Commanders’ Ron Rivera suggests he was unaware team could be eliminated from playoffs with loss

Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera raised eyebrows on Sunday with a puzzling answer to a question about the team’s playoff scenarios following a loss to the Cleveland Browns.

For the Commanders to make the playoffs on Sunday, the team needed to beat the Browns, get a Seattle Seahawks and Detroit Lions to lose and the Green Bay Packers to lose or tie. But they didn’t hold up their end of the bargain and by the end of the day were facing elimination.

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Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera speaks with an official in the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. 

Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera speaks with an official in the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, in Santa Clara, Calif. 
(AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

Rivera suggested in his postgame press conference that he wasn’t aware of the threat of being eliminated from playoff contention before the game. He made the switch to go with Carson Wentz as the starting quarterback over Taylor Heinicke. Washington lost 24-10.

He was asked about the quarterback strategy for Week 18 if Washington was eliminated.

“We can be eliminated?” Rivera asked after pausing for several moments.

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According to ESPN, Rivera later said he was frustrated by the question and didn’t have any strategy for them losing because he didn’t think the team would.

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the game at FedExField on January 01, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. 

Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the first half of the game at FedExField on January 01, 2023 in Landover, Maryland. 
(Todd Olszewski/Getty Images)

By Sunday afternoon’s end, all the teams that the Commanders needed to lose won and brought their chances of making the postseason down to zero.

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Washington lost two out of their last three games with a tie against the New York Giants in Week 13 their only plus on their recent docket.

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