If there’s something we love here at Hoss, it’s a great underdog story. Washington entered Saturday night’s game against Tampa Bay as 10 point ‘home-dogs’ and facing the GOAT, Tom Brady. However, Washington had Taylor Heinicke…..
Well, Taylor Heinicke was a 4-year starter at Old Dominion University and signed as an undrafted-free agent to the Vikings in 2015, but didn’t appear in any games during his time in Minnesota. After a couple additional unsuccessful stents in both Houston and New England, Heinicke finally had his first real taste of NFL-action in 2018, as a backup to Cam Newton in Carolina. Heinicke appeared in 6 games, completing 35/57 passes, for 320 yards and a touchdown. However, Heinicke spent the next 2 years out of the NFL. In 2020, Heinicke was the backup-QB of the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks, where he didn’t appear in any games. But, Taylor stayed fresh by shotgunning beers in a fashion that would make ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin proud.
Heinicke's arm accuracy, ability to escape the pocket, and Hoss-like toughness clearly made a strong impression on head coach Ron Rivera while in Carolina. Now coaching Washington, when Kyle Allen was injured and franchise QB Dwayne Haskins was spotted at a strip club after a loss, albeit with strict NFL Covid-protocols, Rivera again called Taylor Heinicke to be his backup.
Taylor Heinicke, who had been out of the NFL since 2018, first needed to receive special permission from Old Dominion University to postpone his final exams until after the NFL season. Finishing his Mathematics degree would have to take a back seat to getting another opportunity to play QB in the NFL. In Week 16, Heinke played reliever for Haskins who was struggling again. Heinicke brought Washington back into the game, going 12/19 for 137 yards, TD, and rushing for another 22 yards. Although they lost, Washington felt confident in Heinicke’s ability if a situation arose where they needed him again.
Well, after a calf strain to Alex Smith’s robo-leg, Washington would again call on Heinicke, and he definitely answered. The stakes were not too high for Heinicke, who went 26/44 for 306 yards, with a TD, and INT. Heinicke led several impressive scoring drives, and was fitting passes in tight windows all night. Taylor also rushed for 46 yards, including a dazzling 13 yard TD where he somehow escaped the pass rush and beat the defense to the pylon, diving a couple yards to do so. On top of it all, Heinicke separated the AC joint in his non-throwing shoulder, and didn't even miss a play.
With 5 minutes to play, Heinicke threw an absolute dime to Steven Sims on a corner route to make it a one-possession game. Even the Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes gave Taylor his props, tweeting “Regardless of the outcome what a game by Heinicke!” Washington may have lost the game, but they still covered the spread and had a chance to tie it at the end, and their quarterback was a huge reason why.
With his gutsy performance Saturday night, Taylor Heinicke likely made himself a lot of money. It is unclear what Washington plans to do at the Quarterback position, but Heinicke, an unrestricted free agent, was not short on confidence and made it clear where he wanted to be, "I deserve to be in this league a little longer...I'd love to be here [Washington], I want to be here”, he explained to NBC Sports Washington. Washington’s star receiver Terry McLaurin echoed Heinicke’s comments as well, stating “I’ll take No. 4 on my team any day of the week, twice on Sunday… That dude plays with no fear… He gave us a chance.”
Quite the praise for a guy who was studying for his Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics just a month ago. Let’s all wish Taylor ‘goodluck’ on his final exams, with a simple math equation:
Taylor Heinicke = Hoss