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Commanders Beat Colts To Extend Winning Streak To Three

By Mark Solway | November 2nd, 2022

It was a battle of formerly backup quarterbacks. Sam Ehlinger stepped in for an injured Matt Ryan, and Taylor Heinicke made his second straight start for the Washington Commanders. Neither one of them looked like they’d be breaking any passing records any time soon, but in the end, Heinicke earned another pair of Nikes and came away with a 17-16 victory.

The Commanders quarterback ultimately put up decent numbers, going 23 of 31 for 279 yards with an interception and two touchdowns – one in the air, one on the ground. But in a tight match-up, it was Heinicke’s last two plays that made all the difference.

The first of those two, was a wing-and-a-prayer toss to Terry McLaurin who made a phenomenal play. Heinicke just threw the ball up and let his star receiver do the rest – which he did. McLaurin came down with the ball on the half-yard line.

One play later, Heinicke successfully ran a quick sneak and put the Commanders ahead by a point with just 22 seconds to go.

Offensively Average

To be frank, it was one of those games where you put your hands over your face and just opened your fingers a crack to peer through.

Washington struggled to move the ball for much of the game. They were just 2 for 12 on third down. They did go 2-for-3 on fourth downs though.

Heinicke led the way for the Commanders in rushing yards (29), which is not likely how they drew it up. Curtis Samuel also had 29 yards rushing – but Brian Robinson Jr. (8/20) and Antonio Gibson (7/19) both had less than 20 yards.

Heinicke spread the ball around, finding eight different receivers. McLaurin hauled in 6 passes for 113 yards to lead the team, while Gibson continues to do well out of the backfield catching 8 passes for 58 yards. Samuels and J.D. McKissic both caught 3 balls, while Cam Sims, Dax Milne, Armani Rogers and John Bates all caught a ball each.

Washington’s defense did a decent job, holding Jonathan Taylor to 76 yards on 16 carries. They also forced a fumble on Taylor, and one on Ehlinger as well. Washington recovered both fumbles (Daron Payne, Casey Toohill).

Fourth Quarter Turnaround

To be fair, the game could have gone either way.

Washington was leading 7-6 heading into the final stanza. The Colts kicked a field goal to go up 9-7 but on the first play of the next drive, Heinicke was hit as he was throwing the ball and the Colts were given a very short field. They converted just three plays later on a Nyheim Hines six-yard touchdown scamper, and suddenly Washington was down by two scores.

That only seemed to spur Heinicke on. He marched the team 82 yards down the field on the next drive. They had to settle for a Joey Slye field goal, but 75 of those yards came from Heinicke passes.

Gut Check

Then the defense came up big and forced the Colts to punt the ball back to Washington.

Heinicke stepped up yet again. This time taking the team 89 yards on 9 plays.

The creme de la creme of which, was the 33-yard bomb to McLaurin just outside the end zone. The receiver had already run his route but broke away from the cornerback when the play had seemingly been covered. Heinicke under-threw the ball slightly, but McLaurin came back to the ball, and wrestled it away from the leaping Colts defender. It was the type of contested catch that the Washington receiver has become famous for – the kind that earned him the big pay raise.

After the game, Heinicke said of McLaurin:

“He continues to make the plays. Very blessed that he’s on our team. I can’t say enough good things about Terry. The guy is a treasure. I’m very happy he’s on our team and I’m going to continue to give him shots when needed.”

Heinicke scored moments later to go up 17-16 and seal the victory.

Was it pretty?

No. Obviously Washington didn’t move the ball well for three quarters. Heinicke had more yards in the last two drives (171 yards), than he did previously to that in the entire game (108 yards).

What is it?

There’s just a certain je ne sais quoi to Heinicke’s game.

The leader of the Commanders knows what it is. Jonathan Allen said of Heinicke:

“He’s a ball player. At the end of the day, he’s going to win you football games.”

Amen to that.

Two in a row.

Victory Monday

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