NFL: Rivera lauds "gutty" Heinicke as Washington get first win
Inexperienced quarterback Taylor Heinicke impressed head coach Ron Rivera as the Washington Football Team beat the New York Giants on Thursday.
Washington Football Team head coach Ron Rivera praised Taylor Heinicke's "gutty" performance in Thursday's 30-29 win over the New York Giants.
Inexperienced QB throws for 336 yards and two TDs in victory
Filling in for Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is out with a hip injury and likely not available until November, Heinicke threw two touchdown passes in a game for the first time in his short NFL career.
The quarterback has had prior spells in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, but before this season he had tallied just eight games in the league.
Now Heinicke has a chance to play a string of games for Washington, and even though he threw an interception with 2:22 remaining in Thursday night's game, he came good after that, commandeering the drive that resulted in Dustin Hopkins making a match-winning field goal.
Heinicke finished the game with 34-for-46 passing for 336 yards and the two touchdowns, as Washington won their first game of the season.
Speaking on Thursday Night Football, Heinicke said: "Defense came up big and we had a chance to close them out there and throwing a pick is not what you want to do.
"A lot of guys came up to me and said we've got one more chance to do it and fortunately we did. Defense came up and we went down and scored."
Asked whether he considered he had done enough to stay on the team, Heinicke said: "I do, and I have confidence that I can do it. If those guys in the locker room and the facility believe in me, that's all that matters and I think they do, so let's try to keep this ball rolling."
LIVE: Coach Rivera speaks with the media after the win https://t.co/wRFKhEAyv7— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) September 17, 2021
Rivera praises Heinicke's reaction to turnover
An impressed Rivera was captivated by Heinicke looking to make amends for his error, and by the 28-year-old's overall performance.
"It was very gutty," said the Washington coach. "The thing that was real impressive about him was the way he bounced back after the turnover. Prior to that, he went down and, in what, three plays, he scored a touchdown and turned around, and we were trying to kill the clock, and he made a bad read, made a bad decision.
"But getting that opportunity, he stepped up again."
Heinicke lost his cool and threw down his helmet after the interception, before gathering his thoughts and moving on.
"He was p*****. He was upset at himself, he really was," said Rivera. "He slammed his helmet into the ground. It was just one of those things that you just felt if we can get the ball into his hands...
"He does have the ability to throw the ball, and make all the throws. And we've seen that. And he's got a lot of confidence. And when he gets into a really nice rhythm, he can deliver a good ball.
"He's got a little swagger to him and his team-mates feed off of it, they really do."
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