That makes six straight seasons for the NFL’s Washington football team.
Sunday’s loss to the Cleveland Browns was embarrassing. Even more, it was discouraging and disheartening. It not only eliminated Washington from the 2022 NFL playoffs, but it also secured that this will be the sixth consecutive season Washington will not produce a winning record.
Washington has not enjoyed a winning record since barely earning one in the 2016 season, finishing 8-7-1. The previous year, Washington did win the NFC East at 9-7.
Jay Gruden coached the last two winning teams. Perhaps the major determining factor was that Gruden enjoyed much better play at quarterback than current head coach Ron Rivera. Kirk Cousins produced 4,166 passing yards (2015) and a monstrous 4,917 the following season.
However, Rivera has endured one quarterback struggle after another in his three seasons. Dwayne Haskins’ immaturity and poor play, Alex Smith reinjuring his limited leg, and Kyle Allen not developing as Rivera had hoped.
Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t even last the first half of one game, Carson Wentz didn’t live up to what Rivera gave up in the trade with the Colts, and Taylor Heinicke excited fans the most but couldn’t produce enough at the position.
Upon the Wentz trade, many Washington fans instantly took sides, demonizing one and making a hero of the other. However, the narratives on both sides did not hold up this season. Carson Wentz was not a big upgrade over Heinicke. Yet isn’t it also just as true that Heinicke was not nearly the winner many declared him to be?
In perhaps the biggest moments for both quarterbacks, did they not perform at their lowest? Wentz against Cleveland was so bad that after three quarters, he had only passed for 60 yards with a passer rating of 26.6. How could Wentz have performed so poorly?
Equally true, when Washington needed a home win over the Giants, Heinicke fumbled twice and could not convert in Giants territory as the Commanders were a woeful 1-10 on third downs.
Might Rivera decide to simply close the book on both and not have either return in 2023?