Yes, Washington lost Ftizpatrick, but Heinicke has become the offensive leader the team needs
Taylor heinicke he faked a pass, turned around, and found himself in a dangerous situation Sunday: a player coming straight at him. Later, the Washington Football Team quarterback did what he does best: he improvised. He took a step to the right, the defender flipped him around, took a step to his left and shot high into the end zone as another defender punched him.
The touchdown shot was caught by catcher Terry McLaurin in Washington’s 34-30 win over the Atlanta Falcons. It was yet another example of how Heinicke can overcome his shortcomings. He can run, he can extend plays, and he can get out of situations that most couldn’t.
There’s a reason he’s only been sacked three times in 118 pass attempts. Evasion provides Washington with another offensive weapon, which it needed on Sunday.
“That is an advantage for us,” McLaurin stressed.
“It’s a good part of my game,” Heinicke described humbly.
It’s not like Heinicke is just running all the time; it only does it when necessary. He’s run the ball 20 times for 87 yards, not that it’s Lamar Jackson. Heinicke ran five times for 43 yards Sunday, including a 20-yard rush when he made a first down. within the five of Atlanta. Washington coach Ron Rivera stressed this could turn into a bigger headache for defenses.
If a team plays with men’s coverage, as Atlanta did a handful of times, it could help against receivers, but it leaves holes. With catcher Curtis Samuel back in the lineup, cornerbacks have to play deep ball that leaves teams susceptible to big plays if the quarterback runs.
“You have to applaud those guys and I think that helps too,” Rivera said. “It’s going to make things more difficult on paper.”
Heinicke’s ability to evade pressure has always been part of his game, dating back to high school, which he attended 45 minutes from Atlanta. On the play prior to the McLaurin pass, Heinicke had also escaped trouble. The blitz he carried the pressure inside at third-nine and forced Heinicke to his right. Before another defender could catch up, he stopped and connected with running back JD McKissic for a first down.
“Over the years, in school and college, there have been some weird things, so, you know, things like that happen. It’s a lot of fun, it’s really cool, but I feel like I’ve been doing that, that kind of plays throughout my life and I think that’s the type of player I am. I grew up watching Brett Favre so I saw a lot of crazy things about himso that’s a good part of my game. “
On the game-winning pass to McKissic, Heinicke wasn’t under pressure but slid to his left against three-man pressure. Then he stopped, saw McKissic across the field and threw him. The running back did the rest in a 30-yard dash.
“Even when he’s fighting, his eyes stay on the field,” McLaurin said. “He knows he can also give us opportunities to make plays on the field. I can’t say enough about him, the way he spreads the plays, the way he gives us a chance on every play. It’s like the plays don’t die. when Taylor is there. “
Washington’s 2-2 start has not been easy as the defense continues to struggle. But for a team that lost its starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick, in the first half of Week 1, Heinicke has certainly provided more than just a spark. Now he has led two winning series in the last three weeks. Sunday’s return came a week after his first bad game at Washington, a two-interception day in the loss at Buffalo.
On Sunday, he completed 23 of 33 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He has given the team hope that the season will not be lost. His poise and precise arm help; his legs provide another way to energize his teammates. It’s what happened in an eight-yard touchdown run against Tampa Bay in the postseason last year, culminating in a dive on the pylon.
“You never know what you’re going to get with Taylor,” Washington wide receiver DeAndre Carter said. “He’s going to run, he’s going to make plays. We’re just trying to get in there, you know, try to be open and be an available target for him when he’s ready to pitch.”