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Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana Attendance: 65,515
Heinicke leads late rally as Washington beats Colts 17-16
By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Terry McLaurin punctuated his homecoming with a clutch play in a Washington win.
Taylor Heinicke made sure of it.
McLaurin's spectacular 33-yard catch with 26 seconds left set up Heinicke's 1-yard TD plunge, lifting the Commanders to a 17-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
"Terry's that dude. He's got that dog in him," Heinicke said. "People want to fight for him. The guy is a treasure. We're glad he's on our team."
That certainly has been the case the past two weeks, when McLaurin and Heinicke appeared to be in perfect sync. On Sunday, they helped the Commanders (4-4) score twice in the final five minutes to overcome a nine-point deficit in Washington's third straight win.
Heinicke went 23 of 31 for 279 yards, one touchdown and one interception, converting a crucial fourth-and-1 from his 20-yard line on the final drive.
McLaurin caught six passes for 113 yards in his first pro contest at Lucas Oil Stadium - the same venue where he attended games with his father and celebrated three high school state championships and two Big Ten titles.
With nearly six dozen friends and family in attendance, McLaurin wrestled the ball away from 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore on his big catch near the goal line. Heinicke scored on the next play.
"A lot of my love for football started here, a lot of my family and friends were here," McLaurin said. "I had a lot of confidence I was going to come down with that ball (against Gilmore)."
For the Colts (3-4-1), it was more of the same despite making a quarterback change. Sam Ehlinger took over from injured and benched veteran Matt Ryan, who was inactive for the game.
Ehlinger was solid, going 17 of 23 for 201 yards. But he also was sacked twice, lost a fumble that cost Indy points and came up just short on a third-down scramble with 3:38 remaining. Indy challenged the ruling and lost before opting to punt, which gave Washington one more chance.
"I thought I had it, I thought I had it judging by the reaction of my teammates and then obviously my knee was down," Ehlinger said. "You never know you're ready until you're put in that situation. I know now it wasn't good enough."
Ehlinger did, however, set up Chase McLaughlin for three field goals to give Indy a 9-7 lead. Following a Shaquille Leonard interception, the Colts made it 16-7 on Nyheim Hines' 6-yard TD run with 11:12 to go.
But Washington answered with a 28-yard field goal and got the stop it needed before Heinicke and McLaurin combined for the final, dramatic scene - fulfilling the wishes of one of McLaurin's friends who maneuvered his way close enough for a midgame conversation.
"Don't worry about it," McLaurin said was the response when he asked his buddy how he made it there. "Just go make the play to win the game."
RINGING IT IN
Former Colts left tackle Tarik Glenn was inducted into Indy's Ring of Honor at halftime, the 18th member of the club. Glenn started 154 games for Indy, primarily at left tackle, from 1997-2006 and was part of the Colts' Super Bowl-winning team.
Hall of Famers Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, Edgerrin James and Bill Polian attended the festivities, and former Colts center Jeff Saturday donned Glenn's No. 78 jersey before the game.
"I'm so grateful for this opportunity and I couldn't do it without a village," Glenn said. "I am so grateful to have played all my 10 years in Indianapolis."
Commanders: Leading tackler Cole Holcomb (foot) and receivers Jahan Dotson (hamstring) and Dyami Brown (groin) all sat out, but Washington didn't appear to suffer any significant injuries during the game.
Colts: Defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis was carted off the field after hurting his right knee on the Commanders' final drive. Defending rushing champ Jonathan Taylor left in the first half with an injured ankle, the same injury that kept him out of two games earlier this season. But Taylor returned and finished the game.
Commanders: Heinicke improved to 9-9 all-time as a starter. ... Washington won three games in October for the first time since 2018. ... One week after rushing for a season-best 167 yards, the Commanders had 28 carries for 96 yards. ... Antonio Gibson had seven receptions for 50 yards and one TD.
Colts: Indy lost for the first time in five games against Washington. ... Taylor carried 16 times for 76 yards but also lost a fumble in the red zone that likely cost Indy crucial points. ... Alec Pierce caught three passes for 65 yards and Michael Pittman Jr. had seven catches for 53 yards.
Commanders: Host Minnesota and former quarterback Kirk Cousins next Sunday.
Colts: Renew their rivalry on a road trip to New England next Sunday.
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Updated October 30, 2022