Taylor Heinicke clearly left lasting impression on Bucs based on latest quotes

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team rushes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField on January 09, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - JANUARY 09: Quarterback Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team rushes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at FedExField on January 09, 2021 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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The performance Taylor Heinicke turned in against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card last season was inspiring and forever endeared him into the hearts of Washington Football Team fans and the franchise itself.

It’s largely why he was kept around as the backup for 2021 and been given such a long leash as the temporary starter.

On Sunday, fans will be treated to a rematch of that playoff thriller, though oddsmakers don’t seem to think it’ll be as close.

After all, the Bucs are 6-2, the current No. 3 seed in the NFC and might have this season’s MVP in Tom Brady. Washington, meanwhile, entered their bye on a four-game losing streak during which they averaged 13.7 points.

Despite all that, Tampa Bay isn’t taking this matchup lightly.

They remember that Heinicke, who had made just one NFL start coming into that game, ate their defense alive and a couple of high-profile members of the team had nothing but positive things to say about the 28-year-old.

First up? None other than Bruce Arians.

Washington Football Team QB Taylor Heinicke left his mark on the Bucs in last year’s playoff game.

“He can play, now. He can run,” Arians said. “He threw some great balls in that  game. I think that team plays very, very hard for him. I like the way he plays.”

Arians pretty much hit the nail right on the head. For the game, Heinicke went 26-of-34 (76.4%) for 306 yards and one touchdown to one interception. He added 46 yards on the ground, four of which came on an iconic touchdown run where he leaped and fully extended his body a couple yards shy of the pylon.

Like Arians said, Heinicke can ball.

If you were looking for a more detailed quote, linebacker Lavonte David, the longtime captain of the Buccaneers defense, couldn’t help but gush over Heinicke and his playoff performance.

"“They’ve got weapons across the field. Terry McLaurin, he’s a threat at receiver, Antonio Gibson and (JD) McKissic,” David said. “Obviously, the quarterback, we remember what he did to us last year. He’s definitely a threat for us.”“Dealing with a mobile quarterback, you’ve got to be smart with your rush lanes and what you’ve got to be able to do to keep eyes on him, just in case he takes off. He’s been playing good football for them. We’ve got to be disciplined and fundamentally sound.”"

Based on that quote, it feels like David and Tampa Bay’s defense will be out to make a statement against Heinicke this weekend. If you remember, Heinicke gave the former All-Pro, arguably the Buccaneers most consistent player on that side of the ball, fits with his legs when he broke free of the pocket.

In fact, David was one of the handful of Bucs defenders that Heinicke beat to the pylon, even though they seemed to cutoff his angle.

While Tampa Bay’s defense is banged up, we’re interested to see how Heinicke adapts to their game plan. According to David, it sounds like they’re going to do everything possible to make Heinicke beat them from the pocket.

That’s probably his biggest area of weakness, but we’ll believe that they’re actually capable of containing him when we see it.

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