ASHBURN, Va. (DC News Now) — After being losers of three straight, the Washington Commanders bounced back against the Atlanta Falcons with a 24-16-win Sunday. Washington’s defense was essential to the team’s win, recording three interceptions and three sacks. Head coach Ron Rivera spoke about why the defense was so successful against Atlanta.
“I think if we do anything as far as mixing it up … it does show … there’s always that ability … One of the things that we do intentionally is … we do bring the fifth guy a lot. We do drop the fifth guy as well … whether we’re in the bigger packages or our base four-man front, I think it adds a little bit more to the thinking process of our opponent” Rivera said during Monday’s press conference.
Though, a familiar face was missing on defense against the Falcons, rookie cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. The first-round pick was benched the entire game. Rivera said Forbes’ reaction to being benched has been great.
“He [Forbes] and I had a conversation last week as to what was going on. Just explained to him that we feel right now a little time down would help you. Good chance to kind of take a step back and watch it and see how things are done, see a little different perspective … He’s a young pro who’s got a lot to learn and a lot of growth to have, but he’s got a chance. We really think this young man has got a great skill set and can be a good football player. This might take a little bit more time” Rivera said.
Commanders veteran cornerback Danny Johnson started in place of the rookie in Atlanta and it’s safe to say Johnson did less damage than Forbes was doing before. The veteran corner had four tackles and one pass deflection against the Falcons. Rivera said Johnson stepped up to the challenge and did exactly what the team hoped he would do.
“I thought Danny [Johnson] … came out and played some good football, made some plays, and he’s a very smart football player which you can tell by the opportunity to intercept the ball on fourth down. Instead, he knocks it down and we get it in great field position. I mean, that’s a very heads-up play and those are the kinds of things that Danny’s very capable of. As far as playtime, we’re going to continue to practice and work our guys and we’re going to play the guys we believe give us the best opportunity to play football” Rivera said.
As Washington heads into its Week 7 matchup against the New York Giants, Rivera wants the team to hold onto the momentum and keep up the contagious energy.
“When you watch the tape and really break some of the things down, you see just how efficient Sam was … Then on the defensive side, keeping the momentum of being able to stop the run … [The New York Giants] have [Giants RB] Saquan [Barkley] and we know how special he is as a running back. We’ve got to be able to contain him. We got to be able to contain the quarterback. A lot of those things that we did on Sunday are things that are going to be reflected in what we’re going to need to do this coming Sunday as well … We got to pay attention … on the details of our job … do the little things better because we had a lot of mistakes, a lot of little things that can be corrected. That’s the best part about it is those things can be corrected” Rivera said.
The Commanders hit the practice field Wednesday as they prepare for the Giants this weekend.