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Brady, Bucs, hold off Heinicke, Washington, in 31-23 playoff win

(© Maridav –

ODU alum Taylor Heinicke threw for 306 yards, ran for 46 more, did it all with an apparent clavicle injury – but Tom Brady is Tom Brady.

Brady threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns, and Tampa Bay had just enough to win at Washington, 31-23, in a first-round NFL playoff win Saturday.

A highlight-reel Heinicke 8-yard TD run got the Football Team to within 18-16 with 2:14 left in the third, capping a seven-play, 61-yard drive.

The Bucs responded with a drive that resulted in a Ryan Succop 36-yard field goal, preceding a Washington three-and-out that ended with Heinicke taking a hard hit that sent him to the locker room.

Brady led Tampa on a seven-play, 69-yard drive that concluded with a Leonard Fournette 3-yard TD run that put the Buccaneers up 28-16 with 9:11 left.

Heinicke, in his second career NFL start, channeling his inner Willis Reed, bursted from the locker room to take the snaps on the next drive, leading WFT on a 75-yard, 11-play scoring march that finished with an 11-yard scoring pass to Steven Sims Jr., getting Washington to within 28-23 with 4:51 to go.

Brady, running the four-minute offense, got Tampa Bay into position for another Succop field goal, this one from 37 yards, that got us to 31-23 with 2:49 to go.

Heinicke, in his last act, got Washington to the Tampa 49, before the drive stalled, his final pass, an alley-oops to former Virginia Tech quarterback, and now top WFT tight end, Logan Thomas, was knocked down, ending the improbable run for the Football Team, which made the playoffs after a 2-7 start.

Tampa put up 507 yards against the Washington defense, which came into the game ranked second in the NFL, getting 142 on the ground, including 93 on 19 carries from Fournette.

Mike Evans had 119 yards on six catches against the Football Team secondary, which had been second in pass defense in 2020 coming in.

Heinicke, signed to the WFT practice squad back on Dec. 8, got the start in favor of Alex Smith, who had been a game-time decision with a calf injury that had limited him the past three weeks.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press