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Report: Alex Smith will be inactive for playoff game against Bucs, Taylor Heinicke will start

Chris Cwik
·2-min read

If the Washington Football Team is hoping to beat Tom Brady, they’ll have to do it without their starting quarterback.

Alex Smith will reportedly be inactive for Saturday’s playoff game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to a calf injury, according to ESPN’s John Keim, and Taylor Heinicke is expected to start in his place.

Smith has been dealing with the injury for weeks, and apparently had a setback leading up to Saturday’s game. Smith missed Washington’s Week 15 and Week 16 games due to the issue, but was able to return for Washington’s Week 17 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith completed 22 of 32 passes for 162 yards in that game with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

That performance suggested Smith would be ready to go for the playoff game against the Buccaneers. During the week, however, it was reported Smith was “trending the wrong way” for the game.

Smith will reportedly miss the game due to “functionality,” not pain, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Smith fought back from a horrific injury to take over as Washington’s starter halfway through the season. In 8 games, Smith completed 66.7 percent of his passes. He threw six touchdowns against eight interceptions.

Washington released Dwayne Haskins in December

Washington’s decision to cut Dwayne Haskins in December could come back to haunt them. With Smith out, Heinicke is expected to get the start. He went undrafted in 2015 and joined the Minnesota Vikings, staying with the team until 2017 but never taking a snap.

Heinicke had brief stints with both the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers before going to the XFL, where he was a backup for the St. Louis BattleHawks.

Heinicke signed with Washington in December, and was promoted to the team’s active roster Dec. 19. He played in the team’s Week 16 loss to the Panthers, where he completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown.

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