Football Team

Brian Johnson introduces himself to WFT with game-winning FG

Football Team
Brian Johnson game-winner

Hollywood could not have written a better script for Brian Johnson on Sunday.

Johnson, a Bethesda, Md., native, a Gonzaga High and Virginia Tech alum, was signed by Washington on Tuesday following an injury to Joey Slye. And, in his Washington debut on Sunday against the Las Vegas Raiders, the moment quickly found him.

With just 42 seconds remaining, Washington found itself faced with a fourth-and-1 from the Raiders' 31-yard line. After initially lining up as if they were going to go for it, head coach Ron Rivera pulled his offense off the field and sent out the kicking unit. If Washington was going to extend its winning streak to four, Johnson would have to come up clutch.

If there were any nerves from Johnson, he didn't show them. His first field goal as a Washington player snuck in through the right upright, putting the Burgundy and Gold up two with just 37 seconds to play -- a lead the club would not relinquish en route to its fourth straight victory.

"Kicking for the hometown team, kicking the game-winner for the first field goal, pretty much, it was insane," Johnson said postgame.

While the kick itself from Johnson was a huge moment for the Washington Football Team, perhaps the best part about the whole sequence unfolded postgame. When Johnson trotted out on the field to attempt the kick, several of his teammates had no idea what his name was.

"Kudos to our kicker. Not many people on the team really knew his name this week coming in," quarterback Taylor Heinicke said postgame. "He made a name for himself today. That was a big play for him."

 

Heinicke was one of the players who did know Johnson's name prior to Sunday's game, as the two had a brief pregame chat when arriving at Allegiant Stadium. While both players recalled the conversation was much about nothing, the quarterback said postgame he had plenty of confidence that Johnson was going to make the kick after watching him in practice this past week.

"He has a lot of confidence out there," Heinicke said. "You could see it all week through practice. He came up big for us today."

Although Heinicke was confident in Washington's newest kicker, several of his teammates were more on the nervous side. In fact, star defensive tackle Jonathan Allen admitted postgame that he felt those nerves because he had never seen Johnson kick before.

"Hell yeah, I was nervous. I've never seen him kick. I didn't even know his name," Allen said. "We just brought him up. But again, when you have guys who deserve it, he came in here and worked for it. Credit to him, it saved our game."

Johnson didn't blame his teammates for not knowing his name, either. After all, he's only been on the roster for five days. He's Washington's fourth kicker of the season. And, with the team having to prepare for the Raiders on short rest this week, Johnson completely understands why his teammates' efforts were focused on other things besides knowing his name.

Having been back in Washington for just a handful of days, Johnson has not seen first-hand the team's turnaround since the bye week. But after playing a major role in Sunday's win, Washington's fourth straight, Johnson is starting to feel that vibe Washington has been riding since Week 10.

"For not being around it, I felt it. I felt it once I walked in and everything," Johnson said. "It's an awesome locker room to be in. They're probably still learning my name, but it's awesome to be here."

And, after making that 48-yard field goal, it's hard to imagine that last part will be the case much longer.

"I know his name now," Allen said.