Ron Rivera on win over depleted Eagles: 'I'm not going to apologize for winning'

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Ethan Cadeaux
·3 min read
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Ron Rivera: 'I'm not going to apologize for winning' originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Washington coach Ron Rivera said on Monday that he will make no apologies for beating the Eagles, who seemed to give the team an easier road to victory on Sunday when Eagles head coach Doug Pederson pulled Jalen Hurts for third-string QB Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter.

No matter how the New York Giants felt about the end of the game.

"I'm not going to apologize for winning," he said.

Rivera wasn't done there, either.

"Honestly, truthfully, it doesn't matter. You play who's out there," he said. "Apparently, that's what everybody wants me to do, is apologize for winning. I'm not going to. You play the game as it's set up. Nobody complained when Pittsburgh did what they did last night against Cleveland. I mean, c'mon. That's just the way it is."

The Eagles were hardly the only team in Week 17 to play reserves, as several clubs did so after already had their playoff fate decided entering the final week of the season, one way or another.

"We're 7-9. I've been 7-8-1 in the playoffs. I was on an 8-8 team that was in the playoffs," Rivera said. "You don't apologize for getting into the playoffs. You apologize for losing in the playoffs, but you don't apologize for getting in."

Although Washington won the division despite a losing record, Rivera said the difficult road Washington traveled this season to win the NFC East title outweighs whatever happened on Sunday night.

"It's been a hard role for us. Nobody seemed to care about that," Rivera said. "Nobody cared two weeks ago when we were without some of our best players. Nobody cared last week when we didn't have them. Why should we be concerned when a coach does something he decides is best for his team?"

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Washington's offense saw the return of Alex Smith and Terry McLaurin on Sunday after both players missed the past week with various leg injuries. Smith also missed Washington's Week 15 loss to Seattle.

"We played two games without our starting quarterback, without our best wide receiver, without our best running back combination healthy," Rivera said. "And honestly, nobody cared. That's the truth of the matter. Nobody cared two weeks ago, nobody cared a week ago. The concern was there. Alex came in and did what we hoped Alex what do, and low and behold we got into the playoffs."

Rivera said he understands why some might be upset with Pederson's decision to pull Hurts, but made it clear that's not an issue of his.

"A lot of people are happy about it, a lot of people are unhappy about it. That's just tough," Rivera said. "That's just the way it is. So many things have happened in this world that are tough, that are hard. This is just the game we're playing, and we're going to play as it comes to us. I'm not going to apologize, I'm not. That's just the way it is."