ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Taylor Heinicke will make just his fourth career NFL start on Sunday as the Washington Football Team comes to Highmark Stadium for a week three matchup with the Bills.
Heinicke’s lack of experience in that starting role should bode well for the Bills defense as they should be able to make him uncomfortable, get pressure and force him to make mistakes. This sounds similar to what was being said last week against Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins. But Sean McDermott says, not so fast.
“Don’t underestimate him, he’s a very good quarterback. You look at the Tampa Bay game, the Wild Card game, the eventual World Champions and he’s within a score there in the fourth quarter of winning so don’t underestimate him. He’s a very, very good quarterback, can make all the throws, he’s mobile. He’ll be a challenge,” McDermott said on Wednesday before practice.
It’s been a revolving door at quarterback for Washington, a pattern Bills fans are all too familiar with before Josh Allen came to Buffalo. Since the beginning of the 2018 season, nine different quarterbacks have started a regular season game for Washington with Heinicke being the ninth as he had to take over for Ryan Fitzpatrick who is now dealing with a hip injury he suffered in week one.
“He’s playing with a lot of confidence. He’s very mobile, athletic quarterback who trusts his play makers to make plays on the ball so we’re gonna have our hands full, we gotta play well,” Bills safety Jordan Poyer said Wednesday after practice.
It seemed like Washington’s recipe for success was going to be to rely on the defense, a unit that finished second in the NFL last year, while the offense might do just enough to win the game. Again, sound familiar Bills Mafia?
But so far Washington’s defense hasn’t lived up to the hype and it was Heinicke and the offense that had to make big plays to keep them in the game last week against the Giants. Heinicke led Washington’s final drive that ended with the game-winning field goal. He threw for 336 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in that Thursday night game.
“Oh he’s good, he’s real good. Definitely a guy we have to prepare well for, once again more weapons outside, good run game so he has some weapons around him so we have to prepare accordingly,” Bills safety Micah Hyde said Thursday after practice.
Heinicke is no stranger to big games as his first start for Washington came in last year’s Wild Card game against Tampa. He threw for 306 yards, a touchdown and an interception but just like last week, he kept them in it until the very end. Heinicke and the offense made it to midfield with two minutes left as the Bucs had an eight point lead, but they fell short, 31-23.
Sure there are no moral victories but Heinicke seemed to hold his own against the Super Bowl champs as he was thrown into that starting role.