The Redskins defense didn’t really take the field until three minutes into the game, as the Panthers marched the length of the field to the doorstep of the Redskins end zone.
And then they barred the doors and raised the drawbridge.
That was textbook bend-but-don’t-break defense, and the Redskins red zone defense once again kept their opponents out of the end zone on the opening drive. Credit linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Stephen Bowen for the goal line stand.
We’ve all heard of batted balls, but batting a quarterback out of the air has to be even more satisfying.
No points would be the best result, but giving up three compared to seven is a good way to start.
On the ensuing offensive drive, Leonard Hankerson was on the field for the first play, a credit to the progress that he’s made since training camp. The drive stalled at mid-field when pass protection broke down, but the Redskins already look more comfortable on both sides of the ball than they did last week.
Tim Hightower has looked better in the first quarter than he has at any point this season. This is likely a product of a healthy Hightower and fullback Darrel Young, but he’s finding great blocks from this allegedly patchwork offensive line. The Redskins are going to lean on the running-game-by-committee approach, but the executive members are imposing their will today.
Hightower finished the quarter with 67 yards, a career-high for the first quarter (64, against the Rams in 2009).
For those of you not able to watch the game, yes, Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is “that good.” But he is not unbeatable. When the play breaks down, he’s able to move, and Redskins defenders will need to take better angles to him, in order to stop him.
The way to beat him is to force him to make mistakes. Newton comes into this week leading the league in interceptions, so force him to be a quarterback and the Redskins can be more opportunistic.
Redskins are rolling, but trail in a defensive battle, 0-3.