Raise your hand if five weeks ago, you thought that the Washington Football Team (WFT) had a chance to make the National Football League (NFL) playoffs.
Life and sports, however, are full of surprises. The WFT has won four games in a row and has a record of 6-6. The team has a chance, a real chance, to make the playoffs.
The WFT’s season and comeback have not been easy. The team’s trials are a great example for kids of how you have to keep trying to succeed at anything.
The WFT’s starting quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick) was injured in the first game and the team had to turn to Taylor Heinicke. Before this season, the 28-year-old Heinicke had started in just two NFL games.
Heinicke has done well this season, throwing for more than 2,800 yards and 18 touchdowns. He has also completed almost 68 percent of his passes. That’s ninth-best among the more-than-30 NFL starting quarterbacks.
The team has had lots of injuries along the offensive line, too. The WFT has already used four centers during the 2021 season.
The WFT has also had four place-kickers this season. Last week the team signed Brian Johnson, who went to Gonzaga College High School in Washington and was recently on the Chicago Bears’ practice squad. On Sunday, he booted a 48-yard field goal with 37 seconds left to beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 17-15.
Heinicke said not many players on the team knew Johnson’s name before Sunday, but “he made a name for himself today.”
The WFT defense has been playing better even though the team’s two top defensive ends, Chase Young and Montez Sweat, have been out with injuries. The defense has surrendered an average of only 17.5 points per game during the four-game winning streak.
Now there are five games remaining in the season, all against NFC East division teams. Two against the Dallas Cowboys (8-4 record), including one Sunday, two against the Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) and one against the New York Giants (4-8).
If Washington can squeeze out three or four more wins, the team has a good chance to make the playoffs.
Can they do it? Heinicke has shown he’s a gritty leader, and after all the things that have happened this season, the team will not give up.
Raise your hand if you think the WFT will make the playoffs. I’m imagining a lot of hands in the air.
I know mine is.
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