Written by Stephen Whyno, AP Sports Writer.
Ron Rivera returned to the locker room in LANDOVER, Md. and noticed Sam Howell sitting at his locker with his head down. He then asked the young quarterback, “Are you doing okay?”
Rivera leaned forward and conversed with Howell for nearly a minute before patting his right leg in a supportive manner.
Several people came to comfort Howell after his NFL career’s worst game resulted in another embarrassing loss during a season that already had a few of them.
During Sunday’s match against the last-place New York Giants, Washington suffered a 31-19 defeat at home, which may be considered the lowest point of Rivera’s coaching career thus far. Howell was responsible for three interceptions, contributing to a total of six turnovers for the Commanders.
After the unpleasant game, things got worse when the stadium did not have any hot water for the players to shower.
Rivera expressed disappointment 11 games into his fourth year with Washington, stating that it was a low moment. He emphasized the importance of capitalizing on opportunities to win and meeting expectations despite facing challenges.
His team was defeated by the Giants (3-8) for the second time this season, with undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito leading the way and earning his first NFL victory in his second game as a starter. The Commanders (4-7) were unable to secure a win.
Washington has lost seven of nine since opening with back-to-back victories, falling out of the playoff race despite a mediocre field of teams competing for three NFC wild-card spots.
Right guard Sam Cosmi stated that the game was winnable. However, he expressed frustration at the team’s inability to secure a victory, noting that the excessive turnovers and sloppy gameplay left him speechless.
In the final moments of the game, Isaiah Simmons intercepted Howell’s pass and ran it back for a 54-yard touchdown, putting an end to their late comeback attempt. This loss has brought attention to the future of Rivera, the coaching staff, and front office, as it is the first season since Josh Harris’ ownership group took over the team.
Despite being favored by more than seven points, the Commanders made multiple mistakes, including fumbling by Logan Thomas after a catch, Byron Pringle on a kickoff return, and Chris Rodriguez Jr. on a run.
Unexpected selections made by Howell, who has been praised by both players and coaches as a potential quarterback for the franchise’s future, occurred during the first and fourth quarters.
Howell, with a completion rate of 31 out of 45 passes for 255 yards, acknowledged that the high number of turnovers led to the team’s loss. He takes responsibility for his role and acknowledges the need to improve in protecting the ball. He regrets not giving his team a chance to win.
The freebies prevented Washington from making a comeback against New York, who scored a touchdown in the first quarter for the first time this season. The Giants were in the lead the entire game and secured their first win since Oct. 22, when they defeated the Commanders 14-7 at the Meadowlands.
On the East Coast, the outcome remained unchanged despite DeVito replacing the injured backup Tyrod Taylor. The 25-year-old third-stringer, who resides with his family in Cedar Grove, New Jersey, successfully completed 18 out of 26 throws for 246 yards and three touchdowns: two to Saquon Barkley and one to Darius Slayton.
Coach Brian Daboll expressed his confidence in Tommy, acknowledging his hard work and praising the entire team for their efforts. He also commended the team’s victory and expressed his pride in Tommy.
The Giants were in control even though DeVito was sacked nine times and the team had no rushing yards in the first half. The defense rose to the occasion, led by Nick McCloud who forced a fumble and made his first interception, contributing to several key plays by the team.
In a game that brought him back down to reality, Howell was sacked four times. This was a tough game for the second-year pro, who had entered with the most passing yards in the league. Despite this, he managed to throw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jahan Dotson late in the game and led a final drive that brought them to the New York 48. Unfortunately, his third interception ultimately sealed their fate.
According to Rivera, it’s essential to avoid turnovers and big plays in order to succeed. While he acknowledges that Howell showed promise, he also made a questionable decision early on. Overall, Howell had some strong moments and was able to move the ball effectively, but it’s important not to make mistakes that can ruin the team’s progress.
Commanders safety Xavier McKinney shoved Howell out of bounds after officials had signaled a touchdown on his run in the second quarter. That set off a melee in the corner, leading to the ejections of Cor’Dale Flott and Commanders receiver Curtis Samuel.
The Giants’ Slayton suffered a right arm injury and was unable to continue playing in the second half. Offensive tackle Evan Neal and cornerback Adoree Jackson both missed their second consecutive week due to an ankle and concussion, respectively.
Leaders: DE Efe Obada had to be carried off the field after sustaining a right leg injury during the sixth play. … RB Antonio Gibson was unable to play due to a toe injury. DE James Smith Williams and FB Alex Armah were both sidelined with hamstring injuries.
The Giants will be hosting the New England Patriots next Sunday.
Leaders: Make a trip to Dallas on Thursday for the annual Thanksgiving Day home game of the Cowboys.
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