- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 17, 2021

LANDOVER —  The result of Taylor Heinicke’s final throw in Sunday’s 31-13 loss to Kansas City Chiefs only was fitting given the way the second half had gone: The Washington quarterback’s pass was swatted at the line of scrimmage and immediately grabbed by the bulky defensive lineman who blocked it. 

That was just one of the litany of mistakes from the offense.

Facing one of the league’s worst defenses, Heinicke and the offense managed just 276 yards against the Chiefs — the unit’s lowest since Heinicke took over for an injured Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Heinicke threw for just 182 yards, only 50 of which came after halftime. 

Until Sunday, the Chiefs had been giving up 7.1 yards per play — putting them on a pace to break the NFL record, set by the 2015 New Orleans Saints (6.5). Washington, though, managed only 5.1 yards per play, a full two yards below Kansas City’s season average. 

“We just didn’t execute the game plan well,” Heinicke said. 

The game spiraled out of control from Washington in the second half. With the Burgundy and Gold up 13-10 at halftime, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes took over in the next two quarters — and Washington‘s offense failed to keep pace. 

But the problems started long before. The Chiefs committed three turnovers in the first half — and Washington only scored a touchdown on one of them. Two other Burgundy and Gold drives stalled out in field goal range, leaving the team to settle for 50- and 42-yard kicks.

Last week against the New Orleans Saints, Washington’s offensive problems boiled down to finishing in the red zone — scoring touchdowns on just two of five trips. Against Kansas City? Washington failed to reach that area even once.

Washington‘s lone touchdown was a 39-yard pass to tight end Ricky Seals-Jones. Heinicke pounced on the busted coverage in the Chiefs‘ secondary.

“I wish we would have scored more touchdowns,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said. “And again, you have to do that against teams like that. Kicking field goals is, it’s the last thing you really want to do.”

“We needed to score more points,” Heinicke said.

Still, Rivera said he would have “never thought” the second half would have unfolded the way it did.

The closest Washington got to scoring was on its opening drive in the third quarter, when a combination of Heinicke throws and runs from backs Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic got the team into scoring territory. 

The series, however, stalled out. Kicker Dustin Hopkins missed a 42-yarder from Kansas City’s 24. The missed kick prevented Washington from taking a 16-10 lead and the Chiefs seized the lead after that.

Washington’s other four offensive possessions in the second half resulted in two punts, an interception and a run that ended the game.

“It was just a tale of two halves, honestly,” Washington receiver Terry McLaurin said. “Their defense came out and kept everything in front of them. You’ve got to credit them, they made us really work to sustain drives and we just didn’t do that. … As an offense we didn’t necessarily capitalize like we needed to. 

“When you don’t capitalize when you need to against a championship team like that, you’re going to get the result that you did.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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