Heinicke in for Haskins, Washington falls to Panthers 20-13


LANDOVER, MARYLAND – DECEMBER 27: Taylor Heinicke #4 of the Washington Football Team scrambles with the ball away from the tackle of Efe Obada #94 of the Carolina Panthers during the third quarter at FedExField on December 27, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — Washington blew its first chance to clinch the NFC East by losing 20-13 to the Carolina Panthers. All Washington had to do was beat a team long eliminated from contention to punch its ticket to the playoffs.

Dwayne Haskins started less than a week after being fined for violating COVID-19 protocols and turned the ball over three times in the first half. Coach Ron Rivera benched Haskins early in the fourth quarter and put Taylor Heinicke in at quarterback.

Heinicke, the all-time leading passer in Old Dominion history, was brought in to be the team’s “quarantine quarterback” just over two weeks ago. Heinicke completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown to J.D. McKissic.

Haskins threw for more yards (154) on 14 of 28 completions, but was intercepted twice, and sacked on a fourth down after missing a wide open Chris Simms.

It remains to be seen who starts next week at Philadelphia. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 197 yards to help the Panthers snap a three-game skid.

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