Football Team

Jonathan Allen doesn't care about the doubters, but believes in his team

Football Team

Washington's fourth consecutive win had a lot to be proud of and its team captain and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen was just that. 

He doesn't care about those who doubted the organization when they were 2-6. He also doesn't care that the Washington Football Team isn't loaded with star talent. 

"I'm so proud of the way we played. This is one of the games you look back to about grit," Allen said following a gutsy 17-15 Washington win in Las Vegas.

Just over a month ago the criticism was loud for a Burgundy and Gold squad four games below .500. Now after teams lost also in the NFC playoff hunt like the Vikings and Falcons suffered Week 13 losses, Washington certainly has begun to silence those critics. 

It's part of what fuels them.

"You guys, everybody who doubts us and doesn't believe in us - and rightfully so," Allen said when asked where Washington's desire and grit come from. "We're not a star-studded roster. We don't have those big celebrities. We're not an L.A. or whatever the case may be. We just don't care what anybody says, we believe in ourselves... Every NFL team is filled with stars and for us to go out there and do that was huge."

Allen helped lead the defense to important defensive stops throughout the game. Unlike years prior, that defensive effort was rewarded. 

"You know, it wasn't perfect. We have a lot of mistakes to clean up, but damn when you do something like that, that's special. I mean, (Taylor) Heinicke, what can you say about him. He just keeps on showing why he needs to be our quarterback."

 

Heinicke who had to get over overthrowing a costly interception with 7:03 left, a turnover that led to the Raiders marching down to take the lead via a field goal with 2:22 on the clock. He did so with poise, connecting with receiver Adam Humphries to set up Brian Johnson's game-winning 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left

"You can feel it from the guys. When I make a mistake they're there to pick me up. It's a great group of guys in there. We work hard together," Heinicke said.

Added running back Antonio Gibson postgame, "I feel like everyone has to have the same mentality when you turn over the ball. Mistakes happen, you just have to make the next play. We need him. He knows that."

Heinicke pointed out the resiliency from his offense to keep their heads in it after a lengthy scoring drought after a wondrous Logan Thomas one-handed snag got Washington on the board on the opening possession. Having to wait until the fourth quarter to score again required real dependability from the defense. 

RELATED: Ron Rivera gives another fiery speech after Washington win

"This was a total team effort here. You kinda go back and look at: we had a short week to prepare, they had 10 days to prepare; we had to fly out for four and a half hours. Kind of all the odds stacked up against us and we accepted the challenge," Heinicke said. 

To hold the high-flying Raiders offense, who coming off a shootout win against the divisional leaders in Dallas, to just 15 points speaks volumes on the resolve of the defense that was labeled as underperforming through the first quarter of this season.

But when the doubts from the outside grew louder, the fire in guys like Heinicke and Allen grew hotter. 

Allen re-upped a recurring theme for this Washington bunch. The experience of seeing firsthand struggles – from guys like Rivera going through chemotherapy during the season or watching Alex Smith complete one of the most improbable injury comebacks in NFL history – a new perspective on handling adversity was born for Allen and Co.

"It really makes your challenges not important. When you have a guy like Coach Rivera who you want to win for, you want to play hard for, Coach Del Rio - you want to win for them," Allen said. "When you're playing for someone more than yourselves that's when you start to see teams live up to their potential and even go beyond it."

From an emergency quarterback for last year's Wild Card game to now a starter completing multiple late-game comebacks, Heinicke is a prime example of going beyond his potential.

"I can't say enough good things about them, but everyone in there is resilient. Everyone in there is a warrior," Heinicke said. "We had a 2-6 record and we could have easily folded. The season could've gone totally different, but you know the guys wanted to battle and here we are at 6-6."

 

The Burgundy and Gold welcome the Cowboys to FedEx Field next Sunday at 1 p.m.