Derrius Guice tearing the ACL in his left knee in August 2018 pushed the Washington Redskins to sign Adrian Peterson.
A career renaissance followed for Peterson, and Guice injured his right knee in Week 1 this season. Guice had been waiting for a game like the Redskins’ win at Carolina and told Peterson, “They finally got to see the two-headed monster.”
Washington’s two-headed monster rushed for 228 yards and three touchdowns against the Panthers, and could be set up to duplicate that effort Sunday at Green Bay. The Packers rank 25th in the NFL in rushing defense, the early forecast calls for rain — if not snow — and it’s always running season with interim coach Bill Callahan.
The Redskins open as 14-point underdogs against the probably playoff-bound 9-3 Packers after erasing a 14-0 deficit to flip the spread and beat the Panthers 29-21.
Surprisingly, the pass rush even without veteran linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. Without Kerrigan for the first time in his pro career because of a concussion and missing Ryan Anderson after he was ejected, Washington sacked Carolina quarterback Kyle Allen seven times.
“Jonathan Allen, (Montez) Sweat, (Tim) Settle, all those guys kept consistent pressure,” Callahan said. “A lot of times it’s not the guy that gets the sack, but it’s the complementary player that creates the push or the disruption that creates the force on the queue that sets up the sack. We had a lot of complementary play across the board.”
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins remains a work in progress. Haskins was 13 of 25 for 147 yards against Carolina and was sacked five times.
“I think I was playing faster than what I needed to, so I was playing myself out of certain positions with certain reads and stuff like that,” Haskins said. “I’m just slowing it down as far as the speed of my drop and every time I feel pressure, I don’t have to feel scared every time I see someone flash across my face.”
Keeping Peterson for the second season of his two-year contract looked unlikely as recently as two weeks ago. The Redskins didn’t trade him at the deadline, though, and at 34, Peterson still looks like he has plenty left in the tank.
“It seems like we found the right recipe,” Peterson said. “Me and Guice just talked throughout the game like, ‘Hey, when you’re in there you do your thing.’ We have a signal if we need each other to come in, and if not we will just let that guy spin, especially if he has a roll going.”
The notion that Callahan is just an interim coach and definitely won’t be back next season has taken a hit with back-to-back wins. Callahan’s no-nonsense style might’ve ruffled a few feathers among veterans, but it’s working, and at the very least he could be back as an offensive assistant.
Receiver Trey Quinn could be out with a concussion after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit while fielding a punt. Right tackle Morgan Moses left the Carolina game with a back injury, and edge rusher Sweat missed some time with quadriceps tightness.
Linebacker Nate Orchard made four tackles, including one of Christian McCaffery on the clinching goal-line stand, after being signed Wednesday. Charles Odom, signed Saturday, also had four tackles.
Lather, rinse, repeat. Always repeat. The Redskins have their first winning streak of the season, so they’re going to just keep up this recipe and see what happens.