The Washington Football Team entered the season with high hopes and expectations of repeating as the NFC East champions. They entered Week 4 with a 1-2 record after getting crushed on the road in Buffalo. They had another road game this week, but against a much different opponent. The Atlanta Falcons were home underdogs led by 14-year veteran Matt Ryan. Washington came out of the game with a victory, but it took another comeback led by Taylor Heinicke to make it happen. The game left the team with a lot of question marks and injuries to take back to Ashburn this week.
Washington rose up the rankings, and saw their average go up by almost 3 spots. The win wasn’t convincing, and a lot of the same questions that have plagued them all year come up in the explanations of ranking decsions. WFT hosts the Saints on Sunday, a team that just gave the New York Giants their first win. New Orleans opens up at FedEx Field as 3 point favorites. Winning cures everything, but Washington needs to start doing it more consistently to get people to thinking again about that the potential everyone was talking about before the season started.
Oddshark - Last Week: 12
New York Post - Last Week: 24
The defense continues to disappoint. But QB Taylor Heinicke made some big plays down the stretch in Atlanta and pulled out the win. It helps, of course, that the Falcons still can’t figure out how to close out a game. Does that sound familiar? Last Week: 23
Biggest surprise: Defensive struggles
Why it’s a surprise: Washington ranked second in yards and fourth in points last season. It boasted a top young line, the defensive rookie of the year (Chase Young) and added parts in the offseason through free agency (corner William Jackson III) and the draft (linebacker Jamin Davis, corner Benjamin St-Juste). But after four games, they rank 29th in yards allowed and 30th in points. It’s not just about having a harder schedule, it’s about playing — and coaching — poorly. There has been a big blown coverage assignment every week and they’re not applying enough pressure (sacks on 4% of dropbacks compared to 7.8% last season). Quarterback Taylor Heinicke — another surprise — has bailed out the defense. When he became the starter, the belief would have been for the opposite scenario. — John Keim Last Week: 22
Taylor Heinicke is playing the type of quarterback WFT would have gotten from Ryan Fitzpatrick, with help from his offensive weapons. The bigger question is: How can a defense with that much talent be so undisciplined and bad? Last Week: 22
J.D. McKissic diving from the four-yard line into the end zone with seconds to spare was a mesmerizing highlight worth watching a dozen times in slow motion, to say nothing of Taylor Heinicke’s late heroics down in Atlanta. The question remains for the coaching staff though: where did last year’s defense go? Last Week: 23
The defense is still a mess, but I like what I saw from the offense. Last Week: 23
The Ringer(Kelly) - Last Week: 22
I don’t think Washington can go back to Ryan Fitzpatrick. Taylor Heinicke isn’t perfect but he makes plays. He had 290 yards, three touchdowns and a 127.1 passer rating in Sunday’s dramatic win. The offense has done OK with him. WFT just needs the defense to do something. Last Week: 23
DE Chase Young has zero sacks and his vaunted D-line mates have a total of six. An offensively challenged team needs far more support. Last Week: 23
They won a game at Atlanta, but the defense still has major issues. That unit was supposed to be carrying this team, but it’s not come close to that. Last week: 23
Entering the season, we put the Washington Football Team in the elite tier of our NFL defense rankings. As we enter Week 5, they are no longer in the top 20. Heinicke saved Washington on Sunday with a career-best performance, but it’s hard to see any wins coming against the New Orleans Saints, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers. Prepare for a fall in next week’s NFL power rankings. Last Week: 21
The Washington Football Team has some things to be happy about from Week 4. The biggest, of course, was a hard-fought win over the Falcons that got the team back to .500 and moved it into second place in the NFC East.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was sharp, passing for 290 yards and three scores with a passer rating of 127.1. Wide receiver Terry McLaurin had a huge game, catching six of Heinicke’s passes for 123 yards and two scores.
But Washington’s supposedly stout defense was gashed again, surrendering 374 yards and allowing at least 29 points for the third time in four games.
“Washington’s vaunted defensive line isn’t dominating the line of scrimmage,” Davenport said, “and Chase Young is still searching for his first sack of the season. Washington’s defense was supposed to carry the team this season—to keep the offense in games and keep Washington in position to win games. With that not happening, Washington is a clear second-fiddle (at best) in the division to Dallas.” Last Week: 24
The feel good story that just keeps getting better. Back playing his hometown Falcons, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke upset Atlanta, making a late comeback, capping it by finding running back JD McKissic for the game-winning score late. Last Week: 20
The defense still has a long way to go. Last Week: 23
NumberFire - Last week: 26
The Football Team has an infuriatingly talented defense that is struggling mightily to get off the field on third down. They’re currently 31st in the NFL in third-down stop rate, and that comes down to the dynamic duo of Montez Sweat and Chase Young failing to get home.
Offensively, we’ve seen Washington score points against the Giants and Falcons, but the offense is only converting on 26.5% of its third downs. That’s worst in the NFL, and it probably won’t get much better given their current quarterback situation. Last Week: 22
While the Washington defense continued to give up chunk plays and allowed 30 points to a previously unimpressive Atlanta offense, Taylor Heinicke carried this team to a road win with help from Terry McLaurin and J.D. McKissic. The WFT didn’t leave unscathed, with TE Logan Thomas (hamstring), OG Brandon Scherff (MCL), LB Jon Bostic (Pec, I.R.), and CB Torry McTyer (knee, I.R.) all suffering significant injuries. Last Week: 23
With each passing week, Taylor Heinicke builds the case that he deserves the starting quarterback job, regardless of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s availability. Heinicke led Washington on back-to-back touchdown drives in the fourth quarter on Sunday, turning a 30-22 deficit into a 34-30 win over the Falcons in Atlanta. He ended the day with 290 yards passing while leading the Football Team to scores on four of their five second-half possessions. With the Washington defense continuing its surprising disappearing act (where have you gone, Young & Sweaty?), Heinicke is being asked to keep his team’s season afloat. So far, so good. Last Week: 24
Ron Rivera’s team was on the road for the second straight week and hoped to avoid the debacle that was a 22-point loss at Buffalo. It proved to be quite the shootout and quarterback Taylor Heinicke more than held his own vs. veteran Matt Ryan.
The Washington signal-caller threw for 290 yards and three scores. Down 30-28 late in the fourth quarter, he connected with running back J.D. McKissic for a 30-yard touchdown with 33 seconds to play. Last week: 26
Where should the Washington Football Team rank heading into Week 5?
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