With a victory over the 49ers on Sunday, the Washington Football Team is now winners of four straight. At 6-7, sole possession of first place in the NFC East belongs to them.
Despite a 1-5 start and countless battles with adversity in 2020, the group has continued to battle, and never given in. The top of the division is something they have fought for and deserve and Washington coach Ron Rivera wants them to know that.
"You are now relevant. You earned that, you earned that. Do not let anybody take that away from you. You have earned it," Rivera said in his postgame speech in the locker room at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. where the neutral site game was played. "For all the [expletive] we have put up, for everything we have had to deal with, you have earned the right to be the first place team in the NFC East. That’s who you are.”
With the division lead and the chance of the playoffs, however, comes more responsibility. While Rivera is proud of where his team is at, it's only the beginning.
As the momentum and potential continue to grow, they must now find a way to keep trending in the right direction. Earning the right to be viewed as the NFC East leader is one thing, but Washington has to continue that reputation moving forward.
“I’ll tell you right now, act like it," Rivera said. "Be professional, understand what it takes to be a professional, and do the professional thing.”
On a four-game winning streak, it's clear the team has found its footing at the perfect time. With just three contests remaining, things are beginning to click just as a run toward the postseason comes into the picture.
The look and feel of this Washington team is starting to mimic that of other teams in the past that have garnered the "team no one wants to see" label down the stretch. Rivera sees that too, and if his group can continue to build each week, he knows this success is just scratching the surface.
“Understand this, nobody, and I promise you nobody, wants to play us. I promise you that right now," Rivera said. "We’re on a roll and we’re doing things the right way.”
“Let’s continue to work, continue to work to do the things you need to do guys and give yourselves an opportunity to be very, very special," Rivera said. "Stay on point, stay on point now.”