Rivera will stick with Howell as Commanders' QB despite Brissett's big 4th quarter against Rams
The Commanders (4-10) have dropped five straight and were officially eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday's loss. Howell had his worst game of the season. He went 11 of 26 for 102 yards with one touchdown and an interception.
In the past two games, Howell is 23 of 49 for just 229 yards.
“If we knew what the issue was we’d fix it. We have to execute better and it starts with me,” Howell said. “All we can control is how we move on from this point and finish the year.”
Howell was pulled after being intercepted by John Johnson early in the fourth quarter. Rivera said the main reason he pulled the second-year quarterback was to avoid further hits from Los Angeles’ defense.
Howell has been sacked a league-leading 59 times in 14 games, including once by the Rams.
“Just wanted to take care of him a little bit," Rivera said. "In a situation with their ears pulled back like that, I didn’t want to see anything crazy.”
Brissett came in with 9:05 remaining and directed two scoring drives. The eighth-year quarterback, who has started 48 games in his career, completed eight of 10 passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns.
It was only the second game in which Brissett has seen action this season. He took three snaps — all handoffs — late in the fourth quarter of a 45-15 loss to Miami two weeks ago.
Brissett signed with the Commanders during the offseason after starting 11 games for Cleveland last season during DeShaun Watson's suspension.
“I was just trying to make the most of my opportunity," Brissett said. "It’s the NFL, you can’t be surprised. It’s my job to be ready to go at any time. I haven’t been playing in a long time, but once you get your blood going it felt good after a little run. I was just trying to go out there and make plays.”
Despite not throwing a pass in a regular-season game in over a year, Brissett completed his first seven. That included a 29-yard touchdown pass to Terry McLaurin. He also had a 48-yard strike to McLaurin to the Rams 1-yard line on the next drive that was Washington's first pass play over 40 yards this season.
However, it took 181 seconds and eight plays before the Commanders got into the end zone on Curtis Samuels' 3-yard reception.
Washington attempted an onside kick, but the Rams recovered and ran out the clock.
“(Brissett) came out slinging it, just trying to give his guys an opportunity," said Johnson, who played with Brissett in Cleveland. “And they’ve got some good receivers, that whole group.”
Brissett wasn't fazed by Rivera's declaration about Howell remaining the starter.
“He’s a good player. It was just that point in the game where it’s like, just get ready for next week,” Brissett said. “I was talking to him because I know how this moment could feel. I’ve been in similar situations, and the key is you can't get discouraged.”
McLaurin, who had six receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown, said he would be ready if Howell gets the start next week against the New York Jets.
“Sam’s still doing a good job of growing and learning and giving us chance to make plays down the field,” he said. “We’re still rolling with him. We've just got to continue to support him, make the tough plays, kind of like we did at the end, and make his job a little easier.”
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