Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera earned the nickname “Riverboat Ron” during his time with Carolina for his penchant for being aggressive on fourth down and in other high-pressure situations.
However, since taking over as Washington’s head coach in 2020, fans would probably tell you Rivera is anything but “Riverboat Ron.”
Earlier this season, the Commanders scored a touchdown at the end of regulation at Philadelphia. They had two choices: Play for overtime or go for the win. Rivera played for OT and explained afterward he felt his team was gassed.
He received criticism for the move, while others defended him. There was no right or wrong answer on what he should have done, just speculation.
In Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Rivera was faced with the same decision again. Once again, Rivera chose to kick the extra point.
Before we get to Rivera’s explanation for his decision, let’s understand there were differences. Even if Washington had gone for two points and succeeded, the Seahawks still had 52 seconds to get a game-winning score.
Here’s Rivera’s explanation:
“You know, in talking and trying to get a feel for it, the biggest thing that you get concerned with is how much time was left.
“Because, again, they don’t have consequences, now the opportunity to move the call down comes into play, you know what I’m saying? They had two timeouts left. So, again, it was one of those things I liked our chances going into overtime. I liked the way we moved the ball. We found a couple of things we felt we could exploit, and we did. We did it twice in the last couple of drives. Felt good going into overtime.”
That’s a perfectly fair explanation from Rivera. He is saying that if his defense could get a stop, he had confidence his offense could win in overtime. What he’s not saying is he knew his defense couldn’t make a stop.
Would Seattle being behind have changed its strategy? That seems unlikely. The Seahawks could do everything they wanted on Sunday, and whether they were tied or behind with 52 seconds left wouldn’t impact their offensive plan on the final drive.
What are your thoughts on Rivera’s decision?