Washington Rallies To Beat Atlanta 34-30
After the 1st quarter, it looked like we could have had another long Sunday afternoon ahead of us. Now don’t get me wrong, this win was far from relaxing. It was hard to watch at times, mostly on defense. The offense bounced back like I expected they would. Let’s look back at a crazy 34-30 win in Atlanta.
The first half was owned by Atlanta. The Falcons had 213 yards on 38 plays and went 5-8 on 3rd down. That continued to be a GLAIRING issue early Sunday. Oh, did I mention that three of those five conversions were eight yards or longer? Yeah, you read that right. A positive you could take from the defense in the first half is they held Atlanta to only a field goal on their opening drive. Not great by any stretch of the imagination.
Offensively Washington came out a little slow. They did get at least one first down on every drive, minus the knee at the end of the half, in the first half. They were held scoreless in the first quarter but were able to score two touchdowns in the second to make it 17-13 at the half. Those two touchdown drives ate up 7:15 minutes, and they accumulated 140 of their 224 total yards of that half. Gibson scored a two-yard touchdown run, and McLaurin hauled in a 33-yard pass by Heinicke.
The third quarter was not good for the defense. Atlanta had two drives in the third, and both led to touchdowns. Washington’s defense allowed 144 yards in that quarter. The touchdown on the second drive happened on the first play after the third quarter ended. After that touchdown to start the third quarter, Washington’s defense stepped up. The final three Falcons drives led to either punts or the clock running out in the fourth. Atlanta had 13 plays and only had 60 yards of offense in the final quarter.
Offensively Washington scored on three of their four drives in the second half (2TD and 1FG). Just like the first half, Washington’s offense scored both of their touchdowns on the last two drives of the half. Heinicke threw both touchdowns, but on the final one, McKissic did all the work.
Heinicke found him in the flat while all the other receivers were moving from left to right completely clearing up that side of the field for McKissic to run down the sideline and dive for the endzone. It was called a touchdown on the field, and while I think he was out short, it stood as a touchdown. I don’t feel like we ever saw a good angle at where the ball was, and he never really reached out, but it was one hell of a play.
Play of the game
With 4:02 on the clock, Washington had a 1st and 10 at Atlanta’s 17. The score was 22-30, and Washington needed a Touchdown on that drive. Heinicke dropped back after the play-action. He immediately had Fowler in his face, but he evades the initial hit, and as the second guy approaches he lobs it to the end zone. Nine times out of ten those balls are intercepted. Lucky for Heinicke, McLaurin was in the endzone, and the Atlanta corners couldn’t cover him all day. That score made it 28-30 and set the stage for the final drive.
Offensive Player of the Game
It has to be Heinicke. I will admit when Fitz went down in week one I was very skeptical. I didn’t expect to see a game from him like this. He went 23/33 with 290 yards and three touchdowns. He also didn’t turn the ball over. Not to mention the five rushes for 43 yards. That is over 300 yards of total offense. After this game, he is up to 960 yards and eight touchdowns.
Defensive Player Of The Game
No one stood out on defense. But I’ll give it to Sweat for accounting for the only sack of the game
Logan Thomas hamstring never returned. Brandon Scherff knee injury never returned. Jon Bostic shoulder didn’t return. Cam Sims hamstring didn’t return.
The defense still can’t cause much pressure and allows too many yards. Chase Young got screwed with a roughing the passer call in the third quarter and should have been credited with a sack since Ryan had a knee down. They clearly made some adjustments and were able to keep Atlanta from pulling away. I am still scared this defense will hold this team back in the future.
Hopkins is a liability. He missed two extra points which luckily didn’t cost us the game. A bright side on special teams was DeAndre Carter’s 101 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half.
Offensively this is the most fun group to watch in a while. Heinicke is a baller and McLaurin is a top ten wideout. Gibson continues to get consistent yards on the ground. Samuel showed what he can do with a big catch and run on a crucial fourth down. I think Heinicke finally has a rhythm with the guys around him. It’ll be interesting to see where he can take this team.