Tom Brady couldn’t believe his eyes as he saw Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke’s last successful attempt to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Wild Card on Saturday.
NBC Sports showed Brady giving a strong reaction to Heinickie’s 11-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Bucs’ 31-23.
Brady originally waved his arms, indicating the pass shouldn’t be complete per ESPN.com highlights (third video). Either way, Heinicke won the respect of Brady and fellow Bucs following a tight postseason game.
“He was very elusive,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians said of Heinicke in the postgame press conference. “We knew he was going to scramble around. There was going to bootlegs and scrambles. We were really hoping for Alex (Smith) because we knew that part of the game wasn’t going to be in there.”
Heinicke started in place of Smith and gave the Bucs defense all it could handle with 306 yards passing and a touchdown plus 46 yards rushing and a touchdown run. It took a Bucs linebacker Lavonte David sack to stop Heinicke for good late in the game according to the Tampa Bay Times and end an 18-year playoff win drought.
“He got out in some really good spots,” Arians said of Heinicke. “He made some really good plays. He had a lot of poise.”
Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles didn’t seem concerned originally about which quarterback his unit faced per WFLA’s Gabrielle Shirley.
Brady was surprised by Heinicke long before Saturday when the 27-year-old quarterback joined Brady in New England in 2017 via the practice squad. Heinicke recalled Brady reacting “like, ‘Who the hell are you?’” upon their first meeting per Boston.com.
Heinicke took the Bucs defense by surprise on Saturday. Bucs cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunding said it took some adjusting per Buccaneers.com’s Carmen Vitali.