In the grand scheme of things, Tom Brady is absolutely a better quarterback than Taylor Heinicke. In a world where everyone disagrees about everything, that is a statement that's beyond debate.
But on Sunday, for four quarters at FedEx Field in a mid-November tilt with the Buccaneers, Heinicke was absolutely the better quarterback than Brady. Washington's starter threw for more yards on fewer attempts than Tampa's star and played turnover-free football while his Hall of Fame counterpart was picked off twice.
Following Washington's upset of the Bucs, Heinicke reflected on what it felt like to outdo a living legend who practically outdoes everyone always. The 28-year-old almost broke down when doing so.
"These are the games you dream of as a kid," Heinicke told reporters. "I’m about to get emotional here. It’s a moment I dreamt of last year when I wasn’t playing. I told myself that if I get another chance to play, I’m going to get out there and do something great. And it’s these games that you want."
Heading into Week 10, Heinicke's future was rather murky. Washington had lost four consecutive times with him leading their offense — an offense that was seriously slumping — and the murmurs about Kyle Allen perhaps getting a chance to take over were increasing in volume, even if only slightly.
But on Sunday, Heinicke posted his best effort since Week 4 versus the Falcons, going 26-of-32 for 256 yards and a touchdown, which came on a beguiling toss to DeAndre Carter. He connected with nine receivers in total, and most importantly, none of his passes ended in the arms of a defender.
Aside from a couple of questionable sacks, Heinicke was a major contributor.
"He really showed what he's capable of and you feel really good about that," Ron Rivera said in his press conference.
"Taylor is a baller," Carter said.
Heinicke's comeback as an NFL signal caller began in the same stadium against the same opponent about 10 months ago, yet it featured a different ending. The then-late addition to the Washington lineup baffled the Bucs for much of the Wild Card battle before ultimately walking off the field on the wrong side of a 31-23 result.
Therefore, it was fitting to see Heinicke once again hold his own while facing the NFC South power and finish the contest a winner, too.
"It means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to those guys to get a win like that against a team like that," he said.
Now, Heinicke's performance doesn't change the fact that Washington will be searching for a more permanent solution at the position this offseason. And though it does lend him a bit more staying power as the No. 1 option on the depth chart, he's still not guaranteed to finish out the rest of 2021.
All that said, Heinicke was the organization's quarterback on Sunday, and for those three or so hours, he was more than enough. For at least one more game, Heinicke was able to live out his dream.
"I got a big cooler of Bud Lights waiting for me," he said before strolling off the podium. "It’s great right now."