Landover, Maryland — Washington football team Taylor Heinek He didn’t win the game however, he did win a team — and maybe more.
Heinicke, start for the sake of the injured Alex Smith, He played with his arms and legs — just an insufficient number of them — in Washington’s 31-23 loss to the Tampa Bay Pirates in the ground round of playoffs on Saturday. Heinicke didn’t get the win, but he completed 26 of 44 passes for 306 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Run for a score, too.
A player who was out of the league for nearly two years proved to be a point.
«I deserve to be in this league for a little longer,» said Heinicke, suspended free agent. «I’ve been on the other side not playing and it’s not fun, and it’s not as fun as this.»
In the process, Heinicke also gained support from his teammates — and even from a star player on another team. Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick MahomesRepresented by the same Heinicke agency, He tweeted his approval Of his performance.
After the match, Washington is a large recipient Terry McLaurin They spoke to Heinicke when they were off the field. Maclaurin just wanted to let Henick know how much he appreciated him.
«I’ll take fourth place in my team any day of the week, twice on Sunday,» said McLaurin. “I hope we will be teammates in the future.
«This guy plays without fear. He will give his players a chance to play. He extends plays, runs, takes punches. He does whatever you ask the midfielder to do in this league.»
«He gave us a chance.»
Henke didn’t know he was going until coach Ron Rivera told him Friday afternoon. However, Washington maintained its mute decision until several hours before the match. Smith was annoyed with a tense right calf, and with Tampa Bay known for his defensive pressure, his inability to escape would be extremely costly.
«We didn’t want to put him in a bad position,» Rivera said.
The coach later said, “We were really excited about the giving [Heinicke] That opportunity. «
Heinicke ran six times 46 yards and scored 8 yards late in the third quarter. In that play, his first three options are covered and the pocket is tweaked. He somehow bent over under pressure and crept through a hatch. Jump to the left sideline and run into the finish zone, as the ball hits the hall. In the operation, he suffered from a detachment of his left shoulder.
He said, «I wanted to get that down.»
In the series that followed, Heinicke was hit twice and headed to the sideline in apparent pain. He then ran to the locker room but returned without missing any series.
“Determination, willingness to fight, and willingness to compete,” Washington Corner Kendall Fuller He said when asked what he saw on Heinicke. «He definitely motivated the whole team.»
When Washington called in December, Heinek was taking four math courses at Old Dominion University. It was the week of the finals. He got permission to take two finals after the season.
Washington liked that Heinicke knew Scott Turner’s OCS, having played in the same system for two years with the Minnesota Vikings and one with Carolina Panthers. That’s when Heinicke made his only start before Saturday. He was knocked out of that match with an elbow injury that required surgery later. Durability was a matter of question for Heinicke who is 6 feet tall, 1 pounds and 210 pounds.
He was released by Carolina in the final pre-season cuts in August 2019 and spent the year out of football. He eventually signed for the St. Louis Battle Hawks of XFL but did not play in any of their five games. The finish appeared near the Free Agent of the 2015 Unpolished.
But he impressed his teammates in Washington.
«The way he carries himself, is a true supporter,» Washington addresses Morgan Moses He said. «I can’t tell you why he’s on the street before we move on. He has all the qualities of the player you want. I’m glad we got him. There are no words to explain his performance today. I went on stage and I praise him for that.»
Moses had watched Heinicke play some in college.
Musa said, «The man is an amazing player.» «He has this factor, and you can’t teach it.»
This factor was pushed by the series after Heinicke returned from his injury. He drove a 75-yard touchdown drive, directed a beautiful 11-yard pass Stephen Sims Jr.And lead him to the corner of the end area.
Rivera said: «He was brave.» «The young man got a chance.»
He will now have to wait some time to see if or when the next stage will arise.
«Everything that happened in the last month and a half, to go there and do it, I am proud of myself, glad the coaches believed in me and gave me the opportunity,» said Henke. «I hope I can do this next year.»