With Washington coach Ron Rivera getting a scheduled IV at halftime of Sunday’s regular-season opener, quarterback Dwayne Haskins spoke to the team. And it worked.
Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan told PFT by phone after the game that Haskins invoked last year’s Week One game against the Eagles. Washington led 17-0 and then blew the game.
“There’s no reason that can’t be us today,” Haskins told his teammates, according to Kerrigan, who added that Haskins has done a great job with his leadership.
Another spark came from the first Washington score, a second-quarter touchdown pass from Haskins to tight end Logan Thomas. Kerrigan said those seven points gave the team confidence that it could indeed reverse the deficit.
Kerrigan said that the team fell behind because things weren’t clicking for the home team, but that it had nothing to do with the absence of fans. Kerrigan said that he was impressed with the intensity of the defense given the absence of fans, since the unit typically feeds off the crowd when playing at FedEx Field.
“We were still able to ratchet it up,” Kerrigan said. And indeed they did, with eight sacks overall and two for Kerrigan, who passed Dexter Manley for the most in franchise history.
With a performance like that, the defense needs a nickname. Kerrigan laughed at that one. “We’ve got to do it at least a second time before we get a nickname,” he said.