It’s a shot in the arm that the Washington Football Team needed in game four of the season against the Atlanta Falcons. Mercedes Benz Stadium was the site of a fierce battle on Sunday, but the visitors prevailed in the end.
Following a week of anger, frustration, bickering, and finger-pointing, Washington was facing the first truly “must-win” game of the season and the home team was determined to deny the Burgundy and Gold. Hoping to put the nightmarish game against Buffalo behind them, the nameless team came to Atlanta with a chip on their shoulders and an opportunity to thrust themselves back into the NFC East playoff picture.
It wasn’t pretty on defense once again, but it was enough to allow Washington a chance to escape western Georgia with another Taylor Heinicke miracle. However, this victory came with a steep cost. Injuries to several key players knocked them out of the game and the status for each one is mixed. The long list includes:
- Logan Thomas (hamstring – week to week)
- Brandon Scherff (sprained MCL – three week recovery)
- Antonio Gibson (shin, ribs – likely to play)
- Matt Ioannidis (knee – week to week)
- Dyami Brown (knee – day to day)
- Torry McTyer (torn ACL – season ending)
- Jon Bostic (pectoral – season ending)
- Cam Sims (hamstring – day to day)
- Benjamin St-Juste (concussion protocol)
Losing McTyer and Bostic hurts the team, but Khaleke Hudson could fill in nicely for Bostic. McTyer provides solid depth at cornerback, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Washington Football Team promote former roster regular Danny Johnson from the practice squad. Edited to add: Johnson has been signed to the active roster.
Despite the high number of injuries, Washington was able to stay in the fight and post a significant victory against a determined conference foe on Sunday. The Burgundy and Gold are now 2-0 in the NFC (1-0, NFC East) and if the season ended this week, a wildcard playoff spot would be awarded to the team. However, a full season must be played and we need to take a final look at the Falcons game.
Welcome to our week four analysis and grades of Sunday’s game. We have five positives to mention and analyze. We’ll award four game balls and provide you with the grades for each unit on offense and defense. The grades are mixed for this week, but favorable overall. We’ll also have a prediction and brief analysis of the Saints game. Let’s get right to it!
1. The Taylor Heinicke phenomenon continues
Another week, another Taylor Heinicke miracle. The fans can’t get enough of it and the Old Dominion product continues to defy conventional wisdom. A quarterback with his physical stature, pedigree, and experience is not supposed to have this kind of impact. Yes, he is our first positive from Sunday’s game. It wasn’t perfect, but Heinicke simply leads Washington to many scoring opportunities each week.
Anyone can tell you about Taylor Heinicke’s gaudy numbers thus far in 2021 or furnish some analytics, but the true measure is the scoreboard. In Washington’s two victories thus far, the team has produced 30 and 34 points. The two losses weren’t pretty, but the no-name team has put double-digit numbers on the board in each game.
Something is working with Heinicke and it’s nice to have a hot hand at quarterback. Will it continue and can number 4 become QB1? It’s time to find out, but Taylor Heinicke is our first positive from Sunday’s game.