Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke will start Saturday’s NFC wild-card game against the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Washington announced approximately 3 1/2 hours prior to the game that fellow quarterback Alex Smith is inactive versus the fifth-seeded Buccaneers. Smith was listed as questionable with a calf strain that limited his participation in practice sessions throughout the week, leading to Heinicke receiving first-team reps.
Steven Montez will serve as the backup quarterback on Saturday.
Heinicke, 27, relieved an ineffective Dwayne Haskins — who summarily has been released — in Washington’s 20-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 27. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 137 yards with one touchdown in that game.
Smith returned from a two-game absence because of the injury to lead Washington to a 20-14 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, clinching the NFC East with a 7-9 record.
Smith, 36, sports a 5-1 record since taking over as the starter in Week 10. After missing all of 2019 recovering from a leg injury and a life-threatening infection, he has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,582 yards with six touchdowns and eight picks in eight appearances this season.