Commanders' Ron Rivera Undecided on Heinicke, Wentz at QB After Eagles Upset

Erin WalshNovember 15, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 14: Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Commanders reacts against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 14, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders put an end to the Philadelphia Eagles' undefeated season with a 32-21 win at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, and it was Taylor Heinicke, not Carson Wentz, who powered Ron Rivera's squad to victory.

The Commanders now have a decision to make at quarterback. Will they stick with Wentz? Or will they turn to Heinicke, who has served as Wentz's backup for most of the season? Rivera is undecided.

The veteran head coach told reporters he'll put the team above all else when making his choice, per ESPN's John Keim:

"You look at what is best for the team and that's how it has to be. There's a great saying, 'You treat everyone the same, you treat everyone fair but you treat everyone according to the team. So the decision will be made about the team first and foremost. Whoever the starter is I will commit to them fully. I don't want them looking over their shoulder."

Heinicke completed 17-of-29 passes for 211 yards and one interception against the Eagles. It wasn't the most dazzling performance, but he got Washington the victory, something Wentz has struggled to do this year.

Wentz, who was traded to the Commanders from the Indianapolis Colts before the 2022 season, is on injured reserve and has been sidelined since suffering a broken finger in a Week 6 matchup against the Chicago Bears.

The 29-year-old struggled through the first six games of the season, completing 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions. The Commanders went 2-4 with Wentz as their starter.

In the four games that Heinicke has been the starter, the Commanders are 3-1, and they evened their record to 5-5 with Sunday's win against the Eagles. The 29-year-old has completed 62 percent of his passes for 840 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 60 yards and one score.

While Heinicke has played slightly better than Wentz, he told reporters after Monday's game that he won't be disappointed if Rivera decides to stick with Wentz when he is activated off injured reserve:

"If my number is called, I'll be ready to go in. Whatever decision they want to make, let's go. If I'm backing up Carson next week, great. I'm going to help him in any way that I can to get ready for that Texans game. The biggest thing for me is let's just go win. Let's keep winning whether it means playing or not."

At 5-5, the Commanders are right on the NFC playoff bubble. They'll face the 1-7-1 Houston Texans on Sunday.