Newly signed Brian Johnson kicks WFT to critical win over Raiders with long, late field goal

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This is how to win over new teammates.

Rookie kicker Brian Johnson signed with the Washington Football Team on Tuesday. On Sunday, he was asked to hit a go-ahead 48-yard field goal with 42 seconds left on the clock against the Las Vegas Raiders.

With Washington trailing 15-14 and fighting for a playoff spot, Johnson sent his kick through the uprights to give Washington a 17-15 lead that held as the final score after a last-ditch Raiders drive came up short.

His first field goal of the day and the fourth of his career helped Washington to its fourth straight win and a 6-6 record that keeps it in control of an NFC wild-card berth. The loss drops the Raiders to 6-6 and on the outside looking in at the AFC's frantic playoff race.

Washington's fourth kicker of 2021 comes through

Johnson joined Washington this past week after the team placed kicker Joey Slye on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. He's Washington's fourth kicker this season following Dustin Hopkins, Chris Blewitt and Slye. Washington cut Hopkins in October and Blewitt in November after three of his five field-goal attempts in two games were blocked.

Washington Football Team kicker Brian Johnson (16) celebrates after kicking a 48-yard field goal against the Las Vegas Raiders in the fourth quarter atAllegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Brian Johnson's first day on the job with Washigton was a good one. (Kirby Lee/Reuters)

Johnson previously played for the New Orleans Saints, where he connected on all eight of his field-goal attempts in four games. But he missed three of eight extra-point attempts, leading to his Nov. 19 release.

Slye will miss at least two more games on injured reserve, ensuring that Johnson has more time to impress his new team and potentially secure the job for the season's stretch run.

Heinicke gets job done

Taylor Heinicke thew both of Washington's touchdowns Sunday, including a 4-yard pass to running back Antonio Gibson in the fourth quarter to extend Washington's lead to 14-6.

The Raiders responded with a five-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 1-yard Josh Jacobs touchdown run. Derek Carr's two-point conversion attempt to Bryan Edwards fell incomplete, leaving the Raiders trailing 14-12 with 10:56 remaining.

Washington Football Team quarterback Taylor Heinicke (4) looks to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Washington's fourth straight win after a 2-6 start keeps it in control of securing a playoff berth. (AP Photo/David Becker)

The Raiders' defense came through on the ensuing Washington possession when cornerback Nate Hobbs intercepted Heinicke to set up a go-ahead Daniel Carlson 37-yard field goal with 2:22 remaining. It was too much time for the Raiders to keep Washington from the game-winning score.

Heinicke connected on four of five pass attempts on Washington's final 44-yard drive that put Johnson in position to win the game. Washington attempted to draw the Raiders offside when they faced fourth-and-1 from the Las Vegas 31. The Raiders didn't take the bait, and head coach Ron Rivera called time out to put the fate of the game on the leg of his new kicker.

Johnson delivered.