Head coach Ron Rivera and the Washington Commanders made a QB change going into Week 17, benching Taylor Heinicke for Carson Wentz. The switch didn’t go as planned with Washington losing to the Cleveland Browns, 24-10. After the loss, Rivera gave his honest take on the QB decision and if he still backed Wentz as the Commanders’ starter.
In the loss, Wentz completed 16 of his 28 passes for just 143 yards and three interceptions. Still, when speaking to reporters, Rivera backed his decision to start Wentz over Heinicke. Rivera stated, via Michael Baca of NFL.com, that the QB change was about winning and that Washington as a whole failed, not just Wentz.
“No, because to me it was always about winning and that it was in our hands,” Rivera answered when asked if he regretted starting Wentz. “I mean, we controlled our destiny basically and that’s the truth of the matter. Being 0-2-1 in the last three games was probably a thing that really pushed me more than anything else. And that’s what I looked at. I was relatively optimistic in terms of dealing with what Carson could do.”
Washington’s loss to the Browns dropped their record to 7-8-1. The Commanders have been eliminated from postseason contention. Wentz is still under contract for two more years, although Washington could cut him after this season for $0 in dead cap.
Heinicke impressed earlier in the season. He went 5-3-1 as a starter. However, his final three appearances led to an 0-2-1 record. Rivera thought the team needed a spark and went with Wentz. Now the Commanders season is over.
Washington has a lot to consider at QB next season. As for Week 17, Ron Rivera had no regrets on pushing all his chips in with Wentz.