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Media roundup | Rivera calls victory over Packers 'a team effort'


Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera and several players addressed the media following the 23-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers. Here are some of the top quotes from their press conferences.

Ron Rivera

On his reaction to the win:

"Oh very much so. Just like you said, it was a team effort. A lot of good things on special teams, a lot of good things on defense, and some terrific things on offense. When you play in all three phases and make somethings happen, you give yourself a chance to win." 

On the difference between the way the team is performing now versus the four-game losing streak:

"Well, I think one thing is we've been able to limit the explosives. You know, that's something that's been haunting us a little bit. But again, I do think the pass rush, [Packer QB] Aaron [Rodgers] did some good things, got the ball out quick, but we were there. When you force a guy with his ability to throw the ball quicker than he really wants, I think that helps you on defense. I thought our guys were handling the run pretty well. They're a terrific running football team. To be able to slow that down says a lot about what we do on defense." 

On the difference in the offense with Heinicke under center:

"Well, we ran the ball effectively. We ran the ball 38 times for what, about 160-170 yards? So, when you can do that, you can chew the clock and you can possess the ball. It seems to be a pretty good formula. Looking at it, a lot of guys touched the ball and that's one thing I've talked about in this style of offense. If you can spread the ball around, if you can get the ball to the playmakers, it gives you a chance."

On Heinicke starting the game slow but bouncing back:

"I think it's the mentality he's had. It is an underdog mentality. The thing about him is we've got a tremendous amount of faith in what he can do. You look at the things that he does and the way he handles it. Understanding what his mistake was, understanding what he had to correct. It's all about timing. He was late on the throw. He was coming through his progression, he tried to throw the out and he was late. You can't do that. You've got to throw it a little bit sooner. Then you see it with the timing on the throw to Terry. It was about as good as it gets right there. He got back there, run out the play action, hitch, and just turned and let it go. It was a very well-thrown ball."

On the second play to McLaurin on the final drive:

"Yes, and that was pretty much it. I think it was a hell of a call by [offensive coordinator] Scott [Turner]. It really spoke to the confidence we have in Terry. I mean, that's why we did what we did in terms of signing him. Those are the kind of moments Terry is immense, and we've got to be willing to take those shots."

Taylor Heinicke

On getting a win against the Packers:

"Amazing. I grew up watching these guys, my dad was from Wisconsin. From the moment I was born, I was being a cheese head. I was watching Brett Favre and that's the reason I started playing ball. Grew up watching Aaron Rodgers do his thing and one of my last fond memories of my father is watching the Super Bowl when the Packers beat the Steelers where Aaron Rodgers did his thing. To come out here today and beat the Packers and Aaron Rodgers on our field means a lot to me." 

On what QB Aaron Rodgers said to him postgame:

"Honestly, I don't remember. I'm still a little starstruck when I see those guys. But again, he had some kind words to say, stay healthy and keep working hard." 

On if he plays each game as if it is his last:

"Absolutely. Two years ago I was out of the league, so every time I go out onto that field it's an opportunity for me to go play and play like its my last time. Because you never know. I'm just glad that we got the win today." 

On how the team feeds off his energy:

"I think it's kind of what she just said. Go out there and play like it's my last game. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, but that's just how I play. I think that's when I do my best. The team played great today. If it wasn't for that pick six, I think we'd win by a lot more. Defense did great, special teams did great, and the offensive line held up their end. I think we only had one sack, late fourth quarter. We ran for 160 yards, so if we can keep doing that, I think we've got a good shot."

On starting this year vs. last year:

"I think the biggest thing is experience. I think the more reps you get, the more comfortable you are and the more confident you are. I think I learned a lot from last year and really tried to improve on it in the offseason and in training camp. Obviously there's still stuff to work on but I feel really comfortable."

Terry McLaurin

On the importance of his last catch and the first down:

"Absolutely. On 3rd down, and we know who's on the other side of that field. We can't give them the ball with too much time. We knew we needed a first down and when I heard the play call, I knew it was going to come to me. That's the moment where I was extremely confident, because that's what you want as a player. When you put the work in and the time in, you'll be confident in those moments. Coach Rivera told us all week to be confident in ourselves and the confidence I get from my team to be in those situations and to make those plays is extremely humbling and I want those moments. I don't think it just happens, you gotta put the work in and you have to earn that respect from your teammates and then you gotta go out there and make a play. I'm just so blessed to be in this situation where I'm trusted to be a leader and make those plays in critical moments and it feels really good when you win." 

On his touchdown:

"Leading up to that point we've had some plays here, passing plays there, and when I knew the go route was on and I saw a man with no help. I don't necessarily take it as disrespecting me, but at the same time as a receiver, you see it and think that this is a great opportunity for myself. I have a lot of respect for [CB] Jaire Alexander and what he does in this league, but I have confidence in myself too. I bet on myself as well. I think Taylor couldn't have done a better job putting the ball where it needed to be, it's almost like it just came to me out of the sky. I told him that's probably our best route that we've had since we've been together. You can tell that gave a jolt to our offense and some energy. I was fired up because you want those moments to be able to come through for your team, to bet on yourself, to have your quarterback have confidence in you, your coordinator to have confidence in you. That's what you want as a player, that's what you ask for. To be in those situations to make plays and I think we were off to the races after that, so hopefully we can have more of that." 

On the adversity of the interception:

"I think we have a great group of veterans and leaders who've been in tough situations before and know that it is no time to panic when those things happen. Taylor did not show any signs of being rattled, he was encouraging us on the sideline and Carson was in there encouraging us to be ready for that moment and come through and make a play to change the game. This win feels really good because we finished that game defensively, offensively getting those first downs, special teams made some great plays. So if we can play complimentary football like that and overcome some of the mishaps, hopefully we can minimize them as much as possible, but when we can overcome and win the game it adds a lot of confidence to your team. Two weeks in a row we've gotten some wins and we're looking forward to the challenge of going to Indy next week." 

On having trust between him and Heinicke:

"As a player, I try to give him that confidence in the way that I practice and in our communication. When you get in those tough situations, you make the play. You just feel the energy when you make a play for your team. I believe that's a big reason why I'm here and the reason why I work so hard for those moments, to earn those moments, it's not just given to anybody. I know for myself that I want to continue to get better and continue to gain that trust from my guys, to be in a situation for that to come up again. That's such a very surreal moment, when you're in that situation and you're confident. Everything is calm and things are moving slow. I'm just extremely thankful and blessed to be playing here in a situation where I can make plays for this team." 

On how good Taylor's ball placement is:

"Sometimes things can get a little muddy when you're catching the football. You gotta run through the routes. But at the same time, for myself, I'm going against some really good corners as well and defensive backs across the league. I think what separates good receivers from receivers who have a chance to be great are the guys who can make those tough plays and those tough catches and I'm trying to work to be that kind of guy consistently. I want to be that guy who can elevate our team to be a workhorse, and I wanna also continue to spread the leadership throughout to the other guys on our roster. I think [TE] Armani Rodgers did a great job today, Curtis [Samuel] came through big, whole O-Line did a great job, the defense making plays, special teams as well. I know I get a lot of credit in these moments but it's not just me, it's the guys I get to play with. To be able to come here, on Alumni Weekend and get a win, I think that brings more energy to continue to believe in what we're doing. Continuing to get better but also have confidence. When you're prepared, you can go into the game confident. Be confident in yourself to make the play that needs to be made."

Charles Leno Jr.

On emotions during fourth quarter:

"Which part? The part where they were going with the laterals back and forth or my stomach was dropping to my "you know what"? But, I don't know. It was just a good battle. We knew what type of team they are. We know what type of team we are. We had to go out there and play four quarters. We did a hell of a job. All four phases, offense, defense, special teams and the fans. It was really good, even though a lot of Green Bay fans, our fans showed up. They were real loud, really into it, so it was a really good time."  

On the defense being able to hold the Packers 0 for 6 on 3rd down conversions:  

"It was a great job by the great coaching staff and the players executed.  A great job." 

On how it feels to have a two-game streak:

"It feels good. That's what you gotta do in this league is keep stacking the wins. That's been our mindset. We got a win last week, so we knew we had to stack another one. That's why you hear all this energy right now because wins like this against a team like that mean a lot and build confidence moving forward. Still got some things to clean up, but at the end of the day a win is a win and we'll take it and move forward."

Curtis Samuel

On his feelings about the winning streak:

"It feels great. Two wins back-to-back. I feel like we did a good job out there. Like I said before, it's just about one game at a time, taking it one week at a time, just being cued into our details." 

On the changes in QB Taylor Heinicke between the first and second half:

"I mean, you shake off the first half after not playing for a while. You go back out there and lead us to a win, which he did. Taylor's a heck of a player, you know what I mean. We love when he's out there, it's a great time." 

On if the offense feeds off of Heinicke's energy:

"Oh, yeah absolutely. I mean it's just one of those things where Carson [Wentz] went out unfortunately and he's gonna come in. We familiar with him as the receivers and we are gonna go out there and make plays. He's gonna move around the field. We understand that. We just gotta stay with him."

The Washington Commanders take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 7. (Emilee Fails and Kourtney Carroll/Washington Commanders)

Benjamin St-Juste

On how it feels to see the defense performing well:

"It feels great. I mean I knew that we had that, but the fact that it all cling together and get this win, it looks promising for the future and that's something we can do every week and go out there and collect those dubs." 

On his thoughts on why the defense has been playing well recently:

"I mean because we comfortable with each other now, you know what I'm saying. Like in the beginning of the season, we not sure like okay like how's this work, how's this scheme work, where do I fit in the scheme. Now, we're comfortable like people know each other, like how to play off each other. You can see it on the field how comfortable and how close we are. 

On holding Packers to 0- for-6 on 3rd down conversions:

"We been up there on 3rd down. We be getting the offense off the field, so that was our game plan. Nothing explosive obviously, we played against 12 [Aaron Rodgers], you know, 12 is a future Hall of Famer. You can't give him any gifts or explosive plays, so we wanna stay on top, don't give him any free balls, anything cheap and obviously put him on 3rd and long and it was very effective for us today."

Bobby McCain

On preparing for Packers' deep passing game:

"Just tryna challenge our throws and stay on top of throws. We know that when they throw all the screens they do and Aaron Rodgers, he sees it. He's gonna do what he wants to do back and there and, hey the more short passes, the better for us." 

On holding Aaron Rodgers' passing game:

"We gotta keep playing. Keep playing, keep going. That's, like you said, that's a Hall of Famer over there and, I could care less if they get it together or not. We just tryna get ourselves together, try to get win after win. Now, we gotta focus. Go home, celebrate, tomorrow go in, lock in for Indy." 

On holding Packers 0 for 6 on 3rd down conversions:

"That's huge, that's huge. That's what you wanna do defensively. We knew coming into the season, we knew third down would be big for us and getting off on third down is how you win football games, third down and the red zone."

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