Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and several players addressed the media after their 38-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Here are some highlights from their press conferences.
On what the explanation was from the referees on the incompletion to WR Jahan Dotson at the end of the game:
"They told me that New York decided it wasn't a completion and I struggle because it took them so long to get it correct that you'd think that they didn't emphatically know that it was an incompletion. It did look like the left hand was under it. When you get a chance to see the replay it helps you. I was looking up at it and I did see Jahan's right hand come up, but I saw his left hand under it. So, that's what I was told was that it was decided by New York that they felt it was incomplete."
On why he didn't challenge the completion to Eagles WR DeVonta Smith that appeared to be incomplete:
"Because I didn't see it on the screen. I was looking up at the screen to see if there was something that could help me with it. Then I was waiting to hear somebody upstairs on if they had seen it or not. We hadn't seen the replay, so we weren't sure. They did their hurry up, ran up to the line and snapped the ball. You almost think that in that amount of time somebody else could have looked at it and saw if it was complete."
On his emotions after a loss like that:
"Disappointed. These guys came out and played hard. We gave ourselves opportunities and we missed some opportunities, and we just have to go back and take a look at it and see why."
On his message to the locker room:
"If you can do that for four quarters against an elite team in the NFL, you should be able to do it any time that you want. Our focus is we have nine games left to play. We'll play them one game at a time, and we'll focus in on what is coming up next."
On the trade deadline:
"I'm not going to answer any questions on personnel. I'll talk about the game we just played. I'll talk about the future game that we're going to play. I'm not going to get into personnel."
On the frustration level when losing a close game to a top team in the NFL and on not performing like this against the Bears and Giants:
"I'll be honest, the Bears game, that was a tough one because it was Thursday Night. To be honest, that is on me because I thought we would get past the loss because of how tough it was. With this one, I've got to make sure we get back quicker and get ready for New England. That is all I will say on it. That is the frustration is when you play teams like that, you should be better. We really should because it is in the locker room. There is enough potential in that locker room to be a better football team."
On the pass protection in today's game:
"Yeah, I mean, I thought those guys up front did a really good job today and I thought we did a good job. [Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] did a good job of mixing things up and getting the quick game call and had a lot of screens called today as well. We did a lot of things to keep them off balance. We did a lot of good things, but we had an opportunity there in the fourth quarter to have a chance to go tie the game and I got to be better. I wasn't my best when my best was needed and it hurt the team today."
On how disappointing it is to come up just short against the Eagles twice this season:
"Yeah, very disappointing. You know, obviously both games against these guys we felt like they were games that we could have won. I think we're just right there. But at the end of the day, we let another one slip away from us and we just got to come back and regroup. Stay positive and just take it one game at a time and move on to next week."
On how important it is for the team to see the offense moving the ball:
"Yeah, I think all we were doing was creating momentum. I think when you have a bunch of different players getting involved in the game and we're moving the ball in different ways, I think it just creates more holes, more openings for the offense and it just helps more guys get open and get more involved. I thought we did a good job today. I thought [Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy] called a great game. Did a good job to put us in position to have a chance to win. Just got to find a way in the fourth quarter to finish the game and finish with a victory."
On if he got an explanation on the incomplete pass call late in the game:
"No, honestly I didn't even know, kind of what was going on. I thought when we got the first down, I didn't even know that it was any question that you caught it. Then the ref came up to me and said that they reviewed it and said it wasn't complete. So it is what it is. But yeah, tough break for us. Still had chances and still got to find a way to get it done."
On if he had a conversation with WR Terry McLaurin following his two drops in the fourth quarter:
"Yeah, for sure. I mean, I just told him I gotta give them a better chance. The first one I was trying to stop him, but his job was to stay on the move. I was kind of more worried about the corner falling off of the outside route we had. So, Terry did a good job, got open on both those routes. People might say they were catchable, but at the end of the day I gotta make his job easier. Terry's a great player and I gotta do my part."
Check out the top photos from the Washington Commanders' Week 8 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles. (Photos by Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)
On how he would sum up the game:
"We just didn't make the plays necessary to win the game. That's where it starts for me. Those are plays that I make. Tough play or not, those are plays you have to make and I take full accountability for not making those plays. If I make one of those plays, it's a first down and we're still rolling and have a chance to score points. I'm not going to speak for other people, I can only speak for myself, I have to be better and I'm going to be better. As a team we just have to collectively make our plays when it comes down to crunch time. If you want to beat good teams like the Eagles, that's what you have to do."
On what happened on the two plays where he dropped the ball:
"We had a third down, out-route, deep corner I'd say. I was taking the high and the ball was where it was and I still feel like I could have caught it. You can take a look at the play, I feel as if I could have slowed down a little bit more in zone coverage, that's why perhaps [QB] Sam [Howell] was trying to stop me with the ball a little bit. But at the end of the day, I have to make that play. The second play was similar, I had an in-route, in the soft part of the zone, maybe if I can have a little better body language, then he can drive the ball a little better. Even so, both throws were within my reach, so I just have to better, and I'm going to be better."
On how the team can continue to put points on the board like they did today:
"I think it's just putting four quarters together and that starts by guys making plays for four quarters. I think we had a good game plan today. We were moving the ball, not bad in the red zone. But it's still going to come down to critical plays in the NFL, that's what it comes down to. The teams that figure out how to make those plays, win those games."
On how he evaluates the team going forward:
"I see a group of guys that need to come in on Tuesday and find out a way to get better. Find out a way of making critical plays, including myself. I'm one of the leaders of this team and I pride myself in making tough plays, so I have to be better in those situations and I'm going to be better. I take accountability for the tough plays that I missed and I'm going to continue to encourage the guys to do the same. When we don't shoot ourselves in the foot, we make tough plays, we're a team that's competitive and have chances to win games. But when you don't quite make those plays, when you need them the most, it's hard to beat really good teams. So, as we move forward, we just have to figure out how to stay ahead of the sticks, not shoot ourselves in the foot, and when it comes down to it make critical plays when you need to."
Brian Robinson Jr.
On if he felt like he saw some growth from QB Sam Howell today:
"Definitely. I see growth from Sam every week. That's something we speak about and we work on. I expect to see him continue to grow week-in and week-out."
On assessing the offense today:
"I think we prepared very well. We always talk about starting fast and I feel like we came out and did that. We also talk about finishing strong. That's something we have to continue to work on, work on finishing. When we have the lead and the momentum, we have to find a way to keep that lead and momentum going in our direction."
On playing the Eagles tough but coming up short both games:
"It can be frustrating playing tough games and losing. But we have to find out a way to be able to pull off those wins when it's a tight game, and we're playing against a very good team."
On if he thinks that people are just starting to notice his potential as a pass catcher:
"Definitely. The more opportunities I get, the more I can show my ability to catch the ball, and make plays in the passing game. I look forward to that."
On what disappoints him the most about today:
"Losing. I hate to lose, especially when we were in a great situation and position to pull out the win. Not finishing, allowing them to gain the momentum back, and letting them take over the game was very disappointing."
On if there is something he thinks the team needs to be doing every week that they aren't:
"It's in the air, but not necessarily, though. I just lean on my brothers and play for the guys next to me. We have a strong group, so, yeah."
On how much he has talked to his agent about the possibility of him being traded.
"It's just talks here and there. I mean, [he's] just trying to keep me ahead of the curve. Anything can happen, but I can only control what I can."
On his thoughts on the possibility that this was his last game playing beside his friend DE Chase Young:
"Yeah, that thought goes across your mind, but you hate to think like that. Once again, it's out of my control."
On his thoughts on Chase Young saying that it would be weird not playing together:
"Over the past couple of years, we have really developed a comradery and strong friendship. It would definitely be detrimental to split us up, but that stuff is out of our control. I know even outside of this that I've got a friend for life."
On if it is hard to stay focused with trade rumors swirling around about him:
"I think just keeping the game, the game. Like I said, our focus was on Philly. I think we kept it like that. It's in the air, but at the end of the day, we have a game to play and a job to do. I intend on doing that job to the best of my ability."
On if it is tough playing the Eagles in close games so many times:
"Yeah, definitely. Yeah, I definitely just want to win for sure."
On if it is hard to concentrate with the trade rumors circulating around him:
"My job is to play football, and that's what I'm going to continue to do."
On if it is frustrating having played the Eagles at a high level three times in a row, but not playing at that level against other opponents:
"You said it. It's tough. It's tough for sure. I don't have anything else to say; it's tough."
On what his emotions are about the possibility that he or DE Montez Sweat is traded before their next game:
"I mean, that's my brother, man. Twin towers, we are rocking for life. That's not going to change if we aren't on the same team."
On if he is worried about what might happen next:
"I don't worry. Anything can happen so I don't worry about nothing."
On how he evaluates the team at this point and if he still wants to be a part of the team:
"That's out of my control. In terms of evaluation, I'm going to go back and evaluate myself, see where I made mistakes, and hold myself accountable."
On if he is still happy in Washington:
"For sure. I love Washington."
On what his message is to the rest of the team after all of these losses:
"Just empty the tank every game. Give it what you've got. Just think, every game that we lose, give it your best."