With a pointed emphasis on taking a lethal Rams' special teams unit out of the equation, Dustin Hopkins recorded four touchbacks along with a field goal make in his Redskins debut.
It's a play that often time means nothing more than the start of a game, but for new kicker Dustin Hopkins and the Redskins, it was the start of what hopefully becomes the elimination of kick return threats on the other side of the ball.
The Washington Redskins on Monday, Sept. 14, announced the signing of kicker Dustin Hopkins. Take a look at his NFL career in photos.
Signed by the Redskins earlier this week after the team cut ties with veteran Kai Forbath after parts of four seasons, Hopkins was looked at to provide help on kickoffs.
That first one soared high above the Rams coverage team and into the back of the end zone.
"Field position is a hidden yardage thing," Hopkins told reporters after the game. "A lot of fans don't notice. They have a lot of dangerous return guys, so just being able to contribute and help out the offense and defense, it feels good."
On this day, though, the fans did notice, as each and every one of his kickoffs – four of which ended in touchbacks – were followed by loud cheers by the FedExField faithful.
Hopkins' lone kickoff returned was recorded by Benny Cunningham for 28 yards. But thanks to a stiff Redskins defense, the Rams couldn't capitalize, going three-and-out following the return.
On the Redskins' following drive, which started on their own 34-yard line, Hopkins ended it with his first career field goal attempt and make – a 46-yard try that went right down the middle without any concern.
"I tried to prepare the same way I did all preseason, Hopkins, who was with the New Orleans Saints during the preseason, said. "Just trying to get use to the timing and that was easy. [Long snapper] Nick [Sundberg] and [punter] Tress [Way] made it easy on me. It was not as hard as I thought it would be timing wise. I'm thankful to get the first one out of the way and be a part of the Washington family."
Hopkins and the Redskins have a short turnaround this week, as they'll play the New York Giants on the road for Thursday Night Football.
The Giants will enter the matchup at 0-2 after a 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the season opener and a 24-20 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
That means Thursday's game, if like their first two games, could be close and possibly come down to field position and field goal success.
While Hopkins will turn his focus to the matchup at some point, he's just happy to have played his first NFL regular season game with the Redskins.
"I feel more a part of the team now after today," he said.