Did you see that run by Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme? You know the one late in the fourth quarter on third and long that sealed the Panthers’ first win, 20-17.
It was a naked bootleg that had every Washington defender fooled except one. Delhomme had to either go around or go through the defender to get the first down.
Now if you were thinking like me, you started to wonder if the Carolina defense had one more stop left in them, because there was no way that Delhomme would get those eight yards. It’s no secret that he isn’t known to have “sweet feet,” nor the muscle or girth to take on a defender one-on-one like Pittsburgh signal caller big Ben Roethlisberger.
But the “Ragin Cajun” dug down deep and pulled a rabbit out of the hat – dragging a defender at least a couple of yards, which was enough to get the proverbial gorilla off the backs of the Panthers. The win broke an eight game losing streak (including preseason games) that started with last season’s playoff loss in January.
The key to the game, though, was a very active Panther defense, which kept Washington quarterback Jason Campbell on his heels. Carolina held the Redskins to a season-low 198 total yards of offense and recorded five sacks.
Enough cannot be said about how the enigmatic Julius Peppers showed up in a big way Sunday afternoon with two sacks and four tackles. Jon Beason was back in Pro Bowl form with 10 tackles and a sack, while fellow linebacker, Thomas Davis, continued his steady play with six tackles (including one for a safety) and a sack.
If it weren’t for two turnovers – a fumble by running back DeAngelo Williams and an interception by Delhomme – that gave the Redskins good field position and led to a couple of easy touchdowns, the numbers for the defense would be even better.
One thing is clear, whatever the Panthers did in practice last week should be repeated again, along with bottling up some of that “never say die” spirit that was on display.
They’ll need every ounce of it when they head down to Florida to take on the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers.