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Washington to Start Taylor Heinicke at QB if Alex Smith Can’t Go Against Eagles Sunday

The Dwayne Haskins experiment in Washington is apparently over. Head coach Ron Rivera announced Monday that unknown Taylor Heinicke will start Sunday at quarterback, if regular starter Alex Smith isn’t healthy enough to start.

Smith has missed the last two games due to a calf injury, and in those two weeks, the Redskins have lost home games to Seattle and Carolina.

For Washington, Sunday’s game against the Eagles is an “all or nothing” affair, as a victory would see them clinch the NFC East. A loss would mean missing the playoffs and opening the door for either Dallas or the New York Giants to sneak in and win the division.

Sunday against the Panthers, Haskins was ineffective. He went just 14-for-28 for 154 with two picks and two sacks in an eventual 20-13 loss.

In the first half, Haskins went just 6-for-15 for 36 yards, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

Rivera went to Heinicke in the third quarter, and he led the team on a touchdown drive to bring Washington to within seven, but that was as close to victory as they would get.

In the loss, Heinicke went 12-for-19 for 137 yards with a score and a QB rating of 102.3. He helped Washington put up 160 yards of offense in two drives.

Heinicke’s appearance Sunday was his first in an NFL game since 2018. In his NFL career, Heinicke has been with a couple of teams after going undrafted in 2015. He saw playing time under Rivera in Carolina in 2018, throwing for 320 total yards with a score and three interceptions. In college, he played at Old Dominion.

He played last winter in the XFL before eventually getting a chance with Washington.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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