Head coach Ron Rivera and several of the Commanders' players addressed the media after Thursday's 40-20 loss to the Chicago Bears. Here are some highlights from their press conferences.
On what happened:
"Slow start, first and foremost. We did not come out and slow them down. It's something we got to take a long look at and kind of understand why, more so than anything else. We're going to watch the tape, we'll look at what we need to do better. It starts at the top. We've got to be better and that part is on me. Then we got to make sure we're put in a position to be successful."
On breakdowns on defense:
"We got to look at the rotation of players, look at what we do, and make sure, as I said, we're putting them in position to be successful."
On whether the explosive plays are caused due to coverage or lack of pressure:
"I think some of it is just missed opportunities sometimes. It's not about going after the ball as much as it's securing the tackle. These are all things that we're going to look at and talk about, and we got a little time to do that now."
On what changes will be made after allowing at least 30 points in the last four games:
"We'll see. I'm not going to sit up here and talk about those things until we get an opportunity to break the tape down, go through the tape, sit down and talk as a staff, and then go from there."
On if the defensive play has stunned him over the last few weeks:
"There's reasons why things happen. You look at those things and those are things that we have to correct."
On how QB Sam Howell played:
"I thought he had his moments and it was unfortunate we didn't get anything going early on in the first quarter. It's kind of tough to get into a rhythm for him. Then we got a nice little rhythm going and we didn't sustain it. We turned the ball over. You turned the ball over twice. That's a tough thing."
Check out the best photos of the Washington Commanders during their Week 5 primetime matchup against the Chicago Bears. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)
On how he is processing the game*:*
"Yeah, it's tough. Definitely felt like it was a game we were capable of winning. It didn't come off to a good start, kind of put ourselves in a hole in the first half, tried to fight our way back in the second half, but we came up short. I think everyone needs to look in the mirror. I think everyone came out of the game knowing they can do something better, and I think as long as we make the improvements we need to make, we'll be fine. Obviously, it's still early in the season. We would like to have a better record than we have, but we still have 12 games left, and we still have a lot of time to prove who we really are as a team. I know one thing about this team: Tonight won't define who we are as a football team, and we'll be better moving forward."
On how he explains the slow starts to the game*:*
"We just got to do a better job of executing starting the game. I think we've done a good job throughout the season on those first few drives. Obviously, sometimes they haven't resulted in points. I think we've had a good plan, we've prepared well throughout the week, it's just a matter of coming out and executing. They didn't do anything that was different than what we thought they would do, it's just a matter of us going out there and doing what we're supposed to do and doing our jobs at a high level. Early on in the game, we didn't do that. It kind of put ourselves in a hole, but we'll be better from it."
On if tonight's loss erases progress from previous weeks*:*
"I don't think so. Obviously, it hurts right now, but I think the main thing is that everyone in that locker room knows what we're capable of doing. I think at times throughout the game tonight, you saw that. We got to do a better job of being more consistent. We're not panicking. We know the team we can be. It's just a matter of continuing to pull together, continuing to get better. We'll be alright."
On if it is disappointing that the team didn't come out hot*:*
"I think there's a lot of things about the game that were disappointing. We thought that we were the better football team, and we didn't play that way tonight. That's what I learned so far in the NFL. It's not the better team that wins the game, it's the team that plays the best that night. Tonight, the Bears outplayed us. Credit to those guys, but obviously we got to be better. We can't let things like that happen. Like I said, we will be better moving forward."
On how he feels after taking lots of hits*:*
"I feel alright. Body feels good. At the end of the day, I'm going to go out there and do whatever it takes to win. There were some times where I was trying to get the first down on third down, and I wouldn't take any of those plays back. I'd like to be in a position here we have more control of the game and I could do a better job of protecting myself, but we're down and out back is against the wall and I'm going to do whatever it takes. That's kind of how I've always been. I don't really worry about getting hurt or anything like that. I try to do whatever I can."
*On how he feels about the defensive performance tonight : *"We just played like [expletive] shit. We are not a good defense right now. We gotta own that. We gotta take that and we gotta be better. That's what's causing us to lose games right now. Defensively, we just were not executing. We gotta be better. "
On the talent of the Commanders defense:
"Everybody is talented in the NFL. It doesn't matter how talented you are, it's about how well you play together on any given Sunday. We just gotta play better. "
On how the Commanders can fix this:
"I mean we just got to own it man. We gotta take it one step at a time, we're not gonna fix every single problem at once. We're gonna look at this film and we're gonna move on. I think every single player on this defense needs to take a good hard look at themselves and see what they gotta do to improve."
Emmanuel Forbes Jr.
*On the first step he has to take to help himself get past this mentally: *"Honestly just keep going and stay strong."
*On what some of his teammates told him before the game: *"Rookies are gonna have moments like that. Just keep battling and keep going through it."
On what some of the locker room leaders are telling him to try and help him improve:
"They always got my back just like I have theirs. Just telling me to keep going to work every day and just keep getting better."
On why the Commanders keep having slow starts to games:
"I can't tell you exactly why. I mean it's just about us going out there and improving on it."
On how Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields and the Bears offense were able to be so successful tonight:
"They just went out there and they were able to make some great plays man. They just went out there and made some great plays."
On the next 48 hours in terms of looking in the mirror:
"Definitely watch the film, and then move on to the next game. We got no time to be dwelling on the past and we got a lot of football left and it's about getting better and improving each and every week."
On if the team was "hungover" emotionally from the long game this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles:
"I definitely wouldn't say that we were. It's a grown-man game, you know. We know what's expected each and every week and we know we gotta get it done."
On if he agrees that the team simply isn't playing well enough:
"I feel the same way. I feel the same way."
On how frustrating it is to lose on the national stage:
"That's as bad as it gets, honestly. The last two times that we've been at home haven't been good. A lot of people, myself included, we all got to get better."
On if he is shocked about how the game unfolded:
"Not really. When you don't get off to a fast start and a team that's hungry like that, fighting you for every play and every yard. They were capitalizing and that's what can happen. Record didn't really matter. I believed that coming into the week and if you don't come to play, that's what's going to happen to you."
On how difficult it is to have extra days off after a Thursday night game:
"It's dang near a good thing, honestly. It gives you time to get your body right and your mind right and change something before you get back on Tuesday. I think it's necessary. It doesn't mean you sit around and do nothing. I don't think that's going to help you get better. The next few days is time for us to all reevaluate."
On how he feels the team's performance was tonight:
"Yeah, I mean we spotted their team 24 points. Offensively, we didn't do our job. When it's going like that, you've just got to go play. You've got to go put points on the board and we just didn't do that. In the second half, we had some resolve and we fought, but when you put yourself in that hole, it's hard to climb back out of it."
On how frustrating it was for the team to perform poorly on national television:
"National TV or not, it doesn't matter. We want to come out here and play good football. We've been beating up on ourselves a couple of times this year, and this one's no different than that. You know, we've got a couple of days to reflect. Hopefully, everybody comes in with the right attitude going forward and we can get back in the win column. We've got a good team, and we just need to go prove it."
On if he was surprised by the team's performance:
"I mean, yeah it's surprising. Like I just said, we know we have a good team. We've just got to go perform and we've got to go do it. What we did in the second half was fine, but it wasn't good enough after what we did in the first half."
On why he thinks the defense hasn't been able to carry over their great play last year:
"Everybody is not doing their job. We've just got to play as one."
On what he thinks led to their struggles tonight:
"We started out slow as [expletive]. We've just got to start faster."
On if he feels the team needs to settle down a bit:
"Yeah, we definitely need to get back in the lab and see what's going on. Everyone needs to look in the mirror and move forward from there."
On if there's something he feels the team can do better:
"Not necessarily. Everybody just needs to do their job."