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Washington to start QB Taylor Heinicke vs. Bucs; Alex Smith inactive

Washington has made a decision on who will start in Saturday's wild-card matchup against the Buccaneers.

Quarterback Taylor Heinicke is getting the nod as Alex Smith (calf) will be inactive tonight, the team announced.

Smith was listed as questionable coming into Super Wild Card Weekend. Ruling him out wasn't a matter of pain tolerance but instead functionality, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. As of Friday night, Smith's calf was still sore and had yet to loosen up, per Rapoport.

That opened the door for Heinicke to take the majority of practice reps in preparation for his second career start. Two weeks ago, the sixth-year QB performed well after being subbed in late during Washington's Week 16 loss to the Panthers. Heinicke's backup will be rookie Steven Montez, who's yet to play in an NFL game.

If Washington manages to pull off the upset, it'll be the franchise's first playoff win since the 2005 season -- when it topped Tampa Bay.

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