LANDOVER — Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson saw his first game action in Friday’s 29-17 loss to the Denver Broncos at FedEx Field.
The former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year was anxious to play in front of rabid Redskins fans for the very first time.
“Oh, I definitely felt the love,” said Peterson. “I heard a little chant of ‘AP’ on that fourth-and-one, and I was like, ‘I got to get this first down.’ But yeah, it felt good.”
The Redskins’ new acquisition looked sharp by most accounts and solidified his standing in the team’s rotation.
“I thought he did a really nice job – tall order,” said Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. “The guy just got here, got up to speed fast and all of a sudden he’s getting a bunch of touches in a football game, so I thought he did a great job. Like I said, getting up to speed mentally, knowing what we’re doing – and then I thought going out there and just playing – still looks pretty strong and explosive. I thought it was good to get in a rhythm to see what he can still do.”
Peterson, who spent last season on the Saints and Cardinals roster, finished the night with 56 yards rushing on 11 carries.
“I saw a big guy running pretty hard really,” said Redskins head coach Jay Gruden. “He had a five-yard average I believe, had a couple good bounces, and, you know, the thing I like about some of his runs is they look like they’re like gains of ones [yard] and he’d fall forward for a gain of three. The first run of the day I thought it was a three-yard gain and he ends up second and three. Of course we took a sack that we should never take on the next play, but I was impressed with Adrian and the way he ran.”
Peterson played for the Cardinals last year after opening the regular season on the Saints roster. He finished the season with 529 yards rushing on 156 attempts and scored two touchdowns.
Peterson, a 12-year NFL veteran, has amassed 12,276 rushing yards on 2,574 attempts and scored 99 touchdowns. He has also been selected to seven Pro Bowls and was named the NFL MVP in 2012.
During his collegiate career at Oklahoma, Peterson rushed for 4,041 yards on 748 attempts and scored 41 touchdowns. He was named an AP first team All-American in 2004 and earned All Big 12 first team honors for three straight seasons (2004-2006).
“I’ve known Adrian going all the way back to the Heisman ceremony we [attended] together back in college,” said Smith. “I was excited to see what he still had.”
Redskins quarterback Kevin Hogan, a local product who played high school football at Gonzaga, looked sharp as well.
Hogan, a Northern Virginia native, saw limited playing time against the Broncos but made the most of his opportunities.
Hogan, who played collegiately at Stanford, completed 7-of-9 passes for 88 yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns.
Hogan’s first touchdown pass came early in the fourth quarter and culminated a six-play, 78-yard drive. Hogan’s 18-yard touchdown strike to Simmie Cobbs, Jr. cut the deficit to 26-10.
He later connected with Darvin Kidsy from four yards out to cut the deficit to 29-17 with under a minute remaining in the contest.
“Hogan jumped in there and stepped up in there and made some key throws, led two touchdown drives, a two-minute drive, so I was impressed with Hogan,” said Gruden. “He moved around and stood there in the face of some good pass rush.”