The Washington Football Team came into Sunday's NFC East matchup against the Dallas Cowboys with a chance to stake their claim in the tightening division.
Unfortunately for Taylor Heinicke and Co., the first half couldn't have gone much worse.
Washington fell into a 24-0 hole before the halftime whistle due to a litany of mistakes and turnovers. Heinicke coughed the ball up twice, once on a Randy Gregory interception and again when he was strip sacked by Cowboys rookie pass-rusher Micah Parsons. Dallas defensive lineman Dorance Armstrong Jr. scooped up the loose ball and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown.
In addition to the giveaways, Heinicke was just generally out of sync in the first half. Under constant duress from the Cowboys pass-rush, the seven-year veteran went 2-for-12 for just 19 yards through the first two quarters. He also took two sacks.
Heinicke's first half performance was the complete opposite of what the Washington Football Team needed to pull off the upset on Sunday at FedEx Field. It also sparked quite a bit of discussion about the 28-year-old quarterback, who's handled the starting duties for most of the year in the nation's capital.
Heinicke's showing against the Cowboys comes as a huge surprise, given his steady play over the last couple weeks. During Washington's four-game win streak, the former undrafted free agent has thrown for seven touchdowns and only two interceptions. He's averaged over 200 yards passing per game and hasn't had a quarterback rating lower than 90.5.
Henicke's passer rating in the first half against Dallas was 4.9.
Sunday's game might already be out of reach for the Washington Football Team, but Heinicke will want to find some way to salvage his performance in the second half. If he does, he might give the club some momentum heading into next week and save his reputation as one of the steadier quarterbacks in the NFL this season.