Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera wrapped up his weekly Monday press conference following the team's 37-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills. Here are some notes and quotes from his time with the media.
-- Despite the game being out of hand in the fourth quarter, Rivera decided to keep Sam Howell in the game until the final drive. Rivera explained that decision a little further on Monday, saying that the team kept Howell in the game so he could learn and grow.
"The only way to learn and grow and get better is to play," Rivera said.
After the game, Howell said there was some benefit to staying in the game for the entire fourth quarter.
"It was just good to get some completions, especially on that last drive and just to move the ball a little bit, just because there were so many negative plays throughout the game, and everyone was kind of down but you're gonna have days like that. That's just part of life."
-- Rivera often spoke during training camp about Howell's ability to correct his mistakes. Now that the team is three weeks into the regular season, Rivera said "there's a point where sometimes you see too much."
"You go back, and you may see a flash and you think, 'Okay, I'm going to put it in there," and he does," Rivera said. "Other times, he sees a flash and thinks, 'Oh he's too close,' and now he tries to go somewhere else and it's a little too late."
Rivera believes that is part of Howell's development. He needs to learn, grow and overcome the obstacles that are in front of him. As Rivera reminded the media, Howell has only started four games, so his development is far from over.
-- Several Bills players talked about Howell's tendency to hold the ball longer than he should after the game. They referred to "anything after 2.5 [seconds] should be a hit or a sack," according to defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. Rivera would just like to see him release the ball before he gets hit, no matter how long it takes.
"I'm being serious," Rivera said. "Whether that's in your mindset saying, 'Okay, there is a two-and-a-half-second clock, which we all know and understand and believe it, but at the same time, because of his agilities and abilities, sometimes he can extend the play, which we've seen, and we've seen him do it successfully."
Rivera also added that there have been times where that little hesitation has cost him.
"We want him to continue to go with the clock in his head, but at the same time, we don't want him to miss opportunities if they're there."
-- Sunday's loss is tough on the entire team, but the Rivera said that the only good thing that can come out of losing is that "you can learn from it."
"That's what we intend to do, to learn what our mistakes were, learn what the things we didn't do right, get those things corrected and move forward. That's what we're gonna do. We're not gonna stay indoors because the sky is falling. We're gonna show up, we're gonna work hard and we're gonna get it corrected."
-- On the offensive line, Rivera said he thought the group fought and tried to do their jobs, but he also gave credit to the Bills' defensive front for putting them in disadvantageous scenarios.
"Some of the scheme things they did, some of the techniques that they used might have caught us a little bit off balance. We've gotta make sure we communicate it as it's happening."
-- Rivera also addressed the fumble by Antonio Gibson in the fourth quarter. There is certainly a little discretion that comes on any play, and it would have been better for Gibson to go down so the offense could continue the drive, but he also knows that Gibson was trying to provide some kind of spark for the offense, and he's not going to fault Gibson for trying hard.
-- The defensive line did not force a sack on Sunday, and Rivera said that he believes "Josh Allen got into our guys' heads after the first couple series."
"The coverage was good, but they had gotten to him and forced him out of the pocket, and a guy with that kind of ability can stretch a play, get outside. There's a frustration that comes with it, too, when you feel like you should be making a sack, you should be making a play. It gets to guys."