By Adam Aniba
Although Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke had 2 lost fumbles in the pivotal loss vs New York, he still managed to keep his team in the game until the end. The bogus penalty on Terry McLaurin, which took Brian Robinson's TD off the board was a back breaker and the obvious no-calls were just too much to over come in the end.
There is no question that Washington could help Heinicke's cause by feeding Robinson and Gibson the ball more often, especially in the red zone. The Commanders signal caller went 17/29 for 249 passing yards and 1 TD with a 98.2 QB rating against New York, which are decent numbers. He also ran 3 times for 33 yards (11.0 yards per carry).
In a close game though, opportunities were there for the quarterback. Unfortunately issues with lagging play development have persisted and Heinicke's inability to read the field/pass rush at times are ongoing. Not to say the o-line's pass pro issues aren't a huge problem, but Heinicke has to be more aware, as does his offensive coordinator who continues to put him in difficult situations.
Despite all this, Heinicke has the faith of the locker room and now it seems that a few former All-Pros also believe in what Heikcike brings to the table.
Heinicke understands that getting the ball to his playmakers is imperative and was evident with his 12 targets vs the Giants to McLauirn (105 yards) and rookie Jahan Dotson (70 yards 1 TD).
For anybody to believe that Heinicke and Washington could be Super Bowl contenders, let alone make the playoffs was certainly music to fans' ears.
The o-line has been at the center of a lot of breakdowns in the passing game, but Heinicke will have an opportunity to redeem himself vs the 49'ers on Saturday afternoon.
Although the media has discussed a potential short leash for Heinicke in favor of Carson Wentz, it seems unlikely that Rivera will make the change based on his history as a head coach.
It's refreshing to see the media outside of the DMV have positive conversations about about Washington, but Heinicke will have to be at his best with help from the run game and his o-line to keep their playoff hopes alive.
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