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Washington 6th In NFC Playoff Race After Rally Over Raiders

Observations from the Washington Football Team win over Las Vegas

A win by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night made this week’s Washington Football Team contest against the Las Vegas Raiders a much-needed win. 

After a second straight two-point win, WFT is in a position to make a lot of noise in the NFC East. 

Before we turn the page too quickly to Week 14, here are 10 observations from the Week 13 …

1. WFT kicker Brian Johnson kicked the game-winning field goal from 48 yards with 41 seconds remaining. The team's fourth kicker this season, it was the 22-year-old's ninth career NFL field goal without a miss.

2. Even without running back J.D. McKissic, the Washington Football Team committed to running the ball against Las Vegas’ 25th ranked rushing defense. WFT ran 22 times through the first three quarters of the game and 30 overall. 

3. Tight ends and running back figured to loom large in this game. And they did. Not only did tight end Logan Thomas and running back Antonio Gibson catch both WFT touchdowns, and they also combined for 159 of the team’s 298 yards of offense.

4. Cole Holcomb continues to be the best overall linebacker on the team, leading Washington in tackles with 10. 

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5. Even without elite stats since returning, the presence of Curtis Samuel seems to have unlocked more motion, speed, and misdirection than we’ve seen in the weeks before his return. With -2 yards of offense this weekend, nobody will be talking about the receiver much. But his continued return to health could be the key to finding another gear down the stretch.

6. Penalties always carry the potential to kill a team’s chances at winning. Of the six penalties held against Washington, three of them came on the Raiders’ lone touchdown drive of the game, and threatened to cost the team the game.

7. A problem from earlier in the season came back to hurt the Washington Football Team this weekend. Missed tackles were a problem early, and all throughout the contest, including several on Josh Jacobs’ touchdown run for the Raiders that brought his team to within two points.

8. Time of possession has been one of the biggest keys to Washington playing winning football these past four weeks. WFT again won the time-of-possession battle, holding the ball for 33:43.

9. Taylor Heinicke wants to be the quarterback of the future, and not just the rest of 2021. Getting the ball back with a little over two minutes remaining in the game, with all three timeouts and trailing by one, Heinicke set out on a drive that starting quarterbacks across the league are expected to convert into points. Driving the ball 44 yards to get into kicker Brian Johnson’s field goal range, Heinicke was four of five passing  for 37 yards. Although he nearly gave the game away on a late pass attempt to wide receiver Adam Humphries, Heinicke did what he needed to, in order for his team to win.

In fact, star defensive tackle Jonathan Allen said after the game about Heinicke, "He keeps showing why he needs to be our quarterback."

10. After this win, and a Seattle Seahawks win over the San Francisco 49ers, Washington is now the sixth seed in the NFC Playoff picture, and has an opportunity to fire a big salvo in the battle for the NFC East Division title when the Dallas Cowboys come to town, in Week 14.