Ron Rivera said he was not considering making changes to his coaching staff after the Washington Commanders lost a third game in a row, this time in humiliating fashion against the previously winless Chicago Bears.
The 40-20 home loss dropped Washington to 2-3 on the season. It was the fourth consecutive game the team has allowed 33 or more points, and the heat could soon be on Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio if they can’t stop that troubling trend.
With some extra time to prepare for the Atlanta Falcons up next on Oct. 15, it appears Rivera and Del Rio will remain the coaches in charge of making those adjustments.
“We’ve got 12 left to play, Rivera said Friday. ”There’s plenty of football left, and we haven’t had an opportunity to finish working on things that I talked about last night. We still got several things to go through.”
Several things to go through because not a whole lot went right for the Commanders, who fell behind 24 points at halftime and couldn’t stage a comeback. They were booed off the field by fans who again packed FedEx Field for a third sellout in as many games and chided on social media afterward by co-owner Magic Johnson for showing “no intensity.”
“That’s as bad as it gets,” top receiver Terry McLaurin said. “You don’t come to play, that’s what’s going to happen to you.”
For what it’s worth, edge rusher Chase Young said defensive players bear the responsibility, not Del Rio.
“I feel like we are prepared the best we can each week – just comes down to each individual doing their job,” Young said. “It’s nothing on Del Rio. Del Rio made good calls today. It’s not on him. It’s on us, the players, and we just got to start fast and hold each other accountable.”
Not much at the moment. Next question.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
A little bit of everything, but since the defense is already taking its fair share of blame, the offense deserves some as well. The Commanders went three and out on each of their first two possessions, during which Chicago built a 17-0 lead that became insurmountable.
“We’ve had a good plan, we’ve prepared well throughout the week – it’s just a matter of coming out and executing,” said quarterback Sam Howell, who had two touchdown passes, an interception and a career-high 388 yards passing. “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.”
One problem? A lack of balance from falling behind.
Rivera said he had “a little bit of concern” about the offensive line after Howell was sacked five more times to reach an NFL-high 29, but he also said the second-year QB needed to get rid of the ball faster.
Howell certainly had a lot of practice. Washington dropped back to pass 55 consecutive times from 8:49 left in the second quarter through the end of the game, which is not a recipe to win at any level.
Tight end Logan Thomas had nine catches for 77 yards against Chicago in his second game back from a concussion. Judging by Eric Bieniemy’s offense in Kansas City with Travis Kelce, tight ends can make a big difference, and, if all else fails, Thomas should be a nice safety valve for Howell.
Rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes Jr. got roasted for a second consecutive game and was eventually benched. The first-round pick has been targeted early and often every week until he got pulled off the field against the Bears in the middle of DJ Moore lighting up the Commanders.
Letting young players learn through mistakes is not sustainable with Washington aiming to win and contend for a playoff spot.
“Doing what we did with Emmanuel was kind of the indicator that we can’t go through this anymore,” Rivera said. “Now it’s time. We have to continue to put the guys out there that we believe are going to get it done the right way.”
All-Pro special teams player Jeremy Reaves left the Bears game with a knee injury. It’s unclear how serious it is.
307 – Yards Washington allowed in the first half to Chicago, while putting up just 84.
Rest up, physically and mentally, before going to Atlanta for what could be a matchup against former quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The Falcons don’t look like anything special, but given what the Bears just did to the Commanders, it would be unwise to underestimate any opponent.
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