A look at the good (Hail!) and bad (Fail!) from the Redskins' 23-17 win over the Panthers.
Hail: Josh Norman
The target of criticism all week after his worst game as a Redskin, Norman got his first interception since Dec. 24, 2016, and forced a fumble with the punching technique that Charles Tillman taught him during their one year as teammates in Carolina. It was the first time Norman had an interception and a forced fumble in the same game since he left the Panthers and signed with the Redskins after the 2015 season. After the game, Norman sought out his good friend Cam Newton, who fell to 4-1 in his career against Washington.
Fail: D.J. Moore’s Homecoming
Vernon Davis and Torrey Smith had touchdown catches, but fellow former Maryland star D.J. Moore had a game to forget. While the Panthers' rookie first-round pick set a career high with 59 yards receiving on four catches, he also lost a pair of fumbles in the first half while fighting for additional yardage.
"I do know now that you’ve got to get down in a crowd,” said Moore, who fumbled three times in three years at Maryland. “It’s not like college ... you’ve just got people breaking at the ball more.”
Panthers Coach Ron Rivera told reporters he never considered benching Moore after his brutal start.
“We’re trying to develop a football team,” Rivera said. “I’m not too concerned about punishing players for making mistakes as much as we are about developing them and making sure they’re learning and growing and being able to go forward with them. That’s the idea behind that.”
Washington had three takeaways for the first time this year and a plus-three turnover margin for the first time since Week 16 of the 2016 season. The Panthers fell to 0-43 all-time when turning the ball over at least three more times than their opponent. Newton threw his first interception in five career games against Washington and the Redskins' turnover differential for the season improved to 4. That’s tied for fourth-best in the league.
Fail: Settling for Field Goals
The Redskins have now won 11 consecutive games when finishing with a turnover margin of plus-three or greater, but it took a last-minute stop in the red zone to prevent Carolina’s first fourth-quarter comeback of 11 points or greater in franchise history. The Redskins won their previous 10 such games by an average of 13 points, but failed to take full advantage of its opportunistic defense in the first half on Sunday. The Redskins' last loss with a turnover margin of at least three was a 23-17 overtime defeat to Drew Brees and the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 27, 2005. (Hail Dustin Hopkins for making all three of his field goal attempts, including a career-long 56-yarder.)
Hail: Cam Newton and D.J. Swearinger’s Swag
During warmups, Newton wore cleats featuring the words “Washington, D.C.” and “Mumbo Sauce.” Swearinger arrived at FedEx Field in a Sean Taylor jersey and taped his face mask like Taylor used to before the safety was murdered in 2007.
“I think it was that time for it,” Swearinger said while sporting Taylor’s No. 21 after the game. “It was that time to bring it out this week.”
Swearinger idolized Taylor as a kid while watching Miami Hurricanes games in South Carolina. He told reporters he thought Taylor would be proud of the way Washington’s defense responded on Sunday.
Fail: Brimless Caps
Newton, whose bold fashion choices are often the subject of ridicule, wore a brimless Panthers cap to his weekly press conference earlier this month. Norman found some scissors in the locker room after Sunday’s win and decided to mimic the quarterback’s style. To be clear, the trolling by Norman is top-notch, but the look is ridiculous.
“Shouts out to him" Norman told NFL Network’s Tiffany Blackmon while showing off his handiwork. “He’s probably going to come back at me, but it’s all in good fun. Just like me and my brothers, we play volleyball with him all the time. When we came to the field, gridiron, I was like, ‘Don’t worry, this year, I got something for you.’ Look, we came out and was blessed enough to get a victory over them. They have a great team, they always have a great team, but we wanted this more today and it showed.”
Hail: Adrian Peterson’s Shoe
Adrian Peterson rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, including a 19-yard run late in the second quarter that ended with his right shoe lodged in Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly’s face mask. Carolina fans' Luuuuke chant was audible on the television broadcast throughout the game. This bizarre play deserved a Shooooe. Speaking of shoes, die-hard Redskins fan Kevin Durant taunted his Warriors teammate and Panthers fan Stephen Curry by tossing Curry’s Under Armour shoe after Washington’s win. “How does that a-- whipping taste?” Durant asked Curry in an Instagram video.
Fail: The Jekyll and Hyde Redskins
The Redskins apparently already have their Halloween costume picked out. If the first six weeks of the season are any indication, Washington will be trick-or-treating with a 4-3 record after an embarrassing loss to the Cowboys and a blowout win over the Giants over the next two weeks.
“The thing we gotta understand, man, we can’t go up and down,” Swearinger said after the win. “We gotta stay consistent in our preparation. Whatever we did last week, we gotta stay consistent. No laughing next week. We got the Cowboys coming in, there shouldn’t be no laughing next week. We need to be business. It should be all business from here on out.”
It’s not only a week-to-week thing, either. In all three of their wins, Washington has looked dominant in the first half and much less so after halftime. The Redskins have been outscored 48-24 and held to one touchdown in the second half this season. They’ve scored three points in the third quarter. That’s no laughing matter.
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