Haskins struggles in loss, but Rivera says no change yet


It was not Dwayne Haskins’ day in Cleveland.

In his return to Ohio, the former Buckeye quarterback had a day to forget with three backbreaking interceptions in Washington Football’s 34-20 defeat to the Cleveland Browns.

And despite some calls from fans and commentators about making a change, the second-year passer still has the support of his head coach as Ron River said he told Haskins after the game, "I'm behind you and I'm going to stick with you."

"I'm going to take my lumps with Dwayne,” Rivera told the media. “The way I see it, he's barely through a rookie year right now."

"I think the outside noise is exactly what it is. It's noise," Rivera said. "The truth of the matter is how is he going to learn? Is he going to learn taking the show team snaps? No. The only way he's going to learn and the only way we're going to truly find out where Dwayne is and what he can do for us is to put him back on the football field and let him get exposed. That's how he grows."

And there were plenty of lumps on Sunday in Cleveland as Haskins finished the day completing 21 of 37 attempts for 224 yards with two touchdowns, three interceptions, and a fumble.

After Haskins led Washington to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, the wheels fell off with two terrible second-quarter interceptions that set up the Browns to score two touchdowns.

And after a brief comeback that saw Washington take a 20-17 lead, with some good plays by the second-year quarterback, Haskins’ third interception of the day was a backbreaker for the visitors ending another potential comeback in a four-point game.

The first pick came when another Haskins pass sailed high and Karl Joseph took advantage. Cleveland went on to score three plays later on a 16-yard Nick Chubb run.

The second interception was equally bad, but for a different reason. Instead of it being a mechanical issue, it was a mental mistake on the first play after the two-minute warning. Haskins starred down his receiver was picked off by Malcolm Smith.

Again, Cleveland took over deep in Washington territory and needed just three plays to capitalize: Baker Mayfield fired a nine-yard TD score to Kareem Hunt.

Haskins did battle back, leading a six-play scoring drive and 12-play scoring drive to give Washington a second-half lead. But after the Browns retook the lead, Haskins’ struggles returned.

The third pick was similar to the second, as the quarterback locked his eyes on the receiver and didn’t see the defender sitting in the zone.

To close it all out, Myles Garrett beat left tackle Geron Christian easily and took the ball from Haskins to end Washington’s last rally.

"As long as he continues to do things that show you that he can make things happen, I'm going to support the young man," Rivera added. "I'm not going to pull the plug on him just because something like this happens."

So the head coach says it is still too early for a change, but a change isn't out of the realm of possibilities and that won’t stop the speculation.