The Washington Football Team is fresh off a 29-19 upset over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here are three numbers to know from the afternoon.
Taylor Heinicke has had some tough outings over the past month. Over the previous four games -- all of them losses -- Heinicke's completion rate hovered around 59%, and he threw just three touchdowns compared to six interceptions.
Against the Buccaneers, 10 months removed from last playing the Super Bowl champions in the Wild Card Round, there was more than a flash of the Heinicke fans have come to love. He threw for 256 yards and a touchdown, but what was more impressive was his completion rate of 81.3%. Not only was it the best mark of the season, but it was also the best of his career in games where he made more than one pass attempt.
One of Heinicke's most impressive stretches came on Washington's final drive, which lasted 19 plays, covered 80 yards and ate up more than 10 minutes off the clock. With Washington looking to close things out, Heinicke completed all six of his passes on the drive and amassed 45 yards.
In order for Washington to be competitive against the Buccaneers, it was going to need its defense to put together a standout performance and pounce on the rare mistakes from Brady. That's why its two turnovers at the beginning of the game were so important.
Washington forced two interceptions from Brady in the first three drives: one that was a result of Kamren Curl popping the ball free of Jaelon Darden's grasp for William Jackson III to snatch it for himself, while another came from Bobby McCain. Tampa Bay put up just 13 yards in that span, but Washington was moving down the field.
Washington, who scored on all four of its possessions in the first half, turned those interceptions into points. It zipped out to a double-digit lead with DeAndre Carter’s 20-yard score making the score 13-0. And one of the main reasons Washington's offense found success: it didn't have to go too far to get to the end zone. Both interceptions set Washington up in Tampa Bay territory.
Washington out-scrapped and out-smarted the Tampa Bay defense today to consistently move the chains. Converting 58% of its third down opportunities -- its highest mark of the season -- Washington did brilliantly to stay on the field and give itself the chances to pile pressure on the Bucs.
The home team made 71 plays (as compared to Tampa Bay's 49) and out-possessed the Bucs by about 14 minutes. The team's last drive of the game highlighted that third down magic. Over the course of more than 10 minutes, the longest drive of the NFL season, included four third down conversions.