By: Joe Dillard Jr.
Headline Photo Credit: Elijah Griffin Sr.-Washington Football Team
The Washington Football Team hosted a playoff game, if you asked any fan last season, you would say how? Well, Riverboat Ron brought his culture into the Nation’s Capital, and it has been contagious. Well, that belief took them into a playoff game against a Brady led Bucs team. Washington fell behind as they have all season long, trailing 18-7, which seemed like 30 to nothing. The defense was getting carved up by Brady and had no answer other than a couple of red-zone stops, which is why the score should have been worse. Antonio Gibson, who was hurt earlier in the year with the turf toe injury, still showed signs of not being healthy and not having a running game against Brady put all the chips in the hands of Taylor Heinicke.
I said it when he hard cleanup duty due to the ineffectiveness of Haskins that he gets it. Pulled from taking classes at Old Dominion virtually, this guy brought his cape, providing play after play of good football. Small gains, throwaways, and correct reads, just to name a few, going 26-for-44 with 306 yards in the air and darn near no mistakes, his efforts almost brought Washington back as Tampa Bay escapes D.C. with a 31-23 win. Heinicke also carried the ball for six times totaling 46 yards and a touchdown run that almost sent twitter off the roof about his efforts diving 4 yards to hit the pylon. This made me wonder why Daniel Snyder does not have Pylon Cameras installed at FedEx?? Man, what a play as he closed the gap to 18-16 with that run. But like I said, Heinicke was facing Tampa Tom, and that man brought his lunch pal with him and ate all night on Washington’s defense, going 22 for 40 with 380 yards and two touchdowns, Ripping the defense up the ground as well totaling 142 yards rushing to surpass 500 total yards of offense. Cam Simms proved to be profitable for Heinicke’s performance with 108 yards on 7 balls caught.
However, if I could have asked for Washington to improve in this game it would be with the play of the receivers dropping balls and the linebackers not making any plays to force Tampa off the field more. Tom manipulated the secondary and linebacker’s way too often, to not see that while receivers missing passes was the reason a lot of drives could not be sustained. Heinicke could have thrown for 400, if passes were caught. But I will admit with Chris Godwin dropping like 3 balls and Evans as well Brady could have thrown for 500 on Washington. Those two areas will and should be a point of emphasis for next season as a healthy Gibson will allow us time to see how the receivers pan out along with the front 4 finding out what kind of linebackers will be leading them. Oh yeah, Heinicke was awesome and at best, I believe would be a great backup for us next season but Washington will need a durable talented quarterback if the goal is to build off this season’s success.