Ron Rivera wanted no part of any tie or overtime Sunday against the New York Giants.
Washington scored a touchdown on a Kyle Allen pass to Cam Sims with 36 seconds left to play, pulling the Football Team to within one point of the Giants, 20-19. Instead of kicking the game-tying extra point, Rivera kept his offense on the field and played for the win.
The two-point try, however, was smothered by the Big Blue defense. Allen was flushed from the pocket and threw a harmless duck into the turf as he was hit. The Giants got their first win of the season.
Rivera defended the decision to play for the win, noting he wants his players to have a personality of always playing to win.
"The only way to learn how to win is to play to win," Rivera said, via SI.com. "I told them in the locker room, I said, 'Guys, I play to win,' that's part of my philosophy.
"The mentality has to be we have to do certain things to win football games and if taking a little gamble is part of it then that's what I'm doing ... The players wanted to go for it, but it was my decision."
Playing to win should be a 60-minute mentality, not just on the final play.
Washington got down 10-0 in the first quarter to the previously winless Giants.
Rivera's team clawed its way back for a 13-13 tie midway through the fourth quarter. Allen -- who the coach turned to after benching Dwayne Haskins -- then fumbled on a sack with less than four minutes remaining that was scooped up for a Giants TD. That play led to Washington's seven-point deficit in the final minute.
Rivera was hired to help change the culture after years of mismanagement in Washington. He's putting his stamp on the squad with his decisions, from benching a first-round QB to going for the W Sunday. Agree or disagree, Rivera is doing what he feels is best to turn around a club lost in the wilderness.
"I'm trying to get our players to understand this is how we're going to do things. We're going to do things to the max. We're going to play to win football games. It's going to bug me because we lost," Rivera said, via 106.7 The Fan. "It's going to piss me off. I want to win football games. I don't care this is my first year. I don't care we have young guys that have to learn. We're trying to teach them. We're going to teach them and they're going to learn how to win. And the end of the day, that's what we're here for."
So far, it's been a rough learning process for Washington, which lost its fifth straight game. Luckily in the NFC East, 1-5 still keeps them in playoff contention.