By Lewis Gould
Taylor Heinicke tossed a 30-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic with 33 seconds remaining, rallying the visiting WFT to a 34-30 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
Heinicke completed 23 of 33 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns — two of them in the final 3:52 to give Washington (2-2) the victory.
“I feel like I’ve kind of been doing that, those kind of plays, throughout my life,” he said. “That’s the kind of player I am. Hey, I grew up watching Brett Favre. I saw a lot of crazy stuff from him.”
First, Heinicke eluded Dante Fowler Jr. and delivered an off-balance throw with another rusher in his face that Terry McLaurin, slipping away from two defenders, managed to catch in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard TD.
“No play is ever dead when Taylor’s back there,” said McLaurin, who finished with six catches for 123 yards. “I just knew Taylor was gonna give me a chance.”
Two missed extra points by Dustin Hopkins forced Washington to go for a 2-point conversion. It failed, preserving a 30-28 lead for the Falcons (1-3).
Heinicke wasn’t done.
After the Washington defense forced a punt, Heinicke guided his team into field-goal range.
As it turned out, Hopkins wasn’t needed.
Rolling to his left, Heinicke didn’t see anyone open among four possible targets. McKissic slipped out into the right flat with no one around, Heinicke spotted him, and made a daring throw back across the field.
“He was the fifth read,” Heinicke said. “No one was open, so I needed to make a play.”
McKissic broke a diving attempt by Deion Jones — the only guy with a chance to make a tackle — took off down the sideline and dove over the pylon for the winning score.
Heinicke’s heroics ruined a big day for Atlanta’s Cordarrelle Patterson, who became the first Atlanta player since 2018 to score three touchdowns in a game.
Patterson hauled in a 42-yard pass from Matt Ryan for Atlanta’s longest play from scrimmage this season, giving the Falcons an early 10-0 lead.
He added touchdown catches of 12 and 14 yards.
“Obviously frustrating,” Falcons first-year coach Arthur Smith said. “We had multiple opportunities to win that game. We didn’t.”
Ryan threw four TD passes, also connecting with Mike Davis on a 7-yard scoring play that stretched Atlanta’s lead to 30-22. A disputed personal foul penalty on Chase Young allowed the Falcons to keep the ball after they appeared to be stopped on fourth down.
DeAndre Carter returned the second-half kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown, giving Washington a 19-14 lead.
Heinicke’s first TD pass was a a 33-yarder to McLaurin in the second quarter,