Taylor Heinicke's playoff performance earns respect from NFL peers, sports world

12:26 AM ET

When the 7-9 Washington Football Team had to take on Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first round of the National Football League playoffs, little did it know that its best shot at pulling off an upset would rely upon journeyman quarterback Taylor Heinicke, making just his second career start in the NFL — and his first in the postseason.

And while Washington came up short, losing 31-23 at home, Heinicke’s performance on Saturday turned heads. He threw for 306 yards and a touchdown — while also rushing for another score — on 26-for-44 passing. Heinicke garnered high praise for his gutty attempt to outduel Brady, as the Bucs’ QB won his NFL-record 31st playoff game, with a lot of observers convinced this game gives the well-traveled Heinicke some staying power.

You can start with the game’s reigning best quarterback, Patrick Mahomes:

Regardless of the outcome what a great game by Heinicke!

— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) January 10, 2021

Veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy also celebrated what Heinicke had achieved in making things close:

Taylor Heinicke needs to walk out of the stadium with his head held high!! He played

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