Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera said he "wouldn't apologize for winning" the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Early on Sunday, the New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys to improve to 6-10 and keep their chances of winning the division and making the playoffs.
Washington needed to beat the Eagles on Sunday Night Football to finish the season 7-9 and win the division and make the playoffs. Washington did their task but the match drew lots of controversy as many believed that the Eagles tanked the game for a better draft position.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles benched their starting quarterback Jalen Hurts for third-string quarterback Nate Sudfeld and ended up losing 20-14. "You play who's out there," Rivera said, per ESPN. "I'm not apologizing for winning."
After the game, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson insisted he was trying to win the game. "That was my decision solely. Nate has been here for four years and I felt he deserved an opportunity to get some snaps. If there's anything out there that thinks I was not trying to win the game ...
[Zach] Ertz is out there, Brandon Graham is out there, Darius Slay is out there. All of our top guys are still on the field at the end," Pederson said.
Rivera and Washington benefited from the Eagles' decision
The Eagles went scoreless with Sudfeld at quarterback and Washington claimed the key win.
"It's just something that -- it's not where any of us want to be," Pederson added. "It's not where our fans wanted us or expected us to be and it's definitely not where me or [general manager Howie Roseman] or where [team owner Jeffrey Lurie] wanted us to be at this time sitting here today," he said.
"We wanted to be playing in the postseason. That's our goal every season. So, this year, this game, this season, didn't come down to last night. "We were playing for our lives in a playoff game four, five, six weeks ago where every game mattered, and we failed even then.
I've got to look at the whole thing, do what's in the best interest and try to win a game any way possible." The Cleveland Browns needed a win to make the playoffs -- they did their task as they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-22 -- but it should be noted that the Steelers rested their starters.
"Nobody complained when Pittsburgh did what they did against Cleveland," Rivera said. "It's been a hard road for us and nobody seems to care about that. Nobody cared two weeks ago when we didn't have some of our best players.
Nobody cared last week when we didn't have them, so why should we be concerned if a coach decides to do something that's best for his team?"