Alex Smith reached out to Taylor Heinicke after win over Bucs

Alex Smith

Just over 11 months after nearly leading Washington to an upset win against the Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card round, Taylor Heinicke got a second shot at Tampa Bay on Sunday and turned in a different result. The Washington Football Team beat the Buccaneers 29-19 as Heinicke put together one of his best performances of the season.

The win meant a lot to Heinicke, who had never started a game in the NFL prior to that postseason loss to the Bucs. Among those that reached out to congratulate Washington’s signal caller was former teammate Alex Smith, now an analyst for ESPN.

“I shot Taylor a note right after it,” Smith said on an episode of the ESPN Daily podcast published Monday. “I’m just pumped for him, man. This is a guy that was on his couch, thought he was out of football. He had been a journeyman, dealt with injuries and just kind of stayed there and stayed ready. To come in last year and to play the way he did in the playoff chance and played great and then it got him an opportunity this year and he’s made the most if it.

“Just awesome to take that step and, again, he had a tough loss last year. I remember talking to him in the locker room when I felt like he hung everything out there in that playoff game and how much it hurt for him. So to get that win today, I know it probably meant a little extra.”


In Sunday’s win, Heinicke completed 81.3% of his passes for 256 yards and a touchdown while chipping in 15 rushing yards on three carries. He capped off his performance by leading a 19-play drive in the fourth quarter that took more than 10 minutes of game time off the clock and kept the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.

Heinicke has appeared in nine games with eight starts this season while filling in for injured starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s thrown for 2,184 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. With the win, Washington moved to 3-6 on the year.