Giants will face Taylor Heinicke with Washington putting Ryan Fitzpatrick on IR

With Washington Football Team quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick expected to miss multiple weeks, the Giants are set to face backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke on Thursday.

Fitzpatrick suffered a hip subluxation in Washington’s loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, NFL Network reported. Fitzpatrick will go on IR and Heinicke is expected to start for Washington with Kyle Allen serving as his primary backup, according to ESPN.

Fitzpatrick suffered the injury when Uchenna Nwosu tore into the backfield midway through the second quarter of Sunday’s game, dumping Fitzpatrick to the FedEx Field turf as he threw the ball toward the sideline. He remained on the ground after the play — an incomplete pass to running back J.D. McKissic — before walking off under his own power, but didn’t return. At the time, Washington trailed 10-6, and Fitzpatrick had completed 3 of 6 passes for 13 yards.

That forced Washington to insert Heinicke, the former undrafted free agent agent who latched onto four different NFL rosters and an XFL team — the St. Louis BattleHawks — before Washington signed him to its practice squad in Dec. 2020. His lone regular-season appearance came in Week 16 last year when he relieved Dwayne Haskins, went 12-for-19, and earned the start in the wild-card game when the team ruled Alex Smith inactive due to a calf strain.

Taylor Heinicke
Taylor Heinicke (r.) is set to start at quarterback for Washington against the Giants after Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury.
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Heinicke nearly led Washington, which won the NFC East with a 7-9 record, to a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who eventually won the Super Bowl. He went 26-for-44 with 306 yards and one touchdown, rushed for another score and tossed an interception. Against the Chargers on Sunday, he completed 11 of 15 passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions.

“I’m always excited to play,” Heinicke said in his postgame press conference. “It’s just unfortunate that it had to come at Fitz’s injury.”

Heinicke flashed his potential in Washington’s offense again on his first drive of the third quarter, when he hit Terry McLaurin on a 34-yard pass down the sideline for an acrobatic catch. And on the next play, Heinicke slid one step to his left and connected with Logan Thomas in the end zone for their only touchdown of the afternoon.

Ryan Fitzpatrick injury
Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered a hip injury during Washington’s loss to the Chargers on Sept. 12, 2021.

“I think the biggest thing that you see a little bit is because of Taylor’s ability to improvise, move on the run,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said postgame. “I think that gave a little bit of spark when we needed it and it was good to see.”

Also as a result of Fitzpatrick’s injury, Washington signed free agent quarterback Kyle Shurmur to its practice squad, according to NFL Network, adding depth behind Heinicke and Allen. Shurmer is the son of former Giants head coach and current Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who led the Giants for two seasons in 2018 and 2019 before they fired him after a combined 9-23 record.

Kyle Shurmur hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since going undrafted after four seasons at Vanderbilt, where he ended his collegiate career as the Commodores leader in passing yards, completions and attempts.

In their season-opener, the Giants lost 27-13 to the Broncos and allowed Teddy Bridgewater to complete 28 of 36 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns. The Broncos went 7-for-15 on third downs and a perfect 3-for-3 on fourth downs, prompting cornerback Logan Ryan to say after the game that “bad things happen” when teams — in this case the Giants — have to play more defense.

And their next chance to fix that will come against Heinicke, a backup quarterback that’s injected life into the Washington offense before.

New York Post

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