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Commanders Earn Taylor-Made Win Over Packers

By Mark Solway | October 25th, 2022

Taylor Heinicke might not have the most NFL-est arm in the league, but Taylor Heinicke certainly has one of the most NFL-est attitudes in the game. With Carson Wentz out for a minimum of four games, Washington’s backup quarterback took to the field on Sunday to try and win a football game. And did.

In true Washington form, fans were split down the middle as to wether or not they should throw any praise in Heinicke’s direction. The bottom line is that the Washington Commanders beat a Green Bay Packers team that almost nobody expected them to beat. Especially with a backup quarterback at the helm.

First Half Follies

Was he magical?

Not at all. He struggled early on. He started just 1 of 7 for 14 yards.

In fact, it didn’t look good for Heinicke for the entire first half. Not only did he throw an interception – the interception was returned for a 67-yard touchdown. He was also very lucky to have not been picked off three or four times. On top of that, he was rescued by a penalty on a fumble that was also returned for a touchdown.

Half Time Speeches?

Who knows what happened at half-time, but it worked.

It’s hard to say whether it was Scott Turner’s adjustment in play calling, or just Taylor settling into the flow, but the quarterback looked like a different player in the second half. Chances are that it was a bit of both.

Heinicke ended up completing passes to seven different targets. Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuels were both targeted eight times, and caught five balls each. McLaurin led the way with 73 yards, over half of which came on a beautiful 37-yard touchdown hook-up.

Samuels had 53 yards, with his longest being 26.

Was it the most NFL-est game ever played by a quarterback?

No, but it was good enough. Heinicke finished 20 of 33, with 200 yards. He had two touchdowns and the interception.

Backfield Bonus

It really helped the backup quarterback, that the running game got it together.

Brian Robinson Jr. carried the ball twenty times for 73 yards. Counterpart Antonio Gibson carried the ball ten times for 59 yards. it was by far their best tandem outing of 2022. All tolled with receptions included, the two running backs had 35 touches. That’s the kind of game that you want an offensive co-ordinator to call when a quarterback is making his first start of the season.

Curtis Samuel chipped in as well, with 26 yards on five carries. So the three combined for 158 yards on the ground.

Getting Defensive

Even in a piece about Heinicke, it would be remiss to not mention the performance of the defense.

While the quarterback may not have had anything to do with the defense, he certainly was the benefactor of it. Washington’s defense played arguably it’s best game of the season.

Holding Aaron Rodgers under 200 yards passing (194), is a feat in itself. The four-time NFL MVP has thrown for over 300 yards, 69 different times in his career. Furthermore, Rodgers highest game total ever (480 yards) came at the expense of the Washington defense in 2013. The Green Bay quarterback finished the game face down in the turf after failing on a last ditch effort to win the game. It was a fitting image for the game that the Packers offense played.

The Commanders’ defense also held Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to just 38 yards rushing. They came into the game averaging 122.3 yards per game this season. That number dipped to 110.3 after Washington’s stellar defensive performance.

Important Statistic

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the statistics, but the most important one on Sunday was one win.

While the Packers may have faltered over the last few weeks, they were favored by 5.5 points and were definitely expected to come away with a victory.

Instead, Washington improved to 3-4 and stayed in the playoff hunt. Had they fallen to 2-5, things would have really started to look bleak. As it stands, they are just a half game back of a Wild Card spot.

It’s premature to even think of such things, but in a division that is red hot, keeping pace is vital.

Victory Monday

Categories Posted In | Game Day | News | Washington Commanders |