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Game Balls: Five Standout Players In The Redskins' Win Over Carolina


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Washington Redskins are winners of two in a row following a 29-21 comeback victory over the Carolina Panthers. Here are five players who stood out during the Week 13 triumph:

Game Ball No. 1: Running Back Derrius Guice

Derrius Guice has thought about scoring his first-career rushing touchdown ever since the Redskins drafted him in the 2018 NFL Draft. On Sunday, nearly 19 months after that selection, Guice found the end zone twice.

"It feels good," Guice said after the game. "I had to overcome a lot in the last year and a half. It felt great to just get out there and get going with [Adrian Peterson], the offense and the whole team. I just felt a lot of energy today."

The first score came in the second quarter following an interception from corner Fabian Moreau. The turnover set the Redskins up at the Panthers' 1-yard line, and Guice barreled across the goal line to make the score 14-12.

The second touchdown was also a one-yarder, though Guice set this one up himself. He broke off a 38-yard run the play before, stiff-arming and cutting his way towards the left pylon. Referees initially ruled the play as a touchdown before changing the call after a review, but the reversal only delayed the inevitable. Moments later, Guice crossed the plane to put the Redskins ahead, 22-14.

Guice's career day included several milestones, such as his first-career multi-touchdown game, his first 100-yard game -- he rushed for 128 yards on 10 carries -- and his longest run as a pro. With the Redskins trailing 14-0 on their third offensive drive, the second-year bruiser rumbled 60 yards to the Carolina 11-yard line. A few plays later, the visitors were on the board with a field goal.

"The young guy, [Derrius] Guice, he came in and gave us a spark we needed," Peterson said. "He had an incredible run and was picking up some big chunks."

Game Ball No. 2: Running Back Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson has served as a valuable mentor to Guice as he worked through several injuries and sought to validate being a high draft pick. But Peterson is not just a trusted veteran and a proven leader; he's still a formidable rusher, and that was on full display Sunday afternoon.

While Guice garnered most of the attention with two touchdowns and several flashy runs, Peterson quietly compiled 99 yards on 13 carries and a score of his own. With the Redskins up, 22-14, late in the fourth quarter, Peterson found some space up the middle and was off, ending his 12-yard scamper by celebrating with his teammates in the end zone. A two-possession advantage proved too large for the Panthers to overcome.

Peterson also moved up the record books in the 29-21 victory. He's now 13th all-time in scrimmage yards (16,185) and 15th in career touchdowns (113).

"I was telling him that earlier that they finally got to see the two-headed monster," Guice said of Peterson. "These are the days I have been waiting on since they called him when I tore my ACL."

Game Ball No. 3: Cornerback Fabian Moreau

In his first 40 career games, Fabian Moreau corralled one interception. Yet in the past two wins, he's come down with three.

Moreau's third interception came Sunday, when he broke on an errant throw from quarterback Kyle Allen and returned the ball 10 yards to set up Guice's one-yard touchdown run. Moreau looked to have another interception in the fourth quarter that was eventually overturned.

Since replacing Josh Norman on the outside last week against Detroit, Moreau has been the defensive playmaker the Redskins were hoping for when they drafted him in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. With two interceptions versus the Lions and one Sunday, Moreau is now second on the team in interceptions behind fellow corner Quinton Dunbar, who has picked off four passes.

"He's playing solid," safety Landon Collins said of Moreau. "He's got a lot of confidence out there, and he trusts himself."

Game Ball No. 4: Matt Ioannidis

Ioannidis is playing the best football of his four-year NFL career, and he delivered another standout performance in Carolina.

Ioannidis got to Allen twice on Sunday, which gives him a team-high 7.5 sacks and matches his career-high sack total that he set last season. On his second sack early in the fourth quarter, Ioannidis used his power to blow back his opponent before shedding the blocker as Allen stepped up in the pocket. The tackle for loss created a third-and-forever and eventually led to another Carolina punt.

"You know a lot of times it's not the guy that gets the sack, but it's the complimentary player that creates the push or the disruption that creates the force on the queue that sets up the sack," interim head coach Bill Callahan said about the Redskins' pass-rush, which totaled seven sacks. "We had a lot of complimentary play across the board. I just thought we had good, consistent pressure on the quarterback that allowed us to make those types of plays."

Game Ball No. 5: Chris Odom/Nate Orchard

Chris Odom and Nate Orchard have several things in common; they're both outside linebackers who have bounced around the NFL. Before Sunday, Odom had not played in a regular season game since 2017 with the Green Bay Packers.

They're also similar in that neither of them were on the Redskins' 53-man roster this time last week. The team signed Orchard on Wednesday and then promoted Odom from the practice squad Saturday. Yet entering Sunday's game, both knew they'd likely have expanded roles in the absence of fellow pass-rusher Ryan Kerrigan (concussion).

However, it's unlikely either player envisioned what would unfold against the Panthers. First Montez Sweat left the game with a quad injury and did not return. Then Ryan Anderson was ejected because of a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Greg Olsen. All of the sudden, late in the third quarter of a one-point game, Odom and Orchard were the starting outside linebackers.

"They did their job," Collins said. "They came in and did an excellent job studying, putting the work in and making the best of the opportunity."

But perhaps the craziest part of all of this was how well the duo played. They combined for eight tackles (six solo), three tackles for loss and three sacks. Plus, both players were at the center of the madness with the game on the line.

On a fourth-and-goal from the Washington 3-yard line, Allen dropped back and scanned the secondary for anyone who was remotely open. He kept looking and drifting while Odom and Orchard worked up field, but eventually he ran out of time. Odom got to Allen first and knocked the ball loose, and there to recover the fumble was Orchard with 14 seconds to play.

Thanks to two journeyman reserves, the Redskins sealed their second straight win.

"It's been a journey," Odom said. "I just kept on grinding, just kept on making every opportunity count. I finally got my chance, and I just wanted to take advantage of it and play the best I could every single time I was on the field."

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