In his first start since Week 4, Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins had an uneven outing overall in the team's 20-15 loss to Seattle.
But, the second-year passer did finish the game a lot stronger than he started -- something that stood out to head coach Ron Rivera following the game.
"I think [Haskins] started a little bit slow and was kind of feeling his way around things," Rivera said. "Then as he got settled in a little later, he started to be more effective and make some things happen."
Haskins completed 38-of-55 passes for 296 yards with a touchdown but also had two costly two interceptions. Both turnovers came after Washington had crossed midfield, too, and were headed into scoring position.
"We had moved the ball in the first half, but unfortunately, we turned it over," Rivera said. "When you get across the 50, you have to put points on the board to give yourself a chance to win football games."
Most of Washington's aerial production came over the final 30 minutes with the Burgundy and Gold trailing by two scores or more for much of that time.
Washington moved to a more up-tempo style of offense -- something Haskins had success with earlier this season -- and the unit began to move the ball a lot more effectively.
"I think the biggest thing was he settled in," Rivera said. "[Offensive coordinator] Scott [Turner] got him into a good rhythm a couple of times."
Additionally, Rivera felt that in the second half, Haskins did a much better job of going through his progressions and letting routes develop for his wide receivers.
"In the second half, I thought he distributed the ball a little bit better," Rivera said. "One thing you saw was he waited a little bit longer for those routes to develop a little bit downfield. Early on in the first half, he was getting the ball out a little bit quickly underneath instead of allowing the routes to develop. Once he started doing that, he started finding those guys a little deeper in the second level."
Decision making is something the second-year quarterback struggled with at the beginning of the season and much of that carried over to the first half of Sunday's game against Seattle. But as the day went on, Haskins played much sharper.
Haskins had the chance to lead Washington on a game-winning drive, with the home team trailing by five with just minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
But, after leading Washington as far as Seattle's 23-yard line, Haskins was sacked on consecutive plays before a Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete on fourth-and-long. The Seahawks would hold on for their 10th victory of the season.
Despite a strong finish to the game, Rivera said that Alex Smith would be Washington's starter moving forward, once he's healthy to play. So, while Haskins showed some signs of growth since he was benched, he'll be headed back to the sideline as soon as the 36-year-old veteran QB recovers from a calf strain.
"Alex Smith is our starting quarterback right now,' Rivera said. "It's one of those things where we have a set depth chart right now. Again, this is by health. And if Alex is healthy, he'll start."