Washington’s 29-19 win over Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers was astonishing. Without a doubt, it was the biggest win for the Washington Football Team in quite some time. Sure, it was Washington’s third win of the season. And they got it in week 10. But after rewatching the game, it is apparent that this win could serve as a turning point in the season.
Despite losing Chase Young early in the game to a season-ending injury, Washington somehow managed to maintain control of the game. In every facet of the game, the football team looked like the actual Football Team. New kicker Joey Slye made all five of his kicks, going 2/2 on extra points. He also made all three of his field goals from 25, 29, and 45 yards. The defense, by far, played its best game of the season to date.
The unit forced two interceptions, held Tampa’s offense to only 273 TOTAL YARDS, and limited the Buccaneers to 19 points. Tom Brady’s 220 passing yards were his lowest of the season. His 6.4 yards per completion was his third-lowest of the season. Washington’s secondary has been atrocious all season but held the number one passing offense in the NFL to only 220 passing yards. Ironically they did so without the injured Montez Sweat and Young. Two cornerstones of Washington’s defense. It will be interesting to see if the defense can hold up without their dynamic rushing duo.
Offensively, Scott Turner deserves credit for his game plan last week against Tampa Bay. Although Washington only gained 94 total rushing yards as a team, Turner remained consistent with the rushing attack, with a season-high 34 rushing attempts for the Washington Football Team.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke played his best game of the season. He didn’t produce All-Pro numbers, but Heinicke did engineer a 19-play, 80-yard drive that accounted for 10:26 minutes of the fourth quarter that decisively ended with Antonio Gibson’s second rushing touchdown from one yard out sealed the upset for the Washington Football Team.
Can the Washington Football Team upset the Carolina Panthers on the road?
The real question is, was last week’s win against Tampa Bay a fluke, or the start of another strong finish for Ron Rivera’s team? The Carolina Panthers have their own renewed energy with the return of Cam Newton at the quarterback. They also currently sit as the seventh seed in the NFC playoffs if the season ended today. The Panthers are also still alive in the division race for the NFC South. So on paper, Carolina has more to gain with a win.
Against the Panthers, it’ll be a homecoming for both Taylor Heinicke and offensive coordinator Scott Turner. If Washington is to have a chance at an upset on the road in Carolina, Turner and Heinicke need to either replicate their success from last week or be even better. Scott Turner remained persistent with the running game, and it paid dividends for Heinicke, who finished with a career-high 81 percent completion percentage.
The Panthers are stout defensively in many aspects of the game. They are sixth in points allowed, second in pass defense, and tied for third in the NFL in sacks with 27. They have playmakers on every level, especially in the secondary. However, they are the 30th ranked red zone defense and have struggled to stop the run in their five losses.
Although the Washington Football Team just picked up their third win of the season in week 10, they mathematically have an outside shot at the playoffs. Last year the Chicago Bears earned the seventh spot with an 8-8 record. They did so despite enduring a six-game losing streak from weeks 7-13. If Washington can maximize their chances, they’ll have a solid chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season.