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Heinicke late TD to McKissic, Washington beats Falcons 34-30

Taylor Heinicke ad-libbed a 30-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic with 33 seconds remaining, rallying Washington to a 34-30 victory over the Atlanta on Sunday.
Credit: AP
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic (41) dives toward the end zone against the Atlanta Falcons during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021, in Atlanta. The Washington Football Team won 34-30. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

ATLANTA — Taylor Heinicke ad-libbed a 30-yard touchdown pass to J.D. McKissic with 33 seconds remaining, rallying the Washington Football Team to a 34-30 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Returning to the metro area where he grew up, Heinicke completed 23 of 33 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns — two of them in the final 3:52 to pull it out for Washington (2-2).

Both were vintage Heinicke.

First, he eluded Dante Fowler Jr. and delivered an off-balance throw with another rusher in his face that Terry McLaurin, eluding two defenders, managed to catch in the back of the end zone for a 17-yard TD.

Two missed extra points by Dustin Hopkins left Washington still trailing. Heinicke threw high on the two-point conversion, preserving a 30-28 lead for the Falcons (1-3).

The Washington defense forced a punt, giving Heinicke one more chance. He drove his team into field goal range, but it turned out Hopkins wasn’t needed.

Rolling to his left, Heinicke didn’t see anyone open. McKissic slipped out into the right flat with no one around, Heinicke spotted him, and threw throw back across the field.

McKissic broke a diving attempt by Deion Jones — the only guy with a chance to make a tackle — took off down the sideline and dove over the pylon for the winning score.

Heinicke’s heroics ruined a big day for Atlanta’s Cordarelle Patterson, who became the first Atlanta player since 2018 to score three touchdowns in a game.

Patterson hauled in a 42-yard pass from Matt Ryan for Atlanta’s longest play from scrimmage this season, giving the Falcons an early 10-0 lead.

He added touchdown catches of 12 and 14 yards.

Patterson led the Falcons in receiving and rushing, finishing with five catches for 82 yards and six carries for 34 yards.

Ryan finished with four TD passes — his most since last season against Minnesota. He also connected with Mike Davis on a 7-yard scoring play that stretched Atlanta’s lead to 30-22 after a disputed personal foul penalty on Chase Young allowed the Falcons to keep the ball.

On fourth down, Ryan got away from a couple of rushers before taking a right forearm from Young near the facemask, knocking the quarterback to one knee before he desperately hurled a throw that was picked off by Washington.

Ryan was ruled down, but the penalty on Young allowed the Falcons to keep the ball. They wound up driving for a TD when Davis hauled in a short pass from Ryan and broke at least three tackles to get into the end zone.

DeAndre Carter returned the second-half kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown, giving Washington a 19-14 lead.

Heinicke’s first TD pass was a a 33-yarder to McLaurin in the second quarter.