The 2020 season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its inaugural campaign under head coach Ron Rivera.
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On multiple occasions, he fired the ball instead of putting more touch on his passes and letting his receivers run underneath them. Haskins was making the right decisions on these plays, Rivera said; it was his inaccuracy that led to the incompletions.
But after starting the game 3-for-12, Haskins completed 14 of his final 19 passes to finish the game with 178 passing yards and a touchdown. More importantly, Haskins led a pair of second-half touchdown drives that allowed Washington to overcome a 17-0 deficit and secure a season-opening victory.
"He did some really good things, made some really good decisions," Rivera said of Haskins on Monday. "Once he settled in...he really took command of what we were doing."
Rivera highlighted Haskins' second drive of the third quarter, which lasted five plays, covered 20 yards and ended with a touchdown that brought Washington within three points.
Following a one-yard completion, Haskins delivered a perfectly timed pass to Steven Sims Jr. in between the linebacker and the safety. The result was a 17-yard pickup, and three plays later, running back Peyton Barber plowed across the goal line for a one-yard score.
"He showed confidence [on that drive]," Rivera said. "He stood tall, made some really good decisions, delivered a couple nice drives. It just looked like he had good command."
Haskins carried that momentum into the fourth quarter, when Washington orchestrated a 13-play, 48-yard drive to punch in the go-ahead score. Haskins faced two third downs of at least eight yards on that possession and converted both with completions to tight end Logan Thomas and wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.
Later in the drive, Rivera trusted Haskins and the offense to convert a 4th-and-1 from the four-yard line. Barber picked up the first down before finding the end zone moments later.
"Based on what [Haskins] did today and the way he responded after the first quarter -- taking what they gave, making plays when he had to -- really showed his resilience," Rivera said after the game Sunday. "And just the fact that he is starting to feel more and more comfortable as our starting quarterback, I was very proud of him."
Check out photos of the Washington Football Team during its regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr/Washington Football Team -- unless otherwise noted)
Martin and Christian respond after a slow start: Rivera did not mince words when talking about the left side of the offensive line Monday; early on against the Eagles, Wes Martin and Geron Christian Sr. got "hit pretty good." When Martin was not as stout as he needed to be on one play, Rivera went over to him on the sideline and said, ''Hey, drop your anchor, young man. You can play this game." When Christian "got lazy" on another play, Rivera told him, "Hey, keep moving your feet."
But as the game progressed, so did Martin and Christian, helping the offense score 27 unanswered points in the division triumph.
"Once the guys settled in and all of a sudden they made some things happen, you could see the confidence build up," Rivera said. "I think both Wes and Geron epitomized guys that started slow but all of a sudden realized, 'Shoot, I belong here. I can play.' That was pleasing to watch."
Secondary steps up in Kendall Fuller's absence: For the first quarter and a half, quarterback Carson Wentz carved up Washington's revamped secondary with 174 yards passing and two touchdowns. But from there, Washington limited him to 96 yards through the air and intercepted him twice -- both of which resulted in offensive touchdowns.
"Really pleased with what we got from Jimmy [Moreland] and from Kam [Curl] and from [Ronald Darby] and Fabian [Moreau]," Rivera said. "I thought [Troy] Apke and Landon [Collins] and Deshazor [Everett] -- all those guys got an opportunity to get out there. That's one of the things that's really been a blessing to watch has been the way the secondary has grown and developed and they're learning to work with each other."
Ioannidis and Kerrigan dominate in limited snaps: Matt Ioannidis and Ryan Kerrigan -- Washington's longest-tenured defensive linemen -- received a combined 52 snaps Sunday, but they made most of their opportunities. The duo combined for nine quarterback pressures, six combined tackles (three for a loss), six quarterback hits, 3.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
As a whole, the defensive line combined for seven of the team's eight sacks.
"Our D-line is different, and we know that," Moreau said. "It allows us to play fast. It allows us to do better. We know what it can do."
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