18, 2020


Washington Football coach Ron Rivera, in case you hadn’t heard, plays to win.

Well, at least for four quarters. After that? Apparently not as sure.

Rivera put his “Riverboat Ron” reputation on the line Sunday after his team came back from a 20-13 deficit to the New York Giants to score on a 22-yard pass from quarterback Kyle Allen to Cam Sims with less than a minute remaining.

With the score 20-19, Washington had a chance to easily tie the game at 20-20 and send it into overtime. Instead, he went for two points and Allen, scrambling around, couldn’t find a receiver and the ball fell incomplete into the end zone for a 20-19 win for the Giants – their first win of the season.

In the postgame press conference, Rivera gave what I am sure he believes is a valid explanation for his decision — a decision that ultimately lost the game.

There may have been other plays — many others — that contributed to losing the game for Washington, Allen’s two turnovers, an interception and a fumble, among them.

But in the end, Rivera’s decision was not simply between winning and losing. It was also between losing and continue to play to win.

“We went for two at the end because I believe that is the only way you learn to win is you play to win,” Rivera said.

So that’s not a lesson his team could have learned if they had a chance to take this game into overtime? What, it’s four quarters or go home?

“When you are on the road, I believe overtime favors the home team,” Rivera said.

Why, because the fake crowd noise would give the Giants some kind of advantage?

“I think the players wanted to go for it,” he said. “But again, it was my decision.”

Of course the players wanted it. They always do. Rivera, having played in the NFL nine years in the league, certainly knows the players’ mentality.

What they needed Sunday, though, was a coach’s mentality to give his players more time to win the game that Rivera had declared numerous times was a winnable game.

Now Washington has the Dallas Cowboys next week, the second game in Rivera’s winnable game tour in 2020. They go into it with a 1-5 record, having now just lost to probably the worst of these teams that Rivera determined were there for the taking.

And Allen will remain the starting quarterback, Rivera said, responding to a question about whether or not his guy showed enough to continue to be the starter.

“Yeah, I would like to believe so,” Rivera said.

Typically, I would cite Allen’s statistics for the game here in this part of the column. But Rivera did that for me.

“He was 31 of 42 for 280 yards,” Rivera said. “Unfortunately, he did have the interception and the fumble. We totaled 337 total yards. That gives us an opportunity if we are scoring points to be competitive in a game.”

Isn’t this what Dwayne Haskins got in trouble for inside their building — citing his statistics after a loss?

It is these confusing and conflicting messages from the coach that make it difficult to believe that he really has what it takes to change the toxic culture of Washington Football. Then again, nobody may be capable of that.

Haskins, who apparently recovered from his week-long stomach flu, made the trip for the game and was shown on the sideline at MetLife Stadium, not dressed since he was inactive. Comeback legend Alex Smith remains the backup, waiting for his chance to take seven sacks in a game, since the team seemed so enamored with the six sacks he took against the Rams they chose to promote it all week on social media.

But really, what does it matter? There’s a good chance not one of these quarterbacks is on the roster next year. There’s no future In Kyle Allen. Certainly not with Alex Smith. And Haskins, thanks to the leaks about his poor attitude from within the organization, is damaged goods, unless his friend Dan the owner manages to find time in between hanging on to this franchise to step in and say enough of Allen.

Based on another story from the Washington Post last week about sexual harassment within the organization under Dan Snyder’s tenure — this one about mistreatment of cheerleaders — the owner has his hands full these days.

Besides, like the rest of us, he has seen this show before — many times.

Hear Thom Loverro Tuesdays and Thursdays on the Kevin Sheehan Show Podcast and Wednesday afternoons on Chad Dukes Vs. The World on 106.7 The Fan.

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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