LANDOVER — If kicker Dustin Hopkins doesn’t make a career-long 56-yard field goal in Sunday’s 23-17 over the Carolina Panthers, who knows if the Redskins pull out the win?
In the final three minutes, quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers marched down the field, getting all the way to Washington’s 16-yard line until the Redskins defense forced a turnover on downs.
But if Hopkins had missed, then the Panthers could have kicked a game-tying field goal. And then if the game goes to overtime, it could have swung either way.
Football can be broken into all sorts of hypotheticals, but Hopkins’ field goal was made possible by an unlikely figure: left tackle Trent Williams.
Williams recovered an Alex Smith fumble mid-air and plowed forward for eight yards. Hopkins kick barely made it through the uprights, too, so the Redskins needed all the yardage they could get.
Hopkins was grateful for the assist, talking about it with Williams afterward.
“He was like, ‘How’d you like how I got you in field goal range,’” Hopkins said. “I was like, ‘That was good, man. You’re a tough guy to bring down. I wouldn’t want to try.’ He moves so well for a big guy — he’s so deceiving.”
Williams barreled ahead after catching the ball, running on instinct. The left tackle even impressed running back Adrian Peterson, who told reporters he had wished Williams had attempted a spin move.
“A spin move?” Williams asked. “Yeah, he can continue wanting that.”