- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 11, 2009

KEY MATCHUP

PANTHERS RB DeANGELO WILLIAMS vs. REDSKINS S REED DOUGHTY

Williams starts and is complemented by Jonathan Stewart in a formidable 1-2 punch. Williams has 180 yards on 41 carries.

Last year, when the Panthers went 12-4 and won the NFC South, Williams rushed for a franchise record 1,515 yards and set a team mark with four consecutive 100-yard games. But what makes Williams and Stewart so tough is their running style — think equal parts bulldozer and sprinter.

“They both run hard, and they have speed and elusiveness,” Doughty said. “They run very violently and look like they’re going to hit you — and then sidestep you and get to the edge.”

Doughty, who made nine tackles in his return to the starting lineup last week, will be big in the running game, especially if the Redskins play more packages with five and six defensive backs. That takes a linebacker off the field and moves Doughty closer to the line of scrimmage.

The Redskins have allowed at least 100 rushing yards in each game.

“Taking care of the run first [is the key],” Doughty said. “We have to focus on taking that away.”

THREE KEYS

1. All Portis, all the time

The Panthers are allowing a woeful 182.7 rushing yards a game, and the Redskins hope their running game got rolling last week with 98 yards from Clinton Portis. Especially if it’s raining, the Redskins must run it early and often to determine whether Carolina is really that bad against the run.

2. Monitor Peppers

Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers is one of the game’s top pass-rushers but has only one sack this year. He is undoubtedly eyeing Redskins right tackle Stephon Heyer to break out of his slump. The Redskins have to make sure they give Heyer help if Peppers puts early pressure on Jason Campbell.

3. First-quarter pulse

In the first quarter this year, the Redskins have only seven points and 14 first downs in eight drives. If the Redskins fall behind, they’ll have to ignore the run. If they score early — or first — coach Jim Zorn won’t have to toss the game plan in a comeback attempt.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins hope they can carry momentum from a 16-point third quarter last week. At the source of the offensive struggles (27th in points a game) is an inability to get big plays from somebody other than Santana Moss, who was the only wide receiver to catch a pass against Tampa Bay. The Panthers’ defense revolves around defensive end Julius Peppers (14.5 sacks last year). Staying on schedule for second and third down is key — obvious passing situations will play into the Carolina pass rush. The Panthers have the advantage because Peppers is bound to break out.

Edge: Panthers

WHEN THE PANTHERS HAVE THE BALL

The Redskins tried some new things defensively last week against the Buccaneers and allowed only 229 yards, posted three sacks and had two takeaways. Brian Orakpo is playing more at defensive end and could be a factor against the rather immobile Jake Delhomme. The Redskins should be able to force some turnovers with pressure up the middle by blitzing safeties and linebackers. Delhomme has thrown seven interceptions this year. A matchup to watch is Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall (two interceptions) against Carolina receiver Steve Smith (15 catches).

Edge: Redskins

SPECIAL TEAMS

The Redskins’ return game could provide the offense with a field-position boost. Carolina’s coverage teams have struggled — the Panthers are 30th in kickoff yards allowed (28.3-yard average) and last in punt-return yards allowed (a whopping 27.3-yard average). The Redskins rank first and second in kickoff and punt coverage. Even if practice squad punter Glenn Pakulak is thrust into action, the Redskins should keep Carolina in check.

Edge: Redskins

REDSKINS STARTERS

Offense

WR 89 Santana Moss

WR 12 Malcolm Kelly

LT 60 Chris Samuels

LG 66 Derrick Dockery

C 61 Casey Rabach

RG 75 Chad Rinehart

RT 74 Stephon Heyer

TE 47 Chris Cooley

RB 26 Clinton Portis

FB 45 Mike Sellers

QB 17 Jason Campbell

Defense

DE 99 Andre Carter

DT 96 Cornelius Griffin

DT 92 Albert Haynesworth

DE 93 Phillip Daniels

OLB 52 Rocky McIntosh

MLB 59 London Fletcher

OLB 98 Brian Orakpo

CB 23 DeAngelo Hall

CB 22 Carlos Rogers

FS 30 LaRon Landry

SS 37 Reed Doughty

Specialists

K 6 Shaun Suisham

P 4 Glenn Pakulak

PR 82 Antwaan Randle El

KR 31 Rock Cartwright

KR 46 Ladell Betts

Injuries

Out: P Hunter Smith (groin)

Doubtful: DT Anthony Montgomery (knee)

Questionable: DT Cornelius Griffin (elbow)

Probable: LT Chris Samuels (knee)

PANTHERS STARTERS

Offense

WR 89 Steve Smith

WR 87 Muhsin Muhammad

LT 69 Jordan Gross

LG 70 Travelle Wharton

C 67 Ryan Kalil

RG 68 Keydrick Vincent

RT 79 Jeff Otah

TE 47 Jeff King

RB 34 DeAngelo Williams

FB 45 Brad Hoover

QB 17 Jake Delhomme

Defense

DE 96 Tyler Brayton

DT 98 Nick Hayden

DT 92 Damione Lewis

DE 90 Julius Peppers

OLB 53 Na’il Diggs

MLB 52 Jon Beason

OLB 58 Thomas Davis

CB 20 Chris Gamble

CB 31 Richard Marshall

FS 30 Charles Godfrey

SS 43 Chris Harris

Specialists

K 4 John Kasay

P 7 Jason Baker

PR 81 Kenny Moore

KR 22 Tyrell Sutton

Injuries

Out: RB Mike Goodson (concussion)

Questionable: RB Jonathan Stewart (Achilles)

Probable: DE Everette Brown (ankle), LB Na’il Diggs (rib), FB Tony Flammetta (ankle), S Chris Harris (knee)

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