McLaurin is Clutch vs IND "This is MY City" | Washington Commanders
By Adam Aniba
Washington improved to 4-4 after their comeback 17-16 victory vs the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The win stretches their win streak to 3 games and their second consecutive victory with veteran QB Taylor Heinicke under center. Reinstalling Carson Wentz back as their starter, once he returns from injury in the next 2-4 weeks, seems increasingly unlikely at this point.
It's been well documented, how the locker room has changed and the overall team unity is just different with Heinicke as the starter, but that's a tale for another report.
Although the "Legend of Heinicke" is what some in the media/fanbase echoed after the win, the real story of the game was the performance of receiver Terry McLaurin. Playing in his first game against vs the Colts in Indianapolis, where he grew up and played high school ball, led to elevated emotions from McLaurin.
The 70 members of his family/friends in attendance, made his clutch late 4th quarter reception even sweeter. Washington started the drive on their own 11-yard line and 2:29 seconds remaining in regulation. Many fans doubted that a comeback was in the cards.
On the 9th play of the drive from the Colts 34-yard line with under 30 seconds remaining, Heinicke did what he's notorious for and bought time by running from pressure, while keeping his eyes down field. On the 1st and 10 play, veteran CB Stephon Gilmore shadowed McLaurin on the route.
The former Buckeye pass catcher ran his route to the 21-yard line, but broke off the route and improvised, while Heinicke ran around buying more time. McLaurin headed towards the end zone, waving his hand, signalling for Heinicke to throw the 50-50 ball.
The pass looked like a sure interception by Gilmore, until McLaurin outmuscled the corner for the ball. The clutch reception put the Commanders offense at the Colts 1 yard line with 22 seconds remaining. The usually reserved McLaurin was fired up after the play and for good reason, with his family and friends cheering him on.
As fans held their breath, Heinicke ran the quarterback draw the following play for the touchdown, sealing the comeback victory. As key as it was that Heinicke bought time to find MacLaurin downfield, not many receivers in this league make the type of play that #17 did with the game on the line.
McLaurin had his best performance of the season with 113 yards on 6 receptions vs the Colts. He recorded a long reception of 42 yards, in addition to the late game 33 yard clutch reception (18.8 yard average) to set up the winning score.
Whether it's Alex Smith, Wentz, Heinicke or the nearly dozen other quarterbacks that McLaurin has had in Washington, one thing remains clear, Scary Terry is one the hardest receivers to cover in football.
McLaurin is rapidly ascending to one of the best to ever wear the Burgundy & Gold and one must wonder, how good he'll be once Washington finds their franchise quarterback of the future.
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