WFT's Ron Rivera: Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne Altercation Was Result of 'Frustration'

Erin WalshDecember 27, 2021

Washington Football Team defensive tackle Daron Payne sits on the bench in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
AP Photo/Roger Steinman

Washington Football Team defensive tackles Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne got into an altercation during the second quarter of Sunday's blowout 56-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. 

The incident occurred following Dallas' third straight touchdown drive, and Washington head coach Ron Rivera told reporters the altercation was the result of frustration. 

"Yeah, frustration, you know? Wanting to win," Rivera said when asked if the fight was indicative of bigger picture things. "Having an opportunity for the last few weeks and not being able to get it done. Not being able to have all the pieces in place that you need to go out there and play together. That's what that is. That's guys wanting to compete and wanting to win, more than anything else."

Rivera added that he doesn't anticipate any discipline for either player. 

Payne and Allen were talking to each other on the bench before Payne pointed his finger into Allen's head. Allen swiped Payne's hand away, got up and threw a punch at him before the two were separated. 

While speaking with reporters after the loss, Payne likened the altercation with Allen to a fight between brothers. 

"You got brothers? You guys fight, right?" he said. He added that he and Allen had since worked it out. "It's all good," he said. 

Both players played college football together at Alabama from 2015-16. Allen was drafted 17th overall by Washington in 2017 and Payne was taken by the franchise 13th overall in 2018. 

Allen and Payne, both starters, have been significant pieces for Washington this season. Allen entered Sunday's game with a team-high 8.5 sacks, in addition to 52 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and 26 quarterback hits. Payne entered with one fumble recovery, 3.5 sacks, 47 tackles, four tackles for a loss and 12 quarterback hits. 

Sunday's loss marked a new low for Washington as it didn't go the way the franchise had hoped with a playoff spot on the line. While Washington isn't mathematically eliminated yet, the team has a three percent chance to make the postseason following the loss to Dallas. 

Sunday's loss to the Cowboys was Washington's most lopsided since a 52-7 loss to the New England Patriots in October 2007. Tom Brady threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns in that game. On Sunday night, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott threw for 330 yards and four scores before Dallas replaced him with second-stringer Cooper Rush in the third quarter with the game all but decided. 

Washington dropped to 6-9 (third in NFC East) with the loss and hasn't won a game since a Dec. 5 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. The Football Team won the NFC East last season with a losing record, but the Cowboys have already locked up the division title this year.