Week 8 key numbers: Taylor Heinicke, Terry McLaurin help Commanders stun Colts
The Taylor Heinicke roller coaster experience continues. After throwing a head-scratching interception with just over 12 minutes left in the game, leading to the Colts going up 16-7 on the Washington Commanders, many fans were rightly frustrated. The calls…err howls (gotta get the Halloween references in) for rookie Sam Howell were coming in.
But Heinicke, forever the gamer, seems to play best with his back against the wall. With his team down 10, he orchestrated two straight scoring drives to help the Commanders steal a one-point win, 17-16, against the Colts.
It was once again not a pretty game, but the team continued to show heart and not give up regardless of how bad the outcome looked during the game. In that way, the team epitomizes everything that Ron Rivera has been trying to instill in this franchise. And with a three-game winning streak, a lot of the noise surrounding the team should quiet down, at least for the moment.
For the second game in a row, the connection between Heinicke and Terry McLaurin was on full display. Heinicke connected with McLaurin for a 33-yard completion late in the fourth quarter to put the ball at the one. One play later, Heinicke ran in what would be the game-winning score on a quarterback keeper.
McLaurin playing in his hometown for the first time in his NFL career made sure to let the Colts fans and players know that this was his city, as he played a major part in putting the finishes touches on the win for the Commanders.
Let’s get into the key numbers from Washington’s exciting win.
Key numbers from Commanders’ comeback win over the Colts
The Good: Commanders continue to show heart
7-3: Yes, there are times when you watch Heinicke throw into double or triple coverage and question why he is starting at quarterback. But for every mistake, he wins back the fanbase with his gutsy play when it counts the most. Over his last 10 starts, Heinicke is a cool 7-3. During that 10-game period, he has completed over 66% of his passes and has a 1.5:1 TD-to-INT ratio.
166: After throwing a horrible interception, Heinicke game back and accounted for 166 of the Commanders’ 171 total yards on their back-to-back scoring drives. Heinicke went 12-for-14 for 151 yards on the final two drives, adding in 15 rushing yards and a rushing TD. Now if that doesn’t say gamer, I don’t know what does. He earned that new pair of Jordans and the $125K bonus he gets for every win where he plays 60+% of snaps on those final two drives.
+3: Washington is now +3 in turnover ratio during its three-game winning streak after being -5 during its four-game losing streak. Not only did Washington’s defense force two fumbles with the Colts inside of the 30-yard line, but they also stopped Jonathan Taylor on a big third-and-goal, holding the Colts to a field goal.
30: Curtis Samuel came up big, getting 30 of his 50 receiving yards on two key 4th-down conversions that kept the game alive on both of Washington’s final two scoring drives. He deserves a big hand for the contribution he made to this W.
1.94: McLaurin had an average of 1.94 yards of separation from the nearest defender at the time the ball reached him, according to Next Gen Stats. In spite of facing tight coverage, McLaurin continued to come up with big plays including his contested catch over Stephon Gilmore, which set up the game-winner.
On the play, McLaurin improvised after seeing Heinicke extending the play and then wrestled the ball away from the defender. He was worth every penny the Commanders are paying him.
25: Antonio Gibson had 77 total yards and scored the 25th touchdown in his Washington career, the most by a Washington player through their first 38 games in franchise history.
2.96: The Colts gained 55 yards on 2 runs from Jonathan Taylor and Parris Campbell. However, on their other 27 rushes, they only gained 80 yards, averaging a meager 2.96 yards per carry.