From the moment Ron Rivera opted to go for two on Sunday, and the ensuing moment in which the play failed and Washington lost, it became clear that the decision by the head coach was going to be highly-analyzed in the coming week.
Some, including Rivera's players, were in support of the choice. Rivera has always preached a winning mentality, and this moment was just the latest example of it. Others did not see it that way, viewing it only as a major factor in what will be remembered as a loss.
Former Washington tight end Chris Cooley is firmly in the latter faction.
“I hated it, I hated it," Cooley said on The Kevin Sheehan Show podcast.
“It just didn’t make any sense to me in this moment," Cooley added.
The two-point conversion caught Cooley so off guard that he did not even realize what happened at first. Watching the game on a delay, he fast-forwarded through what he assumed would be a PAT attempt. Only after he went back did he realize Washington had gone a different route.
Rivera's decision surprised Cooley for multiple reasons. He felt like the offense was not "rolling" enough to feel like the Giants could not stop them. He thought it was strange to avoid overtime against a team he saw as inferior to Washington. And finally, the conversion wasn't actually the last play of the game, removing it from technically being the winning play.
All fair points, Cooley's notes are just a portion of the potential factors Rivera had to weigh at the moment. His ability to take that all in and be confident and to the point with the direction he wanted to go is something that impressed many. It was Riverboat Ron taking a calculated risk like he's done so often in the past.
Cooley, once again, disagrees.
To him, the Riverboat Ron nickname doesn't signify that Rivera always understands when to go all-in. It represents the fact that he is just somewhat guessing.
“That leads me to my fourth thing, which is why they call him Riverboat Ron. Because he doesn’t really know when to gamble and when not to gamble," Cooley said. "He doesn’t really know when to hit that sixteen against a ten or to stay on that sixteen against the ten. There’s no commitment to his choices in any given moment.”
“At one point he’ll go for a fourth-and-4, another moment on fourth-and-1 he’s going to punt," Cooley said. "It’s all gut-based.”