3 Takeaways from Washington's Week 2 Win

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2021

3 Takeaways from Washington's Week 2 Win

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    The Washington Football Team won one of the most bizarre games you will see all season in the NFL on Thursday night. 

    Dustin Hopkins used his second chance on a game-winning field-goal attempt to give Ron Rivera's side a 30-29 victory over the New York Giants

    The path to Hopkins' game-winner was quite unconventional. Washington had a chance to kill off the game late in the fourth quarter, but Taylor Heinicke threw an interception. 

    Heinicke redeemed himself on the final drive, as he led Washington on an 11-play, 50-yard drive to set up Hopkins. 

    Heinicke showed enough promise in place of the injured Ryan Fitzpatrick to give Washington some hope about contending in the NFC East before the veteran signal-caller returns from his hip injury. 

Taylor Heinicke Displayed Enough to Be a Solid Replacement for Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Heinicke finished the game with 336 passing yards and two touchdown passes, but those totals were almost rendered insignificant by the fourth-quarter interception. 

    To the quarterback's credit, he recovered from his lone major mistake of the night to lead Washington on a game-winning drive. 

    Heinicke went 6-for-9 in the air on the final drive. One of those incomplete passes was a spike that killed the clock before Hopkins' field goal. 

    The second-year quarterback did not let the turnover affect his decision-making in the pocket. He used a handful of short passes to carve up the New York defense on that series. 

    In the first half, Heinicke used a 12-play, 84-yard drive to give Washington the lead prior to halftime. That series occurred directly after the Giants took the lead for the second time on Graham Gano's first of five field goals. 

    In the second half, the Washington signal-caller answered four of the Giants' five scoring drives with point-producing series of his own. 

    The best series he had before the final drive came with four minutes left in the fourth quarter. He used a 56-yard pass to J.D. McKissic and a 19-yard touchdown throw to Ricky Seals-Jones to put the Football Team ahead by one. 

    Heinicke's overall performance was a promising sign for an offense that lost is starter in Week 1. For now, he looks like a decent backup that could help the Football Team stay in contention for the NFC East. 

    However, he will face tougher tests in the coming weeks. Washington visits the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 and takes on the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints before its Week 9 bye. 

Offensive Role Players Made Vital Plays

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    Terrance Williams/Associated Press

    Heinicke turned to the unsung heroes of the offensive depth chart during the most critical moments of the contest. 

    McKissic and Seals-Jones made massive plays on the final touchdown-scoring drive of the game. McKissic took a catch across the middle and ran it for a 56-yard gain. Seals-Jones made a terrific catch in the right corner of the end zone. 

    At the time, it seemed like the No. 2 running back and backup tight end produced the most important plays of the game. 

    McKissic caught two balls on the game-winning drive and he converted the lone fourth-down play of that series with a four-yard run that kept the drive going. 

    Heinicke also called upon rookie Dyami Brown to make a five-yard reception on the last series. Terry McLaurin and Logan Thomas only made one catch each on that drive. 

    McKissic finished as Washington's second best receiver on Thursday night with 83 yards. He and Brown tied for the fifth-most targets on the team. 

    If Washington's role players keep contributing, its offense will be in a much better shape to support Heinicke and some of the plays they make could turn around games, like they did on Thursday. 

Defense Must Work on Yardage Concession

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    Daniel Kucin Jr./Associated Press

    Washington's defense allowed 815 total yards in its first two games. 

    Parts of the defensive unit looked strong, but too many yards have been conceded for the team's liking. 

    On Thursday, the Washington defensive line recorded seven quarterback hits and four sacks. Those plays contained Daniel Jones for periods of the contest, but the Giants signal-caller still produced a handful of big gains. 

    Jones had a 33-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton and he ran for 58 yards to set up one of Gano's field goals in the first half. 

    Washington's defense almost made the biggest mistake of the game, but it got fortunate when Slayton dropped what would have been his second touchdown catch. 

    The Football Team can build off its pass-rush, but to remain in a good spot in the NFC East, it must tighten up its overall yardage concession and let up fewer big plays. 

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