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Taylor Made for Bucs – Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke nearly ended Tampa Bay's historic Super Bowl run last season before it could get started. The Buccaneers went to FedExField last January as clear favorites in a Wild Card matchup with the 7-9 Football Team, winners of the wobbly NFC East, but had to survive a nail-biter to move on. Making just the second start of his NFL career, and his first for Washington, Heinicke threw for over 300 yards and ran for another 46 plus a touchdown in what was eventually a 31-23 Bucs victory. Heinicke had the Football Team across midfield with two-and-a-half minutes to play before Lavonte David's drive-killing sack. Heinicke's star turn in the postseason didn't win him the job in 2021, as Washington brought in veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to try to stabilize the offense, but the job went back to the younger passer when Fitzpatrick sustained a hip injury in Week One. Heinicke hasn't displayed quite the same level of magic in his seven starts this season, with Washington losing five of them and his interception total (nine) nearly matching his touchdowns (11). However, the Buccaneers are obviously well aware that the former Old Dominion standout is capable of putting together big games, like the 290-yard, three-touchdown, no-interception performance that led Washington a Week Four shootout win over the Falcons. The Bucs also are keenly aware of how good Heinicke is at escaping defenders and either extending plays or picking up first downs with his feet. Just three weeks ago he ran for 95 yards on 10 carries against the Packers. There is also the outside possibility that Fitzpatrick will return to the field to face his former team. He remains on injured reserve and the original timeline estimate of six to eight weeks to heal now looks like it might have been a bit optimistic. Still, it will have been nine weeks by the time the Bucs game rolls around, and it would be satisfying in at least one way if he could start the game. Fitzpatrick has played for nine NFL teams now, and through his travels has had an opportunity to start against every other team in the league…except one. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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