Fans booed Carson Wentz and chanted for Taylor Heinicke to no avail as it became abundantly clear that Ron Rivera’s quarterback trade fell through on the Washington Commanders.
It shot up so high that it became another loss for a team once in control of its playoff chances.
Wentz threw three interceptions after reclaiming the starting job, the defensive errors added up and the Commanders’ postseason odds took a big hit with an embarrassing 24-10 loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, who had nothing to count on. play.
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Washington (7-8-1) is winless in five games and would be eliminated if Green Bay beat Minnesota.
“I have high expectations for myself and this team, and we underperformed, so did I,” said Wentz, who went 16 of 28 for 143 yards. “That’s not what I had in mind and what we had in mind as a team. Not the performance I envisioned. Lots of things I want to get back. Yeah, that was a tough question.”
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The offense gained just 261 yards, 96 on Washington’s lone touchdown drive, not exactly the spark Rivera was hoping for when he returned to Wentz. The fans that made up the sparse crowd booed and chanted at Heinicke early on several times after Wentz missed wide receivers or threw the ball into the hands of a Cleveland defender.
“I tried to be aggressive, I tried to force a couple of pitches early, obviously, and it put us in a bind,” said Wentz, who similarly fell apart with Indianapolis at this point last season when the Colts needed to win to get in there. the playoffs “Then the rest of the way I just didn’t make enough plays personally, as a team, the full nine yards. I’m definitely kicking some for myself.”
Fans chanted “Heinicke! Heinicke!” They didn’t get their wish: Wentz stayed in the game and struggled to move the ball beyond handing it off to rookie running back Brian Robinson Jr., who rushed for 87 yards on 24 carries. Rivera said he was contemplating going to Heinicke, but he decided against it once his team fell behind by 14 and he knew some passes would be necessary.
“Yeah, I thought we could (see Heinicke) just because he was available and the other quarterback was struggling a little bit, but they stuck with him,” said Browns safety Grant Delpit, who had two of the interceptions. “We had a good game plan for him, and it worked.”
The Commanders’ fourth defense allowed a handful of big plays, including a 46-yard pass from Deshaun Watson to Amari Cooper that was converted into a touchdown when top cornerback Kendall Fuller missed a tackle in the open field.
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“We lost a couple of tackles,” Rivera said. “We totally miss a couple of them. You can’t miss the tackles from good players.”
Watson also connected with Cooper on a 33-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter that sent fans scrambling.
The Browns (7-9) were already out of the AFC race, but they lived up to tight end David Njoku’s expectation that they would “give the Commanders hell.” Cooper had three receptions for 105 yards, Nick Chubb rushed 14 times for 104 yards and Watson finished 9 of 18 for 169 yards and the TD passes to Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones.
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“That was definitely the potential for what the future may hold,” Watson said.