Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke must have a bounce-back performance against the Philadelphia Eagles for Washington to snap their three-game losing streak. Washington is also looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive as they welcome the Eagles to FedEx Field on Sunday. A demoralizing Week 16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys 54-16 saw backup quarterback Kyle Allen replace Heinicke in the fourth quarter.
Heinicke nor Allen was available in the first matchup against the Eagles with both being placed on the reserve/COVID list. Washington then turned to quarterback Garrett Gilbert as their Week 15 starter. With limited practice, Gilbert put up a valiant effort completing 20 out of 31 passes for 194 yards. However, it was not enough to lead Washington to victory.
Washington head coach Ron Rivera named Heinicke the starter for Week 16 but did not rule out the possibility that Allen could appear in the game. A solid performance from Heinicke will be necessary to help Washington snap their losing streak and keep Allen on the sidelines.
Taylor Heinicke Must Have a Bounce Back Performance
Heinicke’s Struggles Against the Cowboys
Washington lost their opportunity to repeat as NFC East Champions by losing both matchups against the Cowboys. In Week 14, Washington lost to the Cowboys 27-20, which snapped Washington’s four-game winning streak. Washington’s two losses against the Cowboys were also Heinicke’s worst statistical games of the season.
Against the Cowboys, Heinicke completed a combined 18 out of 47 passes for 243 yards with two passing touchdowns and three interceptions. In Week 16, Heinicke registered his season-lows in completions (7), completion percentage (31.82), passing yards (121), and quarterback rating (28.8). Week 16 was also Heinicke’s fourth game with at least two interceptions this season.
Heinicke Needs to Channel Earlier Performances
In order for Washington to win against the Eagles, Heinicke needs to play as he did against another NFC East foe, the New York Giants. Washington’s lone division win came against the Giants in Week 2. In Washington’s win against the Giants, Heinicke completed 34 out of 46 passes for 336 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Heinicke also led Washington on a game-winning drive to secure their first win of the season.
Heinicke threw nine touchdowns and two interceptions during Washington’s four-game winning streak. Heinicke’s quarterback rating was above 100 in three out of the four games. His completion percentage was above 76 percent in all four matchups. This season, Heinicke has created success for the Washington offense with efficiency in the passing game and limited turnovers. Heinicke has also been successful in using his legs to extend plays as a passer or runner.
A Bounce Back Performance or the Bench Awaits
If Heinicke cannot bounce back against the Eagles, he will watch the remainder of the regular season from the sideline. This season, Heinicke’s journey has been filled with ups and downs. They are consistent with the struggles a quarterback with a limited number of NFL starts may face. As Washington prepares for the off-season, Heinicke’s performance on Sunday against the Eagles will be another opportunity for Washington to evaluate their quarterback depth chart for a position that needs to be addressed in 2022.