Sports

Rivera’s Controversial Decision Drops Washington into Last Place in NFC East

Washington Football Team quarterback Kyle Allen was successfully driving down the field with minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, looking to take the lead after the Burgundy and Gold fought and clawed their way back to tie the game up against the New York Giants on Oct. 18.

However, a promising drive crumbled away when Allen fumbled as Giants rookie linebacker Tae Crowder picked up the loose ball and scampered for a 43-yard scoop and score to put New York up by seven points, 20-13.

Nevertheless, on the ensuing drive, Allen responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a 22-yard touchdown throw to wide receiver Cam Sims in the back corner of the end zone as the Washington Football Team needed only an extra point to draw the game.

“He was able to bounce back, and sometimes in football, things don’t go your way, and it is how you respond,” said Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas. “I think Kyle [Allen] has shown this team’s character with those drives on the way back, and I think this team is building.”

Nonetheless, Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera rolled the dice resulting in a failed two-point conversion attempt, which dropped Washington to five consecutive losses in a heartbreaker as the Giants (1-5) secured their first victory, 20-19.

Affectionately referred to as “Riverboat Ron,” Rivera passed up an opportunity to tie the game and force New York to score with only seconds remaining. If New York did not prevent the score, it would have allowed Washington a chance to extend the game into overtime.

“I told these guys in the locker room, ‘Play to win,’” said Rivera about his decision to go for the two-point conversion. “The only way to learn to win is [to] play to win. That is what I want these guys to understand and that’s the mentality. If taking a little gamble is a part of it, then that’s what I’m doing.”

Washington got off to a rocky start when Allen led a lengthy 12-play, 44-yard opening drive that resulted in kicker Dustin Hopkins missing a 55-yard field goal wide right of the goalpost.

New York capitalized on that missed chance when former Washington kicker Graham Gano knocked down his field goal attempt from 20 yards out to take the lead, 3-0.

The Giants increased their advantage to 10 points after Allen threw an errant pass to Giants cornerback James Bradberry which led to Giants quarterback Daniel Jones hooking up with speedster Darius Slayton three plays later for a 22-yard touchdown.

Both teams traded field goals heading deeper into the first half, and Allen finally found some rhythm when he threw a beautiful fade to Thomas for a five-yard score to narrow the deficit within three points heading into halftime.

Allen put together a solid performance going 31-42 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and an interception by games end with the help of his leading receiver Terry McLaurin hauling in seven catches for 74 yards.

“I thought Kyle Allen was good today, but he had two takeaways,” Rivera said. “I thought he had a very productive day, and he moved us when we had to get moved…he threw touchdown passes when we needed scores.”

Jones struggled through the air offensively, throwing for only 112 yards but called his own number numerous times (seven rushes,74 yards) to keep his team in the game in a tight defensive battle during the third quarter.

However, Jones made a crucial mistake when he threw an interception to Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller thwarting a 64-yard drive down to Washington’s 11-yard line with seconds remaining in the third quarter.

Hopkins nailed a 28-yard field goal to tie the game on the following offensive possession. Still, it was all for naught despite Allen showing resiliency and poise to set up Washington for a prime opportunity to tie or take the lead in the waning seconds of the game.

Washington (1-5) now sits in last place in the NFC East but will have an opportunity to get into the win column against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at home.

“Unfortunately, we came out on the short end, and that is disappointing,” Rivera said. “Again, I really thought we had a chance. In the end, I went for two because I believe the only way to win is you play to win.”

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