If this was a dress rehearsal, consider the Carolina Panthers on their way to having a smash hit and the Washington Redskins not ready for primetime. Sure, it was a preseason game but it was obvious from the start that one team showed up and the other was being tackled as they got off the bus.
A dominating performance on both sides of the ball lead to a 34-0 halftime score. That made the second half mop up time for the backups. The final score hardly matter the way the first two quarters unfolded but they kept score for four. Final – Carolina 47, Washington 3.
There were positives everywhere you looked. On offense, Dwayne Jarrett showed signs of promise and Jonathan Stewart erased the memory of his debut in which he carried 4 time for 3 yards. On defense, Julius Pepepers showed up ready to play with two fumble recoveries and a sack while Damione Lewis, Charles Johnson and Tyler Brayton all got in on the sack attack as well.
This game started off with what could have been a major disaster. On the first play from scrimmage, Jake Delhomme lofted a deep pass to Steve Smith down the right sideline. Smith hit the after burners, layed out parallel to the ground and had the ball bounce off his hand. He fell awkwardly on his right side. What could have been a serious should injury turned out to be a shoulder contusion.
The good news continued to come.
At the half Stewart had 93 yards, DeAngelo Williams had 92 yards and both had scored touchdowns.
Stewart scored from 50 yards away by bouncing outside and down the left sideline breaking a tackle along the way. Williams’ was a 60-yarder that started off up the middle and was highlighted by his speed all the way to the endzone.
The strangest play of the night was a play that seemed destined to be D-Will’s first rushing touchdown. Instead, he fumbled the ball. It bounced to the 8 where Steve Smith was in the right place at the right time, scooped it up and took it the rest of the way for the score.
Bad news? If you count the rust that Jake is shaking off, yes. He had an over throw intended for Steve Smith that was picked off by Kareem Moore who, it was revealed when he took his helmet off on the sidelines, had his face painted in a fashion as if to tell everyone he is a major fan of Batman and the Joker.
Jake’s biggest highlight was an audible from the Washington 24. He hit Dante Rosario in stride and the tight end took it to the house.
This was an all-around performance. There were questions to answer going into this game and the team answered nearly all of them. The only one left to answer could be the lack of depth at wide receiver going into the opener in San Diego.
For now, this team will take this successful dress rehearsal as a sign of things to come.
- Dwayne Jarrett showed his inexperience on occasion but had a good night overall standing in for Muhsin Muhammad with 4 catches for 40 yards
- The team seemed to favor the left side in the running game. Why not? Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton man that side
- The team struggled a bit early failing to put the ball in the end zone after moving inside the twenty on two occasions
- Early on, the team favored the pass but came on strong with the running game. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for 19 carries in a little over a half of play
- Decisions will have to be made for the number of running backs carried on the roster. The team is likely to carry four on the final roster meaning Nick Goings, LaBrandon Toefield and DeCori Birmingham will have to battle for spots
- Julius Pepepers was outstanding facing a Pro Bowler in left tackle Chris Samuels. In the first half he had a sack, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries
- Charles Johnson had a sack that should have been a safety.
- Damione Lewis had a sack
- Tyler Brayton had a sack
- The defense got a major boost with the return of Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble
- Terrence Holt played strong safety with Chris Harris still on the shelf
- The defense held Clinton Portis to 32 yards on 8 carries
- Jason Campbell had only 39 yards passing
- Though he was playing with the backups, Richard Marshall continued to look like a force in the secondary
- Rhys Lloyd looks like a sure thing to make the final roster though it would mean taking two spots for kickers. He is a major weapon on kickoffs pinning the Redskins deep on every kickoff
- Ricardo Colclough had a nice return on the opening kickoff
- Jason Carter looks a little timid and unsure of himself at times on punt returns
- Carter was seen on the trainer’s table in the fourth quarter with ice on his right knee
- John Kasay was his usual steady self adding a 52-yard FG in the fourth quarter