FEDEX FIELD -- They needed that.
After a tumultuous week where headphones and Hollywood dominated the conversation, the Redskins needed that win over the Carolina Panthers.
It wasn't always pretty, and late in the game it seemed to be slipping away, but Jay Gruden's team showed determination in a spot where plenty expected them to fold.
"I don't think anybody can enjoy success all the time. You're going to face adversity and we have to meet it," Gruden said following the 23-17 win. "It was great to see our guys bounce back."
The last time Redskins fans saw the burgundy and gold, the team had just been dominated by the Saints. The secondary played bad as Drew Brees went for more than 360 yards, and gave up multiple big chunk plays for touchdowns. The Monday night meltdown in New Orleans made for an uneasy week in Ashburn, and that was before a series of media reports challenged the team and cornerback Josh Norman.
He was a big part of the errors in New Orleans and then got into a Twitter beef with Saints WR Michael Thomas. After that, former Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall suggested Norman was too focused on his post-NFL television career to play his best football.
Whether or not the "Hollywood" criticism bugged Norman, he responded in a major way with an interception and a forced fumble against Carolina.
"This week was a little bit different, I'm not going to lie. People came from everywhere," he said.
After the Saints game, Norman explained that he called a team meeting to clear the air with the secondary. Blown coverages could not continue if the Redskins were to get back to winning games, and Norman wanted to change things. Maybe the meeting helped.
"Everything we do, we do as a unit, as a group. Regardless of what the outside noise, outside of us, we got to come together," Norman said. "And we got to come together now."
That formula worked well for Norman, and for much of the game, it worked for the Redskins.
The offense played well in the first half, though again struggled to score TDs in the second half. Through five games, the Redskins have just one second-half touchdown, and that came in the blowout Saints loss.
Newton drove the Panthers down the field for the possible game-winning TD. The former MVP had four chances to win the game, but the defense held. Newton lost for the first time in his career against Washington, bringing his all-time record to 4-1.
But all games aren't created equal.
Sure, the Redskins snapped a five-game losing streak to Carolina. Washington hadn't beaten the Panthers since 2006.
Bigger than that, however, Gruden's team showed the ability to fight back from a demoralizing loss. Too many Redskins teams of the past folded under the pressure of bad losses and outward noise.
This Redskins team didn't.
"We've been tested, and you have to respond," Redskins WR Paul Richardson said after the game.
The high-priced free agent addition from this past offseason, Richardson played well against Carolina, hauling in a first-half touchdown. He also understands the enormity of the victory.
"I think even in losing a game like we did last week, we were tested as men to bounce back, to lock in, to focus and make this game important. And we did that."
There is plenty to critique and question from the Redskins win. The second-half offensive struggles are significant, and QB Alex Smith again did not make enough plays down the field.
The Redskins got the win though, and sometimes getting the win is enough.
Remember, they needed that.
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