Taylor Heinicke costs WFT a TD by diving at goal line
Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke Dan Powers / USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Green Bay Packers came up with a critical goal-line stand in their game against Washington on Sunday. They have Taylor Heinicke and a fairly recent NFL rule change to thank for that.

With Washington trailing 21-7 late in the third quarter, Heinicke appeared to score a rushing touchdown on 3rd-and-goal from the 3-yard line. He dove toward the end zone, however, and replays showed that the quarterback’s knee was down before the ball broke the plane. What was even more embarrassing was that Heinicke, who grew up a Packers fan, did the Lambeau Leap after the play.

Heinicke could have scored without diving, but he may have felt he was going to get hit. He wasn’t touched, which left many people wondering why it mattered when his knee went down.

In 2018, the NFL implemented a rule that states a quarterback has given himself up if he dives forward. The same is true if the quarterback goes into a slide. That’s why Heinicke was ruled down. He then tried to sneak the ball into the end zone on the next play and fumbled. He reached the ball over the goal line, but officials ruled that his forward progress was stopped first.

The sequence was a game-changing one. It allowed the Packers to keep a two-touchdown lead rather than the deficit being cut to seven. Heinicke should have been more aware of the rules in that situation.

This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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