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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.

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Roger Goodell releases statement condemning racism, admits NFL was wrong not listening to players

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Roger Goodell releases statement condemning racism, admits NFL was wrong not listening to players

Over the past couple of weeks, several athletes and many others have made their voices heard on the racial injustices in America following the death of George Floyd.  A number of NFL stars released a joint video statement late Thursday evening, requesting the league to speak up more on the matter.

The NFL had previously released a statement last Saturday expressing condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, but it didn't speak on the racism that black Americans are constantly faced with.

On Friday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a strong response to his players, condemning racism and admitting the league was wrong in not listening to its players earlier.

"We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people," Goodell said. "We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

Below is a transcript of Goodell's entire statement:

It has been a difficult time in our country, in particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all the families that have endured police brutality. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter. I personally protest with you and want to be a part of the much needed change in this country. Without black players there would be no National Football League. And the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality, and oppression of black players, coaches, fans, and staff. We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices, and others on how we can move forward together for a better and more united NFL family.

These issues were first brought to the NFL forefront in 2016, when ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest and raise awareness for racial injustice in America. Kaepernick has not played a snap since he parted ways with the 49ers following that season.

Redskins running back Adrian Peterson said Friday that he, along with many of his peers, plan to kneel for the anthem when the season returns this fall.

Goodell's statement, which directly addressed police brutality and racial injustices in America, is a sign the NFL is moving in the right direction regarding these issues.

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WATCH: Ron Rivera returns to Redskins Park for first time since March

WATCH: Ron Rivera returns to Redskins Park for first time since March

For the first time in over 11 weeks, head coach Ron Rivera and several members of the coaching staff returned to Redskins Park on Friday.

The Redskins' video crew documented the staff's return to the Ashburn facilities, as the team had several safety precautions in place for the coaches when they arrived.

In the video, you can see Rivera and several staff members go through a temperature check, making sure each one of them was healthy enough to report. There video also showed there are plenty of hand sanitizer stations throughout the lobby of the facility, too.

Additionally, everyone shown in the video was wearing a mask, including a pretty sweet custom one for the head coach.

Rivera's mask featured the head coach's signature 'Riverboat Ron' logo, which is also his profile picture on Twitter.

Friday marked the first time in almost three months that Rivera was allowed to report to the Redskins facilities, as the league sent out a memo to all 32 clubs on March 19 that all facilities must close due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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The NFL announced on May 19 that teams were allowed to reopen facilities should state and local regulations allow it, but head coaches were not permitted. Earlier this week, the league finally allowed head coaches to return as early as Friday. 

The league has yet to announce a date when players are allowed to return to team facilities. As it stands now, only those players who are injured or undergoing medical treatment are allowed in the building.

As Rivera returned to work, he explained he only has one thing in mind as he plans for the few months ahead.

"The biggest thing is starting to get everything set for training camp," Rivera said. "We have everything ready just in case we get the opportunity for some work with the players before the end of OTAs and minicamp, but the biggest thing we can do now is start to get ready for training camp."

When Redskins training camp will begin has not formally been announced yet, but the team's annual fall camp is expected to begin at some point towards the end of July. Washington will not be traveling to their typical Richmond location, as the NFL announced earlier this week that all training camp activities will be held at each team's respective facilities.

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