Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys control their own NFC East destiny. That is no mathematical surprise.
Taylor Heinicke and the Washington Football Team are in control of their destiny.
How many expected that after a 2-6 start?
Well, it’s true. Heinicke led another game-winning drive, as Washington beat the Las Vegas Raiders 17-15 on Sunday. WFT improved to 6-6 after its fourth consecutive victory, and is in position catch the Cowboys (8-4) in the NFC East.
WFT and the Cowboys still have two games against each other, starting with Sunday at FedExField. Washington plays only division foes to close out the regular season.
Though there’s not much room for error down the stretch, just being in this position says something about Washington’s resolve.
That determination was on display to close out the Raiders. Down 15-14, Heinicke engineered a 44-yard drive that ended with newly-signed kicker Brian Johnson’s 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left.
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“It’s literally the same thing that happened against the Giants,” said Heinicke, referring to a kick to beat New York at the final gun earlier this season. “I feel like we play really well in the two-minute drill. We practice it a lot. Guys executed really well and we got lucky on that one throw, but that’s football.”
Heinicke completed 23 for 30 for 196 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. While those totals seem pedestrian, it marked the fourth straight game he’s completed at least 70% of his attempts.
Heinicke, with four-game winning drives under his belt this season, is one of the main reasons Washington is back to .500 and in position to make the playoffs.
Should the WFT win Sunday at home, the Cowboys’ lead shrinks to one game. The two rivals meet again Dec. 26 at AT&T Stadium.
Everything is there for Washington to defend its NFC East title. Heinicke is not backing down from that challenge. Of course, neither is Dallas.
Said Prescott of Dallas’ supposedly “ugly” win last Thursday at New Orleans: “A win is a win. It means a lot.”
And in terms of Dallas/WFT destiny? The next win might mean even more.