It's been a rough week for Carson Wentz, but he was a winner despite it all on Thursday.
He also got some fierce support from his head coach.
Not long after Wentz helped his Commanders to a 12-7 win over the Bears, Ron Rivera delivered an impassioned defense of his quarterback while underscoring that he was fully behind trading for the QB.
"Everybody wants to keep saying I didn't want to do anything with Carson, well bull----," Rivera said Thursday night at his postgame news conference. "I'm the f------ guy that pulled out the sheets of paper, that looked at the analytics, that watched the tape, and the freaking when we were in Indianapolis. OK. And that's what pisses me off, because the young man doesn't deserve to have that all the time. I'm sorry, I'm done."
With that, Rivera stormed off the podium and abruptly ended his postgame presser with an exclamation point.
Wentz never left Thursday's game, though. Not because of a biceps strain or a hand injury or an ankle ailment.
Prior to the game, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero reported Wentz, who was at the center of some comments from Rivera on Monday that caused a stir, was starting against the Bears despite a biceps tendon strain. In the first half, he appeared to have banged up his hand when he hit it against defensive lineman Justin Jones' hand. In the second half, he was getting his ankle rewrapped. But he kept going.
After the win, Wentz underwent X-rays, NFL Network's Mike Giardi reported, but the quarterback said he would be "OK."
"It's a little sore," Wentz said of his hand. "I think I'll be alright. I hit it on a helmet. I don't know what it was, second quarter maybe. The chilly conditions didn't necessarily help the jammed fingers. It was all right."
This wasn't exactly a storybook ending to an arduous week for Wentz, however. Though the Commanders won, Wentz struggled, with just 99 yards passing. He completed 12 of 22 passes with no touchdowns, no interceptions and a 66.3 passer rating.
His biggest highlight was likely emblematic of a week in which his toughness playing through injuries and weathering a media storm was at the forefront.
On the Commanders' lone touchdown drive of the night, Wentz delivered a huge block to Bears standout linebacker Roquan Smith that sent the latter to the Soldier Field sod. With running back Brian Robinson running to the right side, Wentz cracked back on Smith, lowered his left shoulder, delivered a block to Smith's chest and sat him down.
"It's not planned by any means, but especially when you are down there in the goal line and it was an ugly game, so I'm going to do anything I can to help the team get in the end zone," Wentz said. "It was fun, I guess. Hopefully, I'm not making a living doing that."
Back on Monday, Rivera was asked why other NFC East teams, who are each 4-1 or better, were faring better this season. The head coach answered, "Quarterback." Rivera, who pointed out that he had no regrets trading for Wentz, went on to explain that successful clubs build around quarterbacks and the other teams in their division had more familiarity with their QBs. Nonetheless, the comments created quite the uproar.
Rivera's comments on Thursday night regarding his quarterback have, too. But for quite a different narrative.
It was a short turnaround from Week 5 to Week 6 for Wentz and Co., but it no doubt felt like a long week in between. Nonetheless, it ended with a win that broke a four-game skid and Wentz receiving an emphatic endorsement.
"Coach Rivera, he's awesome," Wentz said when asked about Rivera's Thursday night comments. "I have a ton of respect for him. I've been playing in this league for a while from afar, but getting to play for him is even better. It's definitely special. He's someone that I respect and he's going to speak his mind and be very direct to the point and, in this business, that means a lot. I think guys love that about him and he's going to be straight-up, very motivational and [we] respond to him very well. I have a lot of respect for him and appreciative of what he's done for me."