Carson Wentz Replaces Taylor Heinicke as Commanders QB vs. 49ers in Week 16

Erin WalshDecember 24, 2022

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 24: Carson Wentz #11 of the Washington Commanders warms up prior to a game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Washington Commanders have replaced Taylor Heinicke with Carson Wentz in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Washington was down 30-14 at the time it inserted Wentz into the game. Heinicke completed 13 of 18 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns against one interception before being pulled.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports (h/t NFL insider Dov Kleiman) reported before the game that the Commanders had a "plan" to bench Heinicke in favor of Wentz if he struggled in Saturday's game.

Additionally NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that the leash was getting shorter for Heinicke following poor performances against the New York Giants on Dec. 4 and Dec. 18.

While Heinicke wasn't necessarily playing that poorly, the Commanders needed any kind of spark they could get against a 49ers team that has played very well behind rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.

Wentz, who returned from a stint on injured reserve late last month, told reporters Wednesday that he was "physically feeling good" and would be ready to go against the 49ers if his number was called.

The 29-year-old began the season as Washington's starter after coming over in a trade from the Indianapolis Colts. In the team's first six games, he completed 62.1 percent of his passes for 1,489 yards and 10 touchdowns against six interceptions as the Commanders went 2-4.

Heinicke has started every game since, going 5-3-1 including the 37-20 loss to the 49ers. He entered Saturday's game having completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 1,693 yards and 10 touchdowns against five interceptions.

Despite falling to 7-7-1 on Saturday, Washington is still very much in the NFC playoff picture.