A wild win propels Commanders to best record in 5 years, playoffs become real

Wild win gives Commanders their best record in 5 years originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In Ron Rivera's first two seasons at the helm in Washington, his teams each finished the season with seven wins.

In Ron Rivera's third season in Washington, his team has seven wins before December with five left to play.

The latest win, a 19-13 thrill ride, wasn't too pretty in the rain and the mud at FedEx Field on Sunday but it now gets the Commanders to 7-5. That is their first time ever two games over .500 in the Rivera era. Washington hasn't been two games over .500 since 2018!

There is a discussion to be had about Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, but not today, as he keeps guiding this team to wins. Washington has won three in a row and six of its last seven, and with Heinicke as the starter this year the Commanders are 5-1.

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Washington is absolutely in the playoff conversation and with a home-and-home upcoming against the NFC East-rival New York Giants, Rivera's team controls the direction of the season.

Stock Up

  • Brian Robinson - The rookie runner has looked good for most of the last month but scored his most impressive touchdown of the season on a first quarter catch. As he ran down the right sideline with two defenders between Robinson and the end zone, he could make a few choices: go out of bounds, cut it inside, or go right at the Falcons defenders. Robinson chose violence, and crashed through both of the hapless Atlanta players to score the first TD of the day.

  • John Bates - The second-year tight end made an impressive touchdown catch in the third quarter where Heinicke hit him off play action for his second-career TD. Even with the score, what stands out most with Bates is his blocking. He's fierce at the line of scrimmage and athletic enough to get out in space and downfield.

  • Daron PayneA tackle for loss and nearly a sack on one of the biggest plays of the game, Payne's big year continues. And a tipped pass on the game winning INT. He continues to prepare to cash in with a new contract after the season.

  • Kendall FullerGame winning interception. A great play by Fuller that ended the Falcons' come back hopes.

  • Tress WayThe Commanders star punter locked in the win, taking a roughing the kicker penalty at the very end. Earlier, he'd pinned Atlanta inside the 5-yard line.

Stock Down

  • Clock management - Ron Rivera made a confusing decision just before halftime to not call a timeout and get more time for his offense. That ended up not mattering because Taylor Heinicke threw an interception as the 2nd quarter was ending. Still, it was weird. And don't forget Rivera also used a timeout with about eight minutes to go in the 3rd quarter.