Redskins

Quick Links

Five observations from the Redskins victory over Carolina

Five observations from the Redskins victory over Carolina

Here are my five key observations from the Redskins 23-17 win over the Panthers.

1. Good start

For the second straight home game the Redskins scored a touchdown on their fourth play from scrimmage. Against the Packers it was a conventional four-play drive. Today it was three and out, recovery of a fumbled punt, and 22-yard TD pass from Alex Smith to Vernon Davis. The Redskins stretched the lead out to 17-0 midway through the second quarter before the Panthers got on the board. After doing nothing in New Orleans, it was the solid start the Redskins badly needed.

2. Alex Smith still sputters

While the Redskins started off well, Smith was erratic through the first half. He was good on 10 of 18 passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Smith certainly had his good moments, hitting receivers for some key first downs during the Redskins first-half scoring drives. He also had some passes that were way off the mark, even when he apparently had time to throw. Late in the first half the Redskins got good field position after a punt from deep in Panthers territory. But after an intentional grounding flag the Redskins were moved out of field goal range.

Smith continued to flounder in the second half. After the Redskins moved into Carolina territory with their first possession of the third quarter, he threw third-and fourth-down passes late and inaccurate. He did hit a few passes in the drive that sealed the game for Washington but overall his day was spotty.

3. Inconsistent Offense

The offense took quick advantage of breaks, scoring in one play after recovering fumbled punt. 

They got a 64-yard drive with a variety of runs and passes on third possession, capped with a two-yard touchdown pass to Paul Richardson. Then, things stalled. Well, they didn’t fall apart down entirely. They could start drives but they had trouble finishing. Several drives stalled in Panthers territory, forcing them go punt, go for it on fourth or, early in the fourth quarter, a 56-yard field goal.

The one constant was running back Adrian Peterson. He rolled for 97 yards on 17 carries, consistently gashing the Panthers defense for solid gains. While Smith was cold, he kept the offense afloat.

4. Defense gets the takeaways

The defense contributed two takeaways in the second quarter and Josh Norman had a hand in both of them. He picked off his first pass in 19 games and later he forced a fumble. The second turnover led to a field goal to put the Redskins up 17-0.

After that, however, they let Cam Newton get rolling and the Panthers got a touchdown and a field goal to make it a one-score game at 17-9 entering the fourth quarter. After a Redskins field goal, they let Newton and the Panthers march right down the field for a touchdown and two-point conversion to pull Carolina within a field goal.

The defense needed one more stop to clinch the game after a field goal made it 23-17. The Panthers easily drove into the red zone. On fourth down and five from the 16 with 38 seconds left, Newton’s pass fell incomplete and everyone was able to breathe.

5. The pattern continues

You know it’s your day when you get three takeaways and your kicker bombs one from 56 yards out after the other team has made it a one-score game. It seemed like a back-and-forth game, but the Redskins held the lead from the get-go. The Redskins continued their up-and-down pattern, winning after a bad loss for the second time this season. They can’t continue this pattern if they are going to contend for the playoffs. But they could only win one game today and they got it done.

They will have another chance to build an actual winning streak next week against the Cowboys.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Jay Gruden reportedly to join Jaguars as their offensive coordinator

Just four months shy of his last appearance on the NFL gridiron sidelines, Jay Gruden may already have his 2020 gig lined up, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero.

Gruden was head coach of the Washington Redskins for six seasons, beginning in 2014 and going 35-49-1 in his burgundy and gold tenure. Gruden pushed the Redskins to their first postseason appearance since 2012 in his second year with the team, as well as back-to-back winning seasons in 2015 and 2016, not seen in Washington since 1996 and 1997. 

In March 2017, Gruden signed a two-year extension with the Redskins. He was fired after beginning the 2019 season 0-5. 

Recently, Gruden confirmed to Rapoport that he was "itching for something to do" and seeking employment before Jacksonville brought him in to interview for the OC role. 

After playing four years at the University of Louisville and and eight more in various football leagues, Gruden held many offensive roles, offensive coordinator for the Florida Tuskers and Cincinnati Bengals. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS:

Quick Links

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

Joe Gibbs told Ron Rivera that Dan Snyder was never 'an interference' while he coached the Redskins

New Redskins head coach Ron Rivera did plenty of research before accepting the job earlier this month.

Rivera spent 30-35 hours with Redskins owner Dan Snyder before agreeing to be the ninth head coach of the owner's tenure. Additionally, he reached out to legendary Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs, and ended up spending several hours talking with him prior to accepting the job. The two originally spoke on the phone, before the three-time Super Bowl-winning head coach invited Rivera over to his home in Charlotte last month to discuss even further.

On Tuesday, Gibbs spoke on the Carol Maloney show, where he revealed some of the topics he spoke with Rivera about. One of those included the involvement of Snyder, who Gibbs spoke glowingly about.

"Where I felt like I could help the most was telling [Rivera] what it was like working with Dan," Gibbs said. "When I was there, Dan did every single thing he could do to help us win and was never, in any way, an interference. He was always trying to help in every single way he could."

Additionally, Gibbs raved about the Redskins fanbase. He explained to Rivera that fans in D.C. understand football, have been following the team forever, and are some of the most passionate in the sport.

"The other thing I could do, I felt like, was tell him about what it's like coaching in the greatest city in the world with the greatest fans in the world," Gibbs said. "I did tell him I thought it was the greatest job in the NFL."

Gibbs told Maloney that he hates making predictions, but had a strong one about the future of the Redskins fanbase.

"I think our fan base will come roaring back," Gibbs said. "I think [FedEx Field] will be full of Burgundy and Gold. They're going to be cheering their guts out."

When asked if he believed Rivera was the right man to lead the Redskins, Gibbs explained he was thrilled by the hire.

"He was certainly a great choice," Gibbs said. "[He was] Coach of the Year twice, put a team into the Super Bowl. And I think he's kind of a man's man. I think he can talk to the players. And I think he's proven that he can get the job done."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS