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When Bill Callahan took over coaching duties for the Washington Redskins, he promised that the team’s offense would center on the run. At times there have been glimmers of success with the ground game but it was never enough to make a difference.
However, the run-heavy offense that Callahan has been pushing for finally came together on the road when the Redskins faced the Carolina Panthers. In fact, it was Washington’s dominating rushing attack that propelled them to a stunning 29-21 victory over Carolina, making it their second win in a row. The Redskins’ 29-points were the most they’ve posted in a game this year.
As the Week 13 matchup approached, the popular thought was that Christian McCaffrey would be unstoppable against a limping Redskins’ team with a rookie quarterback and inconsistent defense. And rightfully so, as McCaffrey led the league in rushing with 1,123 total yards before the showdown with Washington. He dropped to second (1,167 total yards) following Sunday’s game.
Besides helping the Panthers compile an early 14-0 lead, the Redskins were able to keep McCaffrey in check for the remainder of the game. He finished with only 44 rushing yards on 14 carries, and no touchdowns.
In a surprising plot twist, it was the Redskins running duo of Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson that shined bright. Guice had a career day, rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns. It was also his 60-yard run downfield in the first quarter that sparked the offense when the Panthers appeared to be on their way to leaving the Redskins in the wind. Peterson added another 99 yards that included the game winning touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins’ defense put together one of their most complete games of the season. For the second week in a row, cornerback Fabian Moreau came up with a crucial interception. He picked off a pass intended for D.J. Moore, returning the ball to the Carolina one-yard line. This set up Guice’s first touchdown. Additionally, the Redskins’ defensive front pressured Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen, sacking him a total of six times.
The one negative on defense came late in the fourth quarter. The Redskins shift to prevent defense in the last two minutes gave Allen an opportunity to rally the Panthers back with 1:51 remaining to make it an eight-point game.
Carolina then converted its first onside kick since 1998 and a couple of plays later they were sitting on the Redskins’ goal line. Another touchdown and two-point conversion would force overtime. Luckily, the drive ended with a sack-fumble on Allen recovered by Washington to protect the lead. It was a thrilling finish that should have never happened.
On a final note, quarterback Dwayne Haskins continues to make noticeable strides each week. He was 13 of 25 for 147 yards. Although he hasn’t produced any passing touchdowns, he is managing the offense well and building chemistry with the young players who will make up the future of this team. The Redskins finished with 362 yards of total offense.