The Washington Football Team could not overcome its mistakes in Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers and fell to 2-5 following a 24-10 loss. Head coach Ron Rivera and several players addressed the media prior to heading back to Ashburn Sunday afternoon to address the issues from the game.
Here are some of the key takeaways from their press conferences.
-- There were moments when the defense did play up to its expectations. Rivera called out the defensive line specifically as a group that fought hard and gave itself a chance. That effort even resulted in three sacks on Aaron Rodgers. But discipline and consistency continue to be an issue for the unit overall. Rivera highlighted the Packers' fourth down attempt in their opening drive as a key example. A player failed to use proper technique to contain Rodgers, and that allowed the quarterback to throw across his body to Davante Adams, who scored a 17-yard touchdown.
"If we're disciplined and we do our job and we finish it," Rivera said, "we keep them contained."
-- Rivera shared the interpretation he was given on why Taylor Heinicke’s quarterback sneak was not ruled a touchdown. The referees didn't say Heinicke failed to cross the plane on his second effort after he ran in the pile of players at the line of scrimmage, but they couldn't tell if his knee was down or not. The play went under extensive review, but since the play was called short on the field, there was not enough evidence to definitively overturn it.
-- When asked about week-to-week improvements, Rivera said he is seeing growth. The players have not quit, and they're fighting hard throughout games. He was pleased with the week of preparation, and that helped the team give itself a chance. However, that's when many of its issues -- inconsistencies, discipline and finishing drives -- came back to haunt the players. They're areas that Rivera is still dedicated to finding a remedy for sooner rather than later.
-- Rivera thought that Heinicke played well for the most part, and the quarterback agrees with that assessment. His final numbers for the day -- 25-of-37 for 268 yards with a touchdown and interception -- seem to back that up as well. Heinicke was quick to point out that he had inopportune mistakes. He had a strip-sack at the start of the third quarter, and his fourth quarter interception helped put Washington's comeback hopes to bed. He also added that had those mistakes and a couple others gone Washington's way, things might be different. It was a complete effort, he said, but those few mistakes proved costly.
-- The beginning of the game provided an emotional moment for Heinicke, given that he and his late father were avid Packers fans. He grew up watching Rodgers and Brett Favre, so being able to play against Rodgers was "a really cool experience."
-- There are no moral victories in the NFL, Terry McLaurin said after the game. He was proud of the way Washington moved the ball to start the afternoon, but that doesn't hide the fact that Washington only came away with three points in the red zone. There were plenty of opportunities -- McLaurin even called himself out for dropping an open pass in the end zone -- but the execution stalled when Washington was in scoring position. The team must do a better job, he said, and he knows the team will improve in that area.
-- On that note, McLaurin said games are won or lost based on how a team performs in third and down and red zone situations. The red zone issues have been discussed profusely, but its third down performance was just worrisome. Washington was 4-for-11 on such plays and also struggled on fourth downs with a 1-of-4 conversion rate. It's certainly a positive that Washington out-gained Green Bay, 430-304, but the Packers were able to stay on the field while Washington could not. Case and point: Green Bay scored 17 points off Washington's giveaways, which included a fumble, interception and a turnover on downs.
You can find the rest of Washington's press conferences here: