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Washington’s Carson Wentz to start vs. Browns with playoffs on the line

On the cusp of making the playoffs, the Washington Commanders are trusting Carson Wentz to make it happen.

Washington announced Wednesday that Wentz will be taking over as starting quarterback in this week’s game against the Cleveland Browns, just days after he came in for Taylor Heinicke late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers. 

Wentz came in after two crucial turnovers by Heinicke with nine minutes left in the game, going 12 of 16 for 123 yards and one touchdown, but it was not enough to overcome the Niners, who won their eighth straight game. 


“We’re all competitions. We’re not going to sugar coat it,” Wentz said Sunday when asked what it would mean to be named the starter in Week 17. 

“We all want to play. We all want to be out there. We all want to be leading the charge. If we lose that in this position, in this league – we’re going to be out of it real quick.” 

Carson Wentz, #11, and Taylor Heinicke, #4 of the Washington Commanders, take the field before the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Oct. 13, 2022 in Chicago.

Wentz was sidelined with a broken finger sustained in Week 6 but remained the backup despite being elevated from injured reserve on Dec. 12. 

Washington won five of its first six games without the veteran quarterback, but two straight losses certainly played into Ron Rivera’s decision to start Wentz this week.

Carson Wentz, #11 of the Washington Commanders, throws a pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Oct. 13, 2022 in Chicago.

The Commanders can clinch a playoff spot if they win over the Browns on Sunday and if the Detroit Lions, Seattle Seahawks, and the Green Bay Packers all lose their respective games. They will also advance if they win out the season. 

“It’s nice to still be in control of our destiny,” Wentz said Sunday. “Obviously coming off a couple of tough ones – close ones – it’s tough but at the same time to still have control of our destiny means a lot.”

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