In the coming weeks, Redskins.com will be looking back on the second half of the 2019 season to provide an in-depth perspective on each game. Here are the games we've revisited so far:
This week's revisited game is the Week 13 matchup between the Redskins and Panthers.
After the Panthers went up 14-0, the Redskins scored 29 unanswered points with healthy doses of Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice fueling the offense. The duo combined to rush for 228 yards on 23 carries and had three touchdowns.
Although the Panthers came back late and had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, new additions Chris Odom and Nate Orchard came through with a strip-sack and fumble recovery to seal the game, 29-21.
-- Although the Panthers were headed towards an eventual 5-11 finish, they were still contending for a playoff spot when they hosted the Redskins on Dec. 1. They were even a 10.5-point favorite leading up to kickoff, and for the first 11 minutes they looked like the superior team, especially on offense.
Rather than rely on running back Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers and quarterback Kyle Allen attacked the Redskins through the air. They used crossing routes on almost all of their big plays to outrun and confuse the Redskins' secondary. In fact, both of their touchdowns involved such routes during which the receivers found holes in the defense on the left side.
-- McCaffrey finished with 102 yards of total offense, which equates to a productive day for most running backs. But the Panthers, who averaged 113 rushing yards per game last year, struggled to find any production against the Redskins, as they totaled only 66 yards on the ground. It looked as if the Redskins had the Panthers' rushing offense figured out from the start, and it's plays like the one safety Landon Collins made below that show why the unit was so successful.
-- The Redskins eventually had success offensively, but the first drive ended in three plays and -11 yards. The sack on Dwayne Haskins is what really set the team back. Peterson whiffed on a block, which allowed Vernon Butler to get to Haskins untouched for an eight-yard sack. The Redskins then took another loss on third-and-18 and were forced to punt the ball back to the surging Panthers.
-- Once the Redskins got rolling, though, they became almost impossible to stop. Guice's 60-yard run to the Panthers' 11-yard line provided the spark that ignited the Redskins' offense. Guice was patient and trusted his blockers to make a hole for him. He was rewarded at the last possible second when tight end Hale Hentges peeled off a block to get in the way of linebacker Luke Kuechley. It resulted in plenty of open space for Guice to gash the Panthers.
-- The previous week's game against the Detroit Lions seemed to be the turning point for Haskins. To use a common phrase among coaches, the game started to "slow down" in that 19-16 victory.
He built upon that against the Panthers. After the Panthers started the second quarter by punting the ball back to the Redskins, Haskins directed a nine-play drive during which he completed three of six passes for 31 yards. He was accurate and on time with his throws, and even his three incompletions weren't entirely his fault. A screen to Guice was already sniffed out by the defense, so he wisely threw the ball into the dirt. His next incompletion -- originally called an interception before being overturned -- was a little low, but the ball still slipped out of the receiver's hands. A similar situation happened on his final incompletion of the drive.
Still, the drive resulted in a field goal, cutting the Panthers' lead down to just one touchdown and a two-point conversion.
-- After moving up and down the field with efficiency in the first quarter, the Panthers' offense seemed off for most of the game. The chemistry between Allen and McCaffrey in the passing game didn't seem to be there, and part of that had to do with pass rushers like Montez Sweat bearing down on Allen. Watch here as he makes short work of Allen on this first down play. He completely blows past Greg Olsen and lays a heavy hit on Allen for a four-yard loss.
-- Cornerback Fabian Moreau supplied the Redskins with another interception that effectively swung the momentum in Washington's favor and eventually led to Guice's first-career rushing touchdown, As Moore worked his way across the field on a slant route, he bumped into Collins, which knocked him off his path. Moreau was already where the ball was supposed to be thrown, which made for the easy interception and subsequent return down to the Panthers' 1-yard line.
-- The Redskins' opening drive of the second half was critical, as it took 6 minutes, 27 seconds off the clock and ended in points with a 36-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins. What was even more impressive was Haskins' patience to let routes develop and deliver passes into tight windows. One of his best throws came on a second-and-10 when Terry McLaurin made an 11-yard catch to move the chains. The safety made a break on the ball and almost forced an interception, but Haskins threw the ball into a tight window, while McLaurin showed off his hands with a tough catch in traffic.
-- McCaffrey was truly a sensational player last year, but he lacked his usual magic against the Redskins. The Redskins did a good job of limiting his options in the run game, and it started with clogging up lanes at the line of scrimmage. Watch this play for only a one-yard gain on the Panthers' first drive of the second half. While the offensive line does get some initial push, Jon Bostic comes up and takes away one of the only options McCaffrey had on the play. That allowed the rest of the defensive line to converge on him and bring him down. If Redskins fans are looking for examples of how good this defensive line can be, they'll find it in the Panthers game.
--The Redskins only had three points in the third quarter, but the defense also held the Panthers scoreless, which proved to be an even bigger victory. Outside of one drive that lasted eight plays and took up more than three minutes, the Panthers got little movement. After allowing a 16-yard catch on the first play, Quinton Dunbar nearly came down with another interception. The ball slipped from his hands, but it did force a fourth down. The Panthers tried to go for it but suffered a delay of game penalty that forced them to punt the ball away once again.
-- A lot of attention was focused on Guice and Peterson for running all over the Panthers' defense, and that is certainly warranted. However, not enough of that praise went to the offensive linemen for how they created running lanes for both of those running backs. Take this 14-yard run by Peterson in the fourth quarter as an example. There is one small crease among all that traffic caused by Donald Penn, Ereck Flowers and Tony Bergstrom. Peterson saw that and slid through the gap for a positive play.
-- Several defensive linemen had good performances against the Panthers, and Matt Ioannidis was certainly among them. He had three tackles, two of which were for a loss, and two sacks. One of them came on the second play of the fourth quarter. He worked past two offensive linemen, one of whom was Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner, to get to Allen, who had just worked his way out of a collapsing pocket. After seeing Ioannidis make plays like this, it's surprising that he was only a fourth alternate in the 2020 Pro Bowl.
-- With 4:26 left in regulation and the score 29-14, it looked as if the Redskins had the game safely in hand. But the Panthers controlled the ball for almost all of that time and led a comeback that included a 17-yard touchdown run from Allen and a recovered onside kick. The Panthers then marched all the way down to Washington's 1-yard line with the chance to tie the game.
The Redskins knocked McCaffrey back for a one-yard loss on first and second down, while Dunbar batted a pass intended for Moore out of the air. It all came down to the fourth down, and Allen even had a receiver open in the corner of the end zone. But the Redskins' pass rush that had gotten to Allen six times was apparently fresh on his mind, and he scrambled backwards for 15 yards before Odom forced him to cough up the ball, which allowed Orchard to recover it and essentially end the game.