Commanders QB Taylor Heinicke Has Blunt Admission on Late Eagles Hit

Getty Taylor Heinicke

The way Taylor Heinicke quickly popped back up and begged the refs for a flag on Monday night remains a talking point two days later. It sure looked like the Washington Commanders quarterback was vying for an Oscar on the play. And he was rewarded thanks to a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty on Brandon Graham that iced the game.

Heinicke was all smiles in his post-game interviews while admitting he baited the Eagles into taking a bad penalty. The play called for him to hit Terry McLaurin on a slant, but he didn’t immediately see his top target open so he tucked it and took the sack. Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick covered him up, then Graham slid into the frame and clipped him late, just enough to draw a flag. That was it. Game over.

“I was not going to throw it unless he [McLaurin] was wide open,” Heinicke said. “I didn’t want anything crazy to happen and when I took that knee and I saw them still coming at me I was hoping they would hit me and they did. It was a mistake on their end and we’ll live with it.”

Head referee Alex Kemp clarified what happened on the late-hit call in an interview with pool reporter Zach Berman. He deemed Heinicke a defenseless player as soon as he went down.

“That was my call. I had ruled the quarterback had clearly given himself up,” Kemp said. “Therefore, he is down and a defenseless player. The contact by Philadelphia No. 55 was not only late but also to the head and neck area.”

Jason Kelce Not Blaming Refs for Tough Loss

It would be easy to sit and sulk following the Eagles’ 32-21 loss. They were the victims of several questionable calls from the zebras, none more mind-boggling than a missed face mask on Dallas Goedert. He will miss “extended time” after picking up a shoulder injury on the play.

All-Pro center Jason Kelce doesn’t want to hear about that missed penalty or any other excuses, though. Philadelphia had opportunities to win the game and didn’t take advantage.

“I cannot stand people blaming referees,” Kelce said on his New Heights podcast. “We had so many opportunities to win that football game that we didn’t take care of. Officials ain’t gonna be perfect. They ain’t gonna make every call. And the reality is you gotta go out there and play the game that’s called.”

Kelce added a few expleitives to pound his point home: “That was a face mask on Dallas Goedert. No, it wasn’t. You wanna know why? ‘Cause they didn’t f****** throw the goddam flag!”

Brandon Graham ‘Sick’ About Letting Eagles Down

Pro Bowl defensive end Brandon Graham stayed on the field and stared at the scoreboard after everyone else had left the field on Monday night. Maybe his late hit on Heinicke was a ticky-tack call. Maybe Heinicke did a superb acting job. But Graham did contact the Commanders quarterback while he was already down. By the rule book, that warrants a flag. He was man enough to admit that he made a mistake in the moment.

“I’m more sick that I let the team down in the moment,” Graham said. “I was trying to put my hands on him. I kept my head out of it. But, at the end of the day, if the player is sitting down that’s what it is … that’s on me.”

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