GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Washington Redskins fell short against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, but there were some positives from the 20-15 road defeat. Here are three Redskins who stood out during the Week 14 showdown:
Game Ball No. 1: Wide Receiver Steven Sims Jr.
The Redskins mostly used Sims as a kick returner during the first half of the season, and Sims rewarded them by becoming one of the more dangerous returners in the league.
But over the past few weeks, the undrafted rookie out of Kansas doubled as a slot receiver. Against Detroit on Nov. 24, he ran 16 routes compared to 13 for starter Trey Quinn. A week later in Carolina, Sims played 58% of the offensive snaps.
A significant reason for Sims' increased role is the absence of Quinn, who left the Panthers game with a concussion. Sims assumed the starting spot when Quinn went down and was back out with the starting offense Sunday versus Green Bay
In his first-career NFL start at wideout, Sims proved he's worth more than just his special teams contributions.
Check out photos of the Washington Redskins warming up before their regular season Week 14 game against the Green Bay Packers presented by Bose.
The shifty speedster hauled in four passes for 40 yards on Sunday, and for much of the game he was quarterback Dwayne Haskins' preferred option. Sims was targeted seven times, which matched the total of Terry McLaurin (four receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown) and was one less than Chris Thompson (seven receptions for 43 yards).
Sims' numbers look even better considering a lot of McLaurin's and Thompson's production came on the final drive when the Redskins trailed by two possessions in the final minutes.
"[Sims] does a great job of getting separation, especially versus man coverage, and we have great timing," Haskins said. "So just having him, having Kelvin [Harmon], having Terry [McLaurin] out there, I trust them wherever they're at in their route and that they'll get there when I need them to."
Game Ball No. 2: Outside Linebacker Ryan Anderson
Anderson is a proven run stopper, but he hasn't contributed much as a pass rusher since the Redskins took him in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In fact, he has just three sacks in 39 career games.
Anderson recorded the fourth sack of his career in the second quarter on Sunday, and he did far more than just corral Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As Anderson approached Rodgers, he swung at the ball to force a fumble and then recovered his own strip sack at the Washington 40-yard line.
What once looked like another Green Bay score was now a momentum builder for the Redskins, who scored their first touchdown on the previous drive, and one of the best plays of Anderson's young career.
"For [Anderson], it's just about opportunity," middle linebacker Jon Bostic said. "We know what [Anderson] does in the run game, and a lot of that stuff kind of gets looked over. Ryan is a big part of our defense, setting edges, setting vertical edges. Even last week, you saw him setting the tone. Those plays speak volumes, but on the outside, people don't really see those types of things."
Game Ball No. 3: Running Back Adrian Peterson
Playing most of his NFL career with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson knows Green Bay better than most. He had played them 18 times and scored 16 total touchdowns entering the Week 14 matchup. His 1,899 rushing yards against the Packers are the most he has against any team in the league.
The 13th-year veteran padded his stats Sunday afternoon. He carried the ball 20 times -- his biggest workload since Week 7 against San Francisco -- for 76 yards and scored a touchdown in the second quarter. He's now scored eight touchdowns at Lambeau Field, which is the most by an opposing player in NFL history.
"I guess it is just the competition, the type of defense we are going up against and knowing that Aaron Rodgers is on the other side," Peterson said when asked about scoring in Green Bay. "The best solution to stopping him is to keep him on the sideline."
With Derrius Guice leaving the game with a knee injury, Peterson served as the focal point of the Redskins offense for a majority of the afternoon. And if Guice misses time, Peterson has showed he's more than capable of handling the workload. After all, he's one of just six players in NFL history to run for 14,000-career yards.
"It's history -- six guys, I'm one of them," Peterson said. "That kind of speaks for itself, so it's an amazing feeling, an amazing accomplishment. Wish I could enjoy it more if it was a W tagged onto it, but it's a spectacular accomplishment."