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Washington Waste Opportunities And Fall 33-22 At Fed Ex

By Mark Solway | October 11th, 2021

The Washington Football Team didn’t put a very good foot forward at Fed Ex Field on Sunday. In a game where they certainly had some opportunities,  they were ultimately spanked by the New Orleans Saints 33-22.

Early on it looked like Washington’s defense might finally catch fire, when Colt Holcomb intercepted Jameis Winston on the Saints very first drive. The WFT couldn’t capitalize fully on the turnover but did manage a Dustin Hopkins field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.

The joy was brief.


On the third play of the Saints next drive, Winston hit a way-too-wide-open Deonte Harris with a 72-yard touchdown pass to snatch back a 7-3 lead. It didn’t look like there was even a Washington defender in the state of Maryland.

Still, Taylor Heinicke came out and put together a solid 12 play, 72-yard drive for Washington on the next possession. Unfortunately, it stalled at the Saints 5-yard line. Washington had to settle for another Hopkins field goal, and were down 7-6.

Young Gets First Sack

Then there was another spark from the WFT defense. Chase Young finally got his first sack of the season. He also forced a Winston fumble, that Daron Payne recovered at the New Orleans 44-yard line.

Washington squandered the opportunity, but were granted a second chance when New Orleans were flagged for roughing the kicker. Five plays later, Antonio Gibson ran off guard for a 5-yard touchdown, and a 13-7 Washington lead.

On the next drive,  Washington’s cornerback William Jackson was slapped with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty. New Orleans scored three plays later on an Alvin Kamara 23-yard touchdown run. Cody Parkey missed the extra point for New Orleans, and the game was dead even at 13-13.

Heinicke Hacks A Furr Ball

Only a Heinicke interception kept Washington from going ahead on the next possession. After driving WFT all the way down to the New Orleans 16, Heinicke was picked off by P. Adebo at the Saints 2-yard line. Bad decision from Heinicke. Bad turnover, and a very wasted opportunity.

Washington’s defense responded though, and kept the Saints pinned inside the 2-yard line. New Orleans punted the ball from their own end zone and Washington would get to start inside the Saints half at the 47.

Heinicke seemed rattled by the previous interception when he came out though. He completed a short 7-yard pass to Ricky Seals-Jones, but then threw four consecutive incomplete passes. The fourth one was on a fourth and ten from the Saints 35, and gave New Orleans the ball back.

Another opportunity squandered completely.

Defense Holds

Nevertheless, the WFT defense held the Saints again. New Orleans only managed one first down, and were then forced to punt.

Unfortunately for Washington, Saints punter Blake Gillikin uncorked a howlitzer. He blasted his punt 60 yards, AND angled it out at the Washington 1-yard line. It was one of three 50-plus yard punts from Gillikin, that pinned Washington inside their own 5-yard line.

Heinicke had just under two minutes to work with in the half, but he and Washington’s offense could manage little more than a bit of breathing room for punter Tress Way.  They had to punt the ball back to the Saints. And they’d left nineteen seconds on the clock.

Hail Mary Kerfuffle

There was little time for anything but a Hail Mary for the Saints. And what NFL team wants to do that, right? NFL defensive players are far too evolved and game-ready to be beaten by a 50-yard Hail Mary… right?

Inexplicably, Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway got in front of all of the would-be-should-be Washington defenders, and came down with a 49-yard Hail Mary highlight reel catch.

It was a dagger through the hearts of every WFT player and fan.

And a 20-13 half-time lead for New Orleans.

Second Half

As a stark contrast to the “thrilling” pass to end the first half, the second half began with a whimper.

Both teams managed a whopping 27 total yards on the next four possessions.

Another Wasted Opportunity

It wasn’t until half way through the third quarter when Washington managed to string a few first downs together. Actually WFT put a good drive together. A solid mix of run and pass that ate up 7 minutes and moved the ball 70 yards on 14 plays.

It conked out again inside the 5-yard line. Washington again had to settle for a Hopkins field goal. They had drawn to within four of the Saints at 20-16, but they had wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead.

That’s actually as close as Washington would come.

Saints punter Gillikin pinned Washington inside their five again on the ensuing drive.

This time with the field possession turned against them, Heinicke cracked and threw another interception. This one on Washington’s own 26-yard line.

Winston hit wide receiver Callaway again for their second touchdown hook-up, four plays later. That put the Saints up 27-16 with just under a full quarter to play.

Touchdowns Traded

Washington scored on their next drive to draw back to 27-22, but then missed the 2-point attempt.

All they had to do was get the ball back in the final 8 minutes to have one more shot at taking the lead. They couldn’t.

New Orleans’ offense not only came out and ate up four-and-a-half minutes of game clock, but drove the ball 75 yards and scored a touchdown. Cary Parker missed the point after, but it was 33-22 New orleans, and that’s how it would finish.

Some Numbers

Jameis Winston threw four touchdown passes, and was 15 of 30 for 279 yards. The 72-yard pass to Deonte Harris was both men’s longest scoring play of their careers.

Taylor Heinicke finished 20 of 41 for 248 yards, but his two interceptions were the two important marks in his stat line.  He now has five interceptions in his four starts. His 47.6 quarterback rating was by far the lowest of his four starts.

Up Next

Washington will host Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

2021 WFT Regular Season Schedule


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