Sept. 11 (UPI) -- Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera was happy about a Week 1 win, but said he was disappointed in missed opportunities, vowed the players would become better and promised the victory was "just the beginning" of the team's growth.
The Commanders, who played their first regular-season game under new ownership, beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-16 on Sunday at FedExField in Landover, Md.
"We had opportunities," Rivera said. "Our guys have been working hard, practicing hard and getting better. For us to make those kind of mistakes, it was disappointing. I know we are all disappointed, but we are all thrilled. Believe me, I'm happy as hell we won, but we gotta play better.
The Commanders edged the Cardinals 21-13 in first downs and 248-210 in total yards, but had three turnovers. Quarterback Sam Howell completed 19 of 31 passes for 202 yards, one score and an interception. Running back Brian Robinson Jr. totaled 20 touches for 66 yards and a score.
But the Cardinals sacked Howell six times, exposing some weaknesses in the Commanders' pass protection.
Washington has posted a winning record just three times since 2007. The team went 2-6 in six postseason runs under former owner Daniel Snyder, who purchased operation in 1999 and sold it in July to a group led by billionaire Josh Harris.
Rivera presented Harris with a game ball in the locker room after Sunday's victory.
"I promise you, this is just the beginning for us," Rivera said. "We've got a lot of growing to do."
Rivera cited the turnovers, failure to catch interceptions on defense and poor decision-making as some of the issues players need to address. He plans to scan game footage to determine other ways the team can improve going into a Week 2 matchup against the Denver Broncos.
That game will kick off at 4:25 p.m. EDT Sunday in Denver.