Derrius Guice, Adrian Peterson show promise in Redskins' run game

CHARLOTTE -- Washington Redskins running backs Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice split duties -- and big runs -- in a 29-21 upset of the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

If it wasn’t Guice motoring down the sidelines with stiff arms, it was Peterson running through the middle for tough yards and an eventual touchdown. It’s what Washington hoped would happen all season.

Peterson and Guice combined to rush for 228 yards. Guice, who missed eight games with a knee injury this season, rushed for two touchdowns and Peterson added another -- the first rushing touchdowns since Bill Callahan took over as interim coach in Week 6. The offensive line was terrific, but both ran to their strengths. Guice had runs of 60 and 37 yards -- the latter included a stiff-arm of linebacker Shaq Thompson. Guice, who finished with a career-best 129 yards, also runs with violence, running through defenders. Peterson, using his vision, put the game out of reach with 29 of his 99 yards, the last 12 on a touchdown run.

Promising trend: Let’s start with the fact Washington has not faced good quarterbacks the past two games (Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen), but the defense has still stiffened enough to be more competitive. The Redskins have shown flashes of creativity with their pressure, even copying one blitz the Jets ran against them three weeks ago. They’ve been getting excellent play from the front, especially Daron Payne and Matt Ioannidis, and from safety Landon Collins. He attacks the run game and his blitzes resulted in one sack and one pressure that led to a 1-yard run on second-and-17. The Redskins did this on a day where, because of injuries and an ejection, they played backup outside linebackers most of the second half. Nate Orchard, signed during the week, responded with a sack and four tackles. However, this trend could end next week vs. Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers.

QB breakdown: The numbers were modest and the red zone remains a struggle for Washington. But quarterback Dwayne Haskins continues to make strides and at times made strong throws Sunday. Haskins was far more accurate than last week vs. Detroit, stepping and driving into throws. He did have some passes dropped and he did make some questionable reads at times. But Haskins kept his throws largely out of danger, a key in his development. He has thrown just two touchdown passes, but he’s also playing and throwing with more confidence. He has a way to go, but he’s showing flashes and that’s what Washington needed to see. Haskins kept plays alive with his ability to slide and stay focused downfield. That resulted in gains of 26 and 23, respectively, by Kelvin Harmon and Jeremy Sprinkle.

Pivotal play: Carolina faced a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line with 27 seconds left when excellent coverage led to Allen retreating deep and eventually losing the ball thanks to pressure from backup linebackers Chris Odom and Orchard. That series also highlighted how well they did vs. running back Christian McCaffrey. He ran twice for a loss of 2 yards from inside the 5 thanks to excellent penetration up front. On the final play, the Redskins covered him with corner Fabian Moreau when he was lined up wide to the right. He wasn’t open on the play. McCaffrey was held to 102 all-purpose yards -- 65 below his average entering the game.