Taylor Heinicke channels his inner Brett Favre to lead the Washington Football Team to a win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4. With Washington trailing 30-22 in the fourth quarter, Heinicke led Washington on a 10-play 70-yard scoring drive. The drive ended with Heinicke avoiding a sack and finding wide receiver Terry McLaurin in the end zone for a touchdown. An unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt left Washington still trailing 30-28. On the Falcons next possession, the Washington defense forced the Falcons to punt. With Washington needing a field goal to win, Heinicke only needed to get Washington into field goal range. What transpired was a game-winning touchdown pass from Heinicke to J.D. McKissic. Let’s break down Heinicke’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns and how they resemble the work of NFL Hall of Fame quarterback, Favre.
Taylor Heinicke Channels Inner Favre in Victory over Atlanta Falcons
Making a Play
Heinicke is always looking to make a play. Sometimes Heinicke’s play-making ability can make coaches and fans applaud. At times, this can lead to turnovers and plays that make coaches and fans scratch their heads. Favre was also looking to make a play every time he had the ball. Favre ranks fourth all-time in touchdown passes with 508. However, Favre also ranks first all-time in passes intercepted with 336. Like Favre, Heinicke’s play-making ability can be high-risk but also yield a high reward.
On Heinicke’s first touchdown pass of the fourth quarter, he shook off a Falcons defender who was trying to bring him down, then he threw a pass to the end zone right as he was being hit by another Falcons defender. McLaurin made a play on the ball in the end zone for a Washington touchdown. Washington’s final touchdown came with 46 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. Washington was facing a third down and seven. Heinicke went through his progressions and was sliding to his left to elude the defense and threw a pass back across the field to find McKissic. Once McKissic caught the pass he did the rest outrunning the Falcons defense for the game-winning touchdown. Heinicke would later say that McKissic was his fifth read on the play.
Some would say on both touchdown passes, Heinicke should have made a different decision with the ball. Both passes could have been intercepted by a Falcons defender. Coaches and fans watched in anticipation on both plays as the ball was in the air and were elated when both plays resulted in a Washington touchdown.
Taking the Good With the Bad
Like Favre, Heinicke has a gritty, gun-slinging mentality. Both will throw passes other quarterbacks may shy away from because they have supreme confidence in their arm talent. Favre has 43 game-winning drives to his credit. Heinicke has two. Each of Washington’s wins this season has come on a game-winning drive led by Heinicke.
With the good also comes the bad. Favre’s last opportunity to reach the Super Bowl came in 2009. Favre led the Minnesota Vikings to the NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints. A costly interception by Favre in the final seconds of the fourth quarter ultimately led to the Saints winning 31-28 in overtime. Favre’s costly interception came on a third-down play where Favre rolled out to his right and threw back toward the middle of the field.
Heinicke has yet to lead Washington to the NFC Championship game; however, in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills, Heinicke was trying to force the issue against the Bills. This led to Heinicke throwing two interceptions, which the Bills converted into 10 points.
It takes a special type of player to be willing to take a risk to propel their team to victory. Favre took his gritty, gun-slinging all the way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Heinicke channeled his inner Favre to lead Washington to victory over the Falcons. With Heinicke willing to take a risk to make plays, maybe Washington has more victories in their future.
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