Taylor Heinicke’s football IQ made the difference against Philadelphia

Lots of issues went proper for Washington against the Eagles earlier this week. The play calling was improved, the execution was wonderful, and the protection was high notch. And, even with all these positives, the recreation nonetheless got here all the way down to the previous couple of minutes, with Washington up by solely 5 factors till the closing seconds of the match.

Against a high finish opponent like the 2022 Eagles, there’s little or no margin for error. Their offense is simply too potent and their protection too unforgiving to play a lot lower than a virtually flawless recreation. And Washington’s recreation wasn’t fairly flawless. A really poor rep by deal with Charles Leno early in the first quarter led to a sack/fumble of Taylor Heinicke and an easy seven factors on the ensuing collection.

Down by seven to the 8-0 Eagles, Washington would want to play their finest football, and definitely keep away from any extra catastrophes. Two heads up performs, particularly, by Taylor Heinicke ensured they did.

Play 1

Down 14 to 10 with 5:18 in the second quarter, Washington had pushed to midfield after a 23 yard go to Curtis Samuel. On first and 10 from the Eagles 48 yard line, obvious catastrophe would strike. Center Tyler Larsen would launch the snap over Heinicke’s head all the approach again to the Washington 33, the place Taylor would recuperate it.

Under regular circumstances, most folk would have merely thought of Washington fortunate to have recovered the ball and saved it out of Philadelphia’s palms, even when it resulted in a second and 29, and a possible stalled out drive.

Instead, of merely falling on the ball and defending it, Heinicke grabbed it, scrambled and launched the ball to the left sideline, previous the line of scrimmage. Having gotten exterior the pocket and superior the ball previous the line of scrimmage, there was no intentional grounding to be known as, and Washington now had a manageable second and 10.

Heinicke’s restoration required not only a vital quantity of athleticism, to initially observe the errant snap down, after which to scramble sufficiently to launch the ball the place it wanted to go, but in addition a specific amount of brazenness, to not merely fall on the ball. But most significantly, it required the situational consciousness to acknowledge {that a} easy restoration would have crippled the drive, and that getting the ball out previous the line of scrimmage was a necessity in an effort to keep away from a important penalty. In my a long time of watching football, I am unable to say I’ve ever seen a play fairly prefer it.

Washington would run 9 extra performs on that drive, burning down the clock, and in the end rating a landing, placing the crew up for the the rest of the recreation.

Play 2

Late in the fourth quarter, with Washington up 26-21, Ron Rivera’s objective was merely to burn sufficient clock to hamstring Philadelphia’s alternative to win the recreation at the finish. A few ultra-conservative run performs saddled Washington with a protracted third with 1:45 left in the recreation. The distance necessitated a passing play, and it was clear that Taylor’s objective was merely to not flip the ball over on his personal facet of the area.

Seeing nothing open downfield, and feeling strain bearing down on him from each edges, Heinicke determined to present himself up and take a knee. Nothing significantly notable there, though the kneel down was definitely preferable to a traditional sack.

What got here subsequent helped clinch the recreation, nevertheless. Having taken the knee, Hassan Reddick grabbed Taylor from behind and Brandon Graham plowed into him from the entrance. An ever-so-slight little bit of thespianism and an immediate enchantment to the nearest official resulted in fast roughing of the passer name, a Washington first down, and the eventual burning of most of the remainder of the clock.

Can I show that Heinicke’s animation solicited the referee’s flag definitively? No, however his gross sales job, and the considerably unconventional resolution to take the knee there and confuse the defenders – and he did confuse the defender – sealed the deal.

Graham added: “I used to be simply making an attempt to the touch him down. It simply seemed like he was going to rise up. You simply by no means know. But that is on me. I’m gonna personal that one. It’s on me.”


Taylor Heinicke’s bodily limitations – his dimension, his arm power – as an NFL quarterback are well-documented, however certainly one of the issues that appears much less properly acknowledged is the psychological power of the Old Dominion math main’s recreation. Against the Eagles, it was a important consider the victory, an attribute his head coach acknowledged:

“He’s a really savvy man. He understands the recreation. He performs the recreation together with his hair on hearth. He is aware of what he must do in an effort to give us an opportunity to win.” – Ron Rivera

It could be smart for the few remaining Heinicke-skeptics to present this part of his recreation related consideration.


Who do you assume has a better football IQ?

  • 96%

    Taylor Heinicke

    (275 votes)

286 votes in complete

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