Derrius Guice has experienced a lot during his brief tenure with the Redskins. The second-year pro came to the organization after an unforeseen fall in the 2018 Draft, tore his ACL as a rookie and then worked like crazy to get back into playing shape for this season only to tear his meniscus in Week 1.
But on Sunday against the Panthers, Guice finally got to experience something else: A massive, breakout performance. In Washington's surprising 29-21 win in Carolina, Guice went off for 129 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 attempts.
It was the kind of afternoon he, the franchise and the franchise's fans had all envisioned for quite some time.
"I've always had confidence," Guice told reporters postgame. "Just had bad luck and couldn't really show it. It's always been there, though."
No. 29's two visits to the end zone, each from a yard out, were the first two rushing scores of his career. Those weren't his two most notable runs, however.
In the first quarter, Guice took a handoff and, after some terrific initial blocking by the left side of the Redskins' offensive line, cut to the outside and rumbled down the sideline for 60 yards. When asked to walk the media through that particular highlight, he said simply, "It was open."
Much later on in the fourth quarter, Guice again broke through on a run to the left, annihilated a linebacker with a stiff-arm that wasn't appropriate for all audiences and then fought through a few more defenders before being pushed out at the one-yard line. His thoughts on that sequence were a little more entertaining.
"That's just instincts," he said. "I just broke through an arm tackle and he was the first guy there. And my first instinct is to punch him and see what's up."
"He runs so hard," Dwayne Haskins said during his press conference. "It's so fun watching him."
Throughout Guice's career with the Burgundy and Gold, coaches and players have used all sorts of words to describe him. He's been lauded as talented, dynamic, explosive and physical, along with plenty of other adjectives.
Yet, because of his injury issues, all of those descriptions couldn't be backed up with proof. That is, until Sunday happened. The former second-round pick validated those who have long believed in his potential and also proved how real that potential is to those who have doubted him.
"It's been hell, literally," Guice said. "I'm just really strong mentally."
With four games left in this season and hopefully many more seasons to go after that, Guice surely thinks that what he did in Week 13 is the first of many standout efforts. Considering all that he's been through, though, it sure was rewarding to see the first finally happen.
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