Redskins wide receiver Andre Roberts provided a spark Sunday vs. the Panthers with his first-career kickoff return for a touchdown, the Redskins' second kickoff return score this season.
The Redskins found little to be pleased with Sunday afternoon against the Panthers, but one form of encouragement came in the kick return game.
Specifically, the 99-yard kick return by Andre Roberts, which tied the game near the end of the first quarter and would, eventually, be the final Redskins touchdown in a 44-16 loss at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
"It was a middle return for us and guys did a great job blocking," Roberts said. "There was a big hole there, and I just cut off some blocks… I think it was DY [Darrel Young] who came up with a big block in the second level that helped me to bring it to the house."
Roberts was a rare bright spot, taking four kicks out of the end zone and totaling 177 total return yards. The kick-off return for a touchdown was the first one of the six-year veteran's career.
The score made this Redskins team just the fourth in franchise history to have two kickoff returns in the same season – the other came from Rashad Ross back in September against the Giants.
Roberts exhibited some exceptional bursts of speed on all four of his returns, finding a few holes early in the return formation and springing full speed. Those opportunities have been hard to come by since the league pushed the kickoff yard-line forward.
"I've always tried to [start full-speed]. To have an opportunity to catch and go so that I can get as many yards as I can early," Roberts said. Now, what helps them most on kickoff returns is that now they're kicking it closer up, so you don't get as many opportunities. But if you can get out the end zone fast or once you catch it, it helps a lot."
On his other three returns he averaged 26 yards, giving the offense better field position than the 20-yard line each time.
The score was also special considering this game, as it was for several Redskins players, felt like a bit of a homecoming for Roberts, who grew up in South Carolina and graduated from The Citadel.
"I have a lot of family here and being able to do that kind of at home is pretty special, too," Roberts said.
Still, the aftertaste remained bitter for Roberts and the Redskins thanks to too many turnovers and mistakes the rest of the way.
"You try to make a spark for your team," Roberts said. "Unfortunately it didn't help us in the win column, but I try to do that any time I get my hands on the ball."