Taylor Heinicke is no longer a backup quarterback.
Heinicke, a former star at Old Dominion, will start from this point forward, Washington Commanders coach Ron Rivera confirmed after Sunday’s 23-10 victory over the Houston Texans.
Asked during postgame the reason he would keep Heinicke as the starter, Rivera responded: “Winning.”
“That’s the truth,” Rivera added. “That’s where we are.”
Heinicke is 4-1 this season since taking over for injured starter Carson Wentz. On Sunday, Heinicke completed 15 of 27 passes for 191 yards without an interception, following up last week’s upset win over the previously unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles.
“It’s a special moment,” Heinicke told reporters after Sunday’s victory, referring to being named QB1. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life, to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. It’s every kid’s dream, so it means a lot to me, it’s very special to me. I just want to keep this thing rolling.”
Heinicke last season won over fans with his spunk and underdog story — he was finishing his degree at ODU via online classes before being thrust into the Washington starting lineup in the playoffs after the 2020 season.
Heinicke finished last season with 3,419 passing yards and 20 touchdowns with 15 interceptions after replacing injured starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. But Washington acquired Wentz — a former first-round draft pick — in the offseason, sending Heinicke to the backup role.
Wentz was injured in a victory over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 13 and was placed on injured reserve after having surgery to repair a broken finger on his throwing hand. He has not yet been cleared to return.
Heinicke has completed 90 of 148 passes for 1,031 yards and five touchdowns with four interceptions and has helped Washington (6-5) climb into the thick of the playoff race.
“We are going to go with Taylor, and we’ll work Carson back in and see where Carson is in terms of when he’s ready to be the backup,” Rivera said. “Then, we’ll go from there.”
Jami Frankenberry, 757-446-2376, email@example.com