Redskins 23 - 17 Panthers
Will the real Washington Redskins please stand up?
Hello friends, JimmiJo here, joined by the Spaceman Spiff.
Seriously, which team will we get to see today. The one solid in all quarters, playing fundamentally sound ball and making us believe that just maybe, this year they could be hanging around at playoff time? Or will it be the one who decides not all receivers should be covered? You know, the one that seems to believe no national embarrassment is too great to suffer.
If I am on this team on this day, I am playing like I have been punked-out on national TV (because I was) and I have something to prove. I am playing with a degree of urgency yet to be seen this year. I am playing like the season is on the line today. Because it literally is as far as I am concerned.
Speak amongst yourselves...
The Redskins declared the following players as inactive:
o No. 25 RB Chris Thompson
o No. 30 S Troy Apke
o No. 39 CB Adonis Alexander
o No. 74 T Geron Christian Sr.
o No. 77 G Shawn Lauvao
o No. 80 WR Jamison Crowder
o No. 99 DL Caleb Brantley
Ok gang, showtime. Here's to a good game with no injuries. You can follow me live on Twitter @Skinscast.
See you at the half.
Great start, poor ending. They need to produce in the 2nd half to win.
This team is consistently inconsistent.
I’m just glad I caught them on the good week. And if there was ever a time to go for two in a row, it’s this week.
I was poised to ask the players how much last week had to do with this. I didn’t have to. Most of the guys I interviewed spoke about getting the bad taste of last week out of their mouth.
To a man they wanted to put it behind them. No better way than to do so with a win against a 3-1 Carolina Panthers. The win preserves Washington’s first place position in the division.
If we are looking for heroes we have to start with Adrian Peterson. Coming in with multiple injuries (shoulder, knee, ankle), all he did was run for 97-yards on 17-carries with a 5.7 yard per carry average. The man is ageless, looking more like a first-year back rather than a guy near the end of his career.
On the other side of the ball was Josh Norman. It was clear in speaking to him following the game that the chatter in the media was starting to get to him. This game was important enough for him that he called a defensive backs meeting this week to get everybody on the same page.
Norman payed like the all-star the Redskins signed in 2016. In fact, the interception was his first since week 16 of 2016. But he wasn’t done. Norman punched out the ball to force a fumble later on a critical drive, robbing the Panthers of an opportunity to score.
Given the talk about Norman and the manner in which the New Orleans Saints bludgeoned Washington last week, it was fitting the game came down to a defensive stand that resulted in Carolina giving up the ball on downs.
This was a total team effort for Washington, with all areas contributing.
Alex Smith went 21-of-36 for 163-yards and two touchdowns. He finished with a passer-rating of 88.1.
Jordan Reed had a relatively quiet five receptions for 36-yards to lead the receivers. Vernon Davis on the other hand, made some noise bringing in 3-receptions for 48-yards to include a beautiful touchdown grab on a seam route that left him largely uncovered.
Smith did such a good job of looking off the safety that by the time he turned back to fire down field, Davis was running free and clear into the end zone.
Another hero on the day was Dustin Hopkins. All he did was kick a 6-yard field goal, the longest of his career. I asked the coach if he had discussed the kick with Hopkins prior to making the decision. Gruden told me it was special teams coach Ben Kotwica who proclaimed Hopkins ready.
“I thought it was a 53-yarder,” said Gruden. “When I heard it was a 56-yarder I thought about calling a timeout.
He didn’t and Hopkins made him look smart.
The Redskins fare best when they score first. They must be aware of this as they started red hot, jumping out to a 17-point lead before the Panthers got off the snide.
A total of 9-unanswered points later, Washington scored early in the fourth quarter to bring the lead back to 11. That lasted officially 1-drive, as the Panthers marched down with relative ease to score a touchdown and bring the game within 3.
Washington then mounted another drive to register another field goal to take the lead back to 6.
Then a defensive stand was needed.
Carolina was able to move the back to the midfield with relative ease. Washington tightened up and it all came down to a 4th-and-5 at the Redskins 16 with 38-seconds remaining.
That was as far as they would go as Cam Newton skimmed the ball off of the field for a harmless incomplete.
It was a much need win. It keeps the Redskins in 1st place in the division at 3-2 with Dallas coming to town next Sunday.
What’s not to like?