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Washington 22, New York 7: 10 Observations - Taylor Heinicke’s Last Stand?

WFT wins finale, individuals reach milestones

One last dance. Win or lose, and go home. For the Washington Football Team - and the New York Giants - this was the situation for Week 18. 

In maybe his final start for WFT, quarterback Taylor Heinicke led the way in a 22-7 win over the Giants.

Here's what we saw in the final act for WFT:

1. Entering the game giving up the second-most points per game (6.1) in the first quarter this year, Washington surrendered zero in the opening period. The Giants helped by going for it in field goal range, and the Washington offense held the ball for nearly nine minutes.

2. On the flip side, Heinicke's offense has averaged just 3.4 points per game in the first quarter this season to ranking 22nd. That average held as WFT led 3-0 at end the quarter.

The field goal could have been a touchdown if Heinicke hit receiver Cam Sims in the back of the end zone on third down.

3. The most laughable moment of the first half came when the  Giants offense attempted a quarterback sneak with Jake Fromm, on a third-and-9 from its own 4-yard line. 

Whether due to a lack of confidence in the offense's ability to execute a play, the move following coach Joe Judge's comments earlier in the week was comical. 

4. Despite producing four explosive plays in the first half, and starting one possession in Giants territory, Washington's offense produced just six points on two Joy Slye field goals. 

On the bright side, Slye ended the year perfect, going 12 for 12 on field-goal tries since joining the team in November.

5. Washington's second-worst third-down defense allowed one conversion on seven tries in the first half. The Giants' offense fared better in the second half, and finished the day 6 of 17 on third downs in the game.

6. The New York Giants didn't target or complete a pass to a receiver until the second half. 

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Kenny Golladay caught his first target of the day with 14:16 remaining in the third quarter, after getting zero looks in the first half.

7. WFT safety Bobby McCain broke on a late outside throw by Fromm, returning the interception 30 yards for a touchdown. 

The pick-six was McCain's 10th career takeaway and his first touchdown return. He intercepted the final pass of the game, giving him 11 in his career, and two on the day.

8. Terry McLaurin came in 40 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards this season. He got 41 in his first two catches alone and finished with 93 yards on four catches.

With back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons, McLaurin became the first Washington receiver to do so since Henry Ellard did it in the mid-90s.

9. Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and running back Antonio Gibson also came in with milestones within reach. 

Gibson needed 109 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for the first time in his career. A 17-yard run in the fourth quarter did it and he finished with 121.

Gibson added a touchdown to give Washington an 18-7 lead in the fourth.

Allen came in needing 1.5 sacks to reach 10. With half a sack, Allen's career-high will stay at nine, one shy of his first double-digit sack season.

10. Washington finishes the 2021 season 7-10 with a .412 winning percentage, the fourth-lowest in Ron Rivera's coaching career.

This win concludes the fourth straight losing season for a Rivera-led team and the fifth in a row for Washington.

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