Washington, like QB Taylor Heinicke, continues to prove skeptics wrong – Washington blog

LAS VEGAS – Halfway through the third quarter on Sunday, Washington football quarterback Taylor Heinicke once again stepped out of trouble. Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby grabbed his jersey, but Heinicke dodged and backed up as Crosby grabbed his right leg. Heinicke shook him, like he was just a mischievous puppy, and rushed to his left. The problem was over.

His pass was incomplete, but the overall point is this: Somehow Heinicke stayed on his feet and survived. Instead of a 10-yard loss on third and 15, Washington stayed in a good punt position and pinned the Raiders inside their own 10-yard line in the 17-15 victory.

The game was also symbolic of his team: one way or another, Washington (6-6) continues to avoid danger in order to survive. That’s what the WFT did during that four-game winning streak, overcoming injuries, good teams, explosive infractions and, as was the case on Sunday, late turnovers.

“We have a lot of mistakes to correct. But damn it, when you do something like that as a team, it’s special,” said Washington defensive tackle Jonathan Allen. “I mean, Heinicke – what can you say about him?” He keeps showing why he has to be our quarterback.

Allen wouldn’t say for how long – it’s above his job description, he said. But it’s no wonder the team have embraced Heinicke’s personality – they’re flawed underdogs who continue to do what no one expects. They hold sixth place in the playoffs heading into Sunday’s game (1 p.m. ET, Fox) against the NFC East leader Dallas Cowboys (8-4).

Heinicke might not be Washington’s starting quarterback beyond this year, as the team may be looking for another quarterback – again, maybe he will because he often finds just one. way.

Allen said Heinicke’s personality “completely embodies what we want to do as a team.”

“When everything is against him, when you don’t expect him to do well,” Allen said, “going against the Hall of Fame, when he’s going up against defenses with starry defensive linemen, when his guns keep going down, he’s just making plays. He’s a playmaker. “

It was the third time this season that Heinicke had led a late winning practice and the fourth time he had led them to green light points in the final quarter. To make it Sunday, Heinicke had an interception with 7:03 left to go. He should have been intercepted in the winning practice – there’s luck here too – but the ball was dropped.

“Well that’s kind of what it is,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said. “He will try to force the ball every now and then. But when he settles down and gives himself a chance to play, he does. We were lucky that the ball fell. But, again, with him at that time, his element, he gives you a chance and that’s all we can ask for. “

Heinicke and his teammates capitalized.

“I love this guy,” said Washington linebacker Cole Holcomb. “Dude, Heinicke, he’s a little player. He’s a chopper. No matter what happens, he goes over there and throws it. If he throws a pick, he shakes it, ‘Let’s go. ‘”

Heinicke’s story is well documented; he signed with Washington on Dec. 8, 2020 – after taking classes all season at Old Dominion University. He is a former undrafted free agent who played with five teams. He is 6ft 1 tall and weighs around 215 pounds.

His resume and stature don’t scream the franchise quarterback.

Meanwhile, Washington’s roster took a beating due to injuries. The team started their fourth center on Sunday, missing safety linebacker Landon Collins, young wingers Montez Sweat and Chase Young and third fullback JD McKissic.

But, one way or another, Washington won when its fourth kicker of the season, Brian Johnson, pulled off his first field goal attempt with his new team – a 48 yards with one minute and 45 seconds left. There are several reasons for Washington’s four-game winning streak, including a defense that continues to play well and a running game that propelled the offense.

There was also Heinicke. He wasn’t spectacular in winning practice Sunday – he completed 3 of 4 passes for 28 yards. In the fourth quarter of that winning streak, he completed 23 of 29 passes for 201 yards with a touchdown and Sunday’s interception. In the previous four games, he finished 27 of 53 for 292 yards and four interceptions in the fourth quarter. He ignored this and bounced back.

“He’s just competitive down to his heart and you see it in the way he sits in the pocket and somehow gets out of tough situations with the defensive linemen around him.” , said wide receiver Adam Humphries. “We see it. We see that he is not forsaking us. He is fighting for every yard. We are rallying behind it.”

Heinicke said he can feel the other players embrace his resilient mindset.

“You guys can smell it. If I make a mistake, they’re there to look for me,” he said.

When you’re undersized and come from a smaller program like Old Dominion, resilience is a must if you want to stick around.

“Whether it was in high school or college, it’s something that I feel like I just had to be a smaller guy,” he said. “You’re not the fastest, you’re not the strongest. You have to have something else for you, and that something else for me is to keep beating me until the very end. never know what’s going to happen. And you could see it in all these guys. They just kept fighting. “

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