WFT’s Rivera on Heincke: ‘I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things’

The Washington Football(4-6) Team got their second straight impressive win on Sunday as they defeated the Carolina Panthers on the road 27-21.

Sunday’s game was all about the return of Cam Newton as the Panthers starting quarterback and the return of former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera to Carolina.

However, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who played with the Panthers in 2018, stole the show as he completed 16-of-22 passes for 206 passing yards and three touchdowns for a passer rating of 141.3. He also rushed six times for 29 yards.

The game was personal for a lot of people, which Heinicke discussed post-game.

“I was only here for a year, so it didn’t mean that much, but there was a lot of players, staff, and one of our general managers came from there,” he said. “We knew it was big for them, and it was kind of personal, and to know that they were going to win with those last two kneels, that was nice.”

Last week, in a win over Tampa Bay, Heinicke was 26/32 for 256 yards. According to Rivera, Heinicke is seeing everything better.

“I think the biggest things he is doing is he is starting to see things,” he said. “He is starting to see what he needs to see. He is throwing the windows he needs to throw. We are getting healthy up front. Now, we have got a couple of nicked guys. We got to get those guys back on the football field, but I think that is all a part of it as well.”

Heinicke explained why he has played so well in the past two weeks.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of things, but me personally, I feel like I’ve played better by just going out there and having fun,” he said. “Being myself and letting the personality come out, and I think that rubs off on some of the guys. There’s guys out there fighting, and all 11 of those guys on every play are doing the right thing.

“We just have to keep the ball rolling. We have a big one on Monday against Seattle, and it’s going to be exciting.”

After losing four straight and being 2-6 heading into their bye week, Washington may have found their way, and Rivera sees a team that’s now playing together.

“Well, I think they are starting to play together,” Rivera said. “They are becoming resilient. They do the things that they need to. They rely on each other. The thing I am really pleased with is it is all starting up front on both sides of the ball. I think the offensive and defensive line is coming alive. Those guys are playing some very solid and sound football. Again, they are just doing the things they need to do to give us a chance.”

Wide receiver Terry McLaurin, who had five receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown, added about the team’s turnaround: “I just think we have put two good weeks of practice together first and foremost. I feel like our o-line and our d-line are really establishing the line of scrimmage, which is very important. I feel like we are sustaining drives offensively. Defense is creating turnovers and short field. You’re creating winning formula.”

Notes:

-Washington won back-to-back games for the first time since winning four-straight games from Nov. 22nd to December 

=Running back Antonio Gibson finished with 95 yards on 19 carries.  This marks the first time Gibson ran for 90+ yards since rushing for 115 yards on November 26 of last season.13 of last season.

Washington’s Heinicke: ‘We just couldn’t get the ball rolling in the second half’

The Washington Football Team(2-4) battled hard against the Kansas City Chiefs(3-3) on Sunday and led at halftime, but Kansas City took over the game in the second half and would defeat Washington 31-13 at FedExField.

Washington has now lost two straight and three out of their last four.

In the first half, Washington had 200 yards of total offense and led 13-`10 at halftime, but they had only 76 yards of total offense in the second half and did not score.

WFT QB Taylor Heinicke, who completed 24-of-39 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown, felt the team could not put anything together in the second half.

“We just couldn’t get the ball rolling in the second half, whether it was penalties or keeping it on the sticks, or the defense making a good play, or a dropped ball, bad throw,” Heinicke said postgame. “We just couldn’t put it together. It was frustrating. But again, we’ll get better.”

According to Washington head coach Ron Rivera, the team needed to play a complete game to beat the Chiefs.

“I think the message to the guys more so than anything else is we have to handle adversity,” Rivera said. “We have to play two halves of football. We played a good first half. We didn’t play a good enough second half to give ourselves a chance to win. We’ve got to be able to handle the mistakes, correct the mistakes and just keep going forward. The truth is it’s the sixth game; we’ve got a few more left to play, obviously. We’ve got to shake this one off, learn from it, and get ready for next week. It’s all we can do.”

All four of Washington’s losses have come against teams .500 or better, so the schedule has not been easy, which Rivera addressed after the game.

“We did lose to four good teams, but we could have also beat a couple of them,” Rivera said. “That’s the hard thing to swallow if you’re going, to be honest with it. I mean, we had a chance last week, a chance the opening game. You are what your record says you are. The only way we can get better is to practice, work at it and then go out and play better. And that's pretty much what we have left.”

The next three games for Washington won’t be easy as they have two straight road games against the Packers and Broncos, and back home against the defending world champions, the Buccaneers, so the schedule will continue to be difficult, but Washington has to find ways to overcome it.

Sean Taylor’s jersey retired:

At halftime, the Washington Football Team retired the late Sean Taylor’s number #21 jersey. The Taylor family and friends were honored on the field with a framed Sean Taylor #21 jersey. Also, the team formally commemorated the renaming of the road leading to FedExField as Sean Taylor Road in a pregame ceremony with Taylor’s family, alumni, and team representatives.

Taylor spent four season in NFL, all with Washington. Sadly, his life was cut short after being shot by intruders who tried to burglarize his home back in 2007. He was only 24 years old.

Below are highlights of Taylor’s ceremony from today:

Heinicke hopes to keep the momentum going against Buffalo

The Taylor Heinicke show rolls into Buffalo(1-1) as the Washington Football Team(1-1) battles the Bills on Sunday.

Heinicke, who led Washington on a game-winning drive against the Giants last Thursday, will make his third career start on Sunday, but unlike his other starts, this game will be on the road, and he’s excited about the challenge.

“It’ll be my first road game starting like you said, but it’s at Buffalo with fans, so it’s going to be loud,” Heinicke said on Tuesday. “There’s going to be some silent count stuff that we’re working on this week. It’s a good defense, and we’re excited for the opportunity and the challenge.”

Against the Giants, Heinicke threw for 346 yards, two touchdowns, interception, which got him a lot of attention last week; Heinicke, who was an undrafted rookie free agent in 2015, doesn’t want last week’s success to impact his play against Buffalo.

“My biggest thing is I don’t want the success from last week to equal the non-success of this week if that makes sense,’ he said. “Sometimes, a lot of people get caught up in how they played the previous week, and it hurts them the next week. So, we had a long weekend, it was nice to enjoy it, but once Sunday and Monday came around, it was time for Buffalo. So again, the biggest thing is to keep doing it every week, and that’s the goal.” 

If Heinicke can continue to play well, the 28-year-old could be Washington’s quarterback of the future, which could put him in line for some endorsement deals, like promoting Heiniken beer, which he said he enjoys drinking.

“I’m trying, man; I’m trying,” Heinicke said about trying to get a Heiniken endorsement deal. “At some point, I might just start calling out Bud Light (joking)…

“My agent said that they had sent me a 24-pack at home, never received it. And they said they can’t deliver to my address when there’s a gas station a block away that has Heineken.”

Obviously, the endorsements won’t come if he’s not playing well. However, if he can keep it going, this would be a great story, and while beating the Giants is good, defeating Buffalo on the road would be even better for Heinicke and Washington. 

Washington’s Heinicke on starting: ‘I’m excited for the opportunity’

Coming into the 2021 NFL season, Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke was slated and prepared to be the backup to Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, things have now changed.

Fitzpatrick could reportedly miss 6-8 weeks due to a right hip subluxation that he suffered on Sunday in a loss against the Chargers.

If the 28-year-old Heinicke plays well, this could be his job for the rest of the season and beyond. In four seasons, Heinicke has started just one regular-season game in 2018 with the Panthers and started a playoff game for Washington last season, where he threw for over 300 yards in a losing effort to the world champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild-Card round.

At this point, with Fitzpatrick out, Washington has not brought in another veteran quarterback, which means Washington is giving Heinicke a chance to shine. 

“I think someone asked me the question after the game, you’ve had a lot of doubters out there, stuff like that, and I don’t care about the doubters outside the facility,” Heinicke said on Tuesday. “It’s the people in the facility that I care about. If they have confidence in me and they believe in me, that’s all that I care about. Like you just said, that kinda tells me they have that confidence in me. So, it means a lot to me; it helps me play better. It gives me a lot more confidence, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Heinicke has been dreaming about being a starting quarterback in the NFL, but for Heinicke to keep the job, his mindset has to be one play at a time.

“Something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life, being a starting quarterback in the NFL, and here we are,” he said. “So, I really try and take it one day at a time, one meeting at a time, one play at a time. I feel like if I just live in the moment, everything else will take care of itself. I don’t try and get too ahead of myself. When we’re at practice, I just listen to the play, remember what we talked about — meetings, what we’re trying to get accomplished, and really take it one play at a time. We’ll worry about the other stuff later.”

Look, you never want to see anybody get injured, but it’s next man up in the NFL, so Heinicke has to seize the moment. If he wants to be a starting quarterback in the NFL, he must play well during this stretch, which begins on Thursday night at home against the New York Giants.