The Washington Football Team needs to flush their Week 3 loss. Throw it out the window. Bury it. Basically any cliche metaphor would suffice.
While terms like embarrassing, humbling, reality check and demeaning — pretty much any word in the dictionary that radiates negativity — can be used to describe the performance, at the end of the day, it counts as just one loss.
If Ron Rivera has the respect of the locker room, Washington should bounce back this weekend against the 1-2 Atlanta Falcons. Is it a must-win? Probably, but after Sunday fans are just looking for signs of improvement.
While all eyes will be on Chase Young and the defense to see if they rebound after another forgettable performance, we’re equally intrigued to see how Taylor Heinicke responds from the worst start of his career.
Rivera told reporters that he would like to see Heinicke be more of a “game-manager”, and we couldn’t agree more. After all, the 28-year-old quarterback was, to put it kindly, a liability throwing from a clean pocket vs Buffalo.
Taylor Heinicke’s struggling from a clean pocket is concerning.
A big concern heading into Week 3 was how Washington’s offensive line would perform against the Bills’ improved pass rush. As it turns out, they held up pretty well and were one of the few positives from the blowout loss.
Unfortunately, however, it didn’t translate to success for Heinicke, who was sacked only once and pressured just eight times. To put those numbers into perspective, Buffalo generated a whopping 46 pressures vs Miami in Week 2.
Despite having ample time to go through his progressions, Heinicke went just 12-of-19 from a clean pocket on Sunday. In other words, 19 of his 24 pass attempts came from a clean pocket and he still struggled with efficiency.
That’s not a good sign, as Pro Football Focus gave Heinicke a lousy 52.9 passing grade from a clean pocket. To make matters worse, the Old Dominion product had nearly three seconds (2.93) to throw per dropback.
We keep reverting back to this particular play when Heinicke took FOREVER to turn his attention to the left side of the field. Though the pocket wasn’t squeaky clean, he got flustered (look at his body language) and ended up making a poor decision that resulted in an interception.
In all honesty, that should be plenty of time for Heinicke to go through his progressions and move the chains. The fact he struggled so much in this regard tells us he was trying to play hero-ball instead of taking what the defense gave him.
You simply can’t tell us that Buffalo’s secondary blanketed Heinicke’s receivers on EVERY snap. He even could’ve taken off and ran for a big gain. A quarterback with his athleticism has to be more aware of his surroundings.
It’s only one bad game, so we’re not hitting the panic button. After all, Heinicke’s defense did him zero favors on Sunday. However, he won’t last as Washington’s starting QB much longer if he continues struggling in a clean pocket.
That’s when quarterbacks are supposed to feast and Heinicke did the opposite of that against the Bills.