Ron Rivera explains why Washington went for TD instead of short FG in fourth quarter vs. Seahawks

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The Washington Football Team survived a close battle with the Seahawks on “Monday Night Football” in Week 12. Washington emerged with a 17-15 win thanks to a key interception by Kendall Fuller on a potential game-tying two-point conversion by Seattle in the final seconds of the game.

That the game was even that close surprised many, as Washington seemingly had a chance to put the Seahawks away late. The team had the ball at the Seattle 3-yard line on fourth-and-goal with 2:25 left in the game and a 17-9 lead. Washington just had to come away with points in some form to effectively put the game out of reach for the sputtering Seahawks offense.

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However, Washington had one problem. The team was without its kicker, Joey Slye, in the second half after he suffered a hamstring injury chasing after a blocked extra point in the first half.

That injury messed with his team’s entire field goal operation.

Punter Tress Way was the team’s emergency kicker in the contest. However, Way hadn’t kicked since his 2009 season at Oklahoma, during which he made 11 extra points but went a paltry 1 of 6 on field goals.

Further complicating matters was the fact that Way operates as the holder on field-goal attempts, so backup quarterback Kyle Allen was next up to replace him on that unit. Plus, Way is left-footed while Slye kicks right-footed.

Allen and Way gave it a go, but ultimately, neither was comfortable enough with the operation to make it work, as head coach Ron Rivera explained.

“They went tried and it just wasn’t working,” Rivera told reporters after the game. “So [special teams coordinator] Nate [Kaczor] came to me and told me that we didn’t have a field goal or extra point kicker.”

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So, that’s why Rivera decided to go for a touchdown from the Seattle 3-yard line with 2:25 remaining in the game. While a 30-yard field goal is a chip shot in most situations, it wasn’t for Washington because of Slye’s injury, and Rivera didn’t want to risk another blocked kick.

Washington initially appeared to get the touchdown on fourth down, as Logan Thomas hauled in a target over the middle of the field and was just across the goal line before he was brought to the ground.

However, the officials ruled that the ball hit the ground on the play, much to the chagrin of Rivera.

“I disagree with that last call,” Rivera said. “That right hand was under the ball and that’s really all it needs. Because if you got your hand on the ball and touch the ground, that doesn’t matter. So I’m disappointed in it. But, you know, that’s what they said.”

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The reversed ruling nearly proved consequential in the game’s outcome, but Fuller’s heady pick on the two-point conversion saved the NFL (and its referees) from too much debate over the controversial call.



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