Game #15 Character matters on the precipice of an NFC clinch!

What a disappointing week with controversy swirling around Dwayne Haskins again, as the young embattled quarterback had to admit to breaking team rules for the second time this season after screenshots from a video reportedly revealed that he was partying (maskless) after Sunday’s loss against Seattle. Alledgedly, Haskins was celebrating his team’s loss at a “strip club” and in violation of the team’s Covid policies, as well as a poor personal decision. He once again embarrassed his team off of the field and screwed up again on and off the field with Alex Smith out with a calf injury. Character matters. Alex Smith has it and Haskins does not.

Washington brings their 6-8 record into this game which was still good enough for sole possession of first place in the NFC East, and a win today coupled with a Giants loss would clinch the NFC East division and homefield advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Of course first things first and Ron Rivera needs to beat the team that fired him a year ago in December 2019. Ironic in so many ways.

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, Haskins will start this game and Smith will be inactive. In other player news, running back Antonio Gibson, could play today and wide receiver Terry McLaurin is out with an ankle injury. But the big news is Haskins by default, will get another opportunity. Haskins punishment for breaking team rules was reportedly a $40,000 fine which is a drop in the bucket for a player who will earn at least $14 million guaranteed under this contract, and yes, he was stripped of his team captaincy.

Head coach Ron Rivera made the decisions on Haskins and in a press conference to explain the lack of severe punishment, he said, “don’t make what’s interesting important.” Of course, it is the team who will be punished unless Haskins snaps into superstar mode. They could trade Haskins for a case of Doritos or release him after the season and eat the remaining portion of his guaranteed contract. His value at this point in trade really is next to nothing.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports wrote on Sunday that it is “virtually certain” Haskins will “not be back” in Washington next year. 


Opportunity is knocking once again for Haskins who had dropped off of the active roster at one point this season as he found himself behind both Kyle Allen and Smith on the depth charts. When Allen suffered an ankle injury seven weeks ago, Haskins moved to the backup to Smith. Head coach Ron Rivera could have gone back to Haskins at that point, but chose the veteran Smith as his starting quarterback for five weeks until Smith injured his calf. Smith had led Washington to four straight wins including a big upset of the formerly undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.

For Washington, Haskins, as a starter, is 1-4 this year with his only win in the season opener against Philadelphia. The first round pick from 2019 is 3-9 as a starter in his career. If Haskins wins this game, he will get the glory in a moment of true celebration that should be Alex Smith’s.

With Haskins favorite target out today in McLaurin, the team will have to find other ways to score and none better than looking to Wasington’s defense led by rookie Chase Young and his teammates to wreak havoc on the Carolina offense and give Haskins favorable field position. Haskins must step up today.

I want to publicly apologize for my actions this past Sunday,” Haskins wrote on his Twitter account, which he made private after his apology. “I spoke with Coach Rivera yesterday and took full accountability for putting the team at risk. It was irresponsible and immature of me and I accept responsibility for my action. I also want to apologize for creating a distraction for my team during our playoff push. I will learn and grow from this and do what’s best for the team moving forward.

On the Vegas line, Washington is narrowly favored by 1 point on the William Hill Sportsbook. Keep checking back as this line could change with injury news:

  • Carolina vs. Washington spread: Washington -1
  • Carolina vs. Washington over-under: 42 points
  • Carolina vs. Washington money line: Panthers -120, Washington +100

This game is televised on FOX at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland at 4:05 pm ET.

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