Football Team

3 reasons why Rivera's choice to go for two was the right one

Football Team

A lot of people disapproved of Ron Rivera's decision to go for two at the end of Sunday's game against the Giants. 

Even more people hated the move after the attempt failed and Washington lost at MetLife Stadium.

Here's why, despite the unsuccessful pass, Rivera was right to keep his offense on the field instead of kick the extra point and play for overtime.

1) It allowed Washington to control their fate

Some will shudder at the above statement, and it's difficult to blame them. However, it's how every NFL squad should want it.

Had Rivera opted for the PAT, and assuming Dustin Hopkins made it, the Burgundy and Gold would've headed to OT with New York. There, they'd have to hope that the coin toss went their way, which is, obviously, unenviable. 

If they won the flip, then they'd have to produce another long drive. That could've just as easily resulted in another disastrous Kyle Allen mistake.

If they lost it, meanwhile, then they'd first have to prevent the Giants from scoring before trying to score for themselves. The defense did limit Daniel Jones and Co. for most of the afternoon, sure, but they're also more prone to giving up chunks than any other operation in the league.

In short, by kicking, Rivera would've extended the action yet also expanded on the amount of things that could've gone wrong. By going for it, on the other hand, he put his team in a very simple situation: To pick up a victory, go pick up two yards.

 

That's as cut-and-dry as it gets. Unfortunately, Allen just couldn't execute to make the gamble pay off. 

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2) The Giants' defense was worn out

If you exclude Daniel Jones' final two kneel downs, here's the time of possession comparison in the fourth quarter:

  • Washington: 12 minutes, 25 seconds
  • New York: 2 minutes

Along those same lines, the drive that Allen led to bring his side within one point spanned 10 plays and 75 yards and, as far as end-of-game marches go, was relatively easy and smooth.

So, at the time they lined up to stop the two-pointer, the Giants' defense had been on the field for nearly the entire quarter and they had just been knifed through for a TD. If there was a time to look to take advantage of an opponent, that was it. 

3) It fit in with the mindset he wants to instill in the franchise

Yes, Rivera has been a bit all over the place with some of his in-game choices in 2020. He's talked often of developing a go all-out mentality, but his calls haven't always mirrored that approach. 

Pushing for two, though, is one call that absolutely does match the mindset he's discussed a lot since becoming coach.

"The only way you learn to win is to play to win," he said afterward when explaining his aggressiveness.

That sort of attitude cost Washington in Week 6, but if Rivera has his way, the short-term pain from missing the conversion will result in a long-term gain. He got back to showing his players he believed in them, which is always the right message to send to a locker room. Always.