5:17 PM ET
LANDOVER, Md. — Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith will be inactive for Saturday night’s wild-card game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a source told ESPN, leaving the team’s playoff fate in the hands of Taylor Heinicke.
Washington had hoped Smith’s strained right calf would be good enough to allow him to play, but he was unable to move the way he needed. The injury is on the same leg Smith broke in 2018.
That means Washington’s active quarterbacks will be Heinicke, who has one career NFL start and has played just one quarter in two years, and undrafted free-agent rookie Steven Montez, who has yet to appear in an NFL game but has been with the team all season. Heinicke was signed to Washington’s practice squad on Dec. 8.
Heinicke has appeared in eight NFL games, including in the fourth quarter of a 20-13 loss to Carolina in Week 16. He replaced an ineffective Dwayne Haskins for Washington’s final two series; Heinicke completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Another touchdown pass was negated by a holding penalty.
Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady has played in more Super Bowls than Heinicke