5 Reasons Why the Carolina Panthers Beat the Washington Redskins
Carolina Panthers end skid at the Washington Redskins' expense
This isn’t the way the Washington Redskins wanted to head into their bye week. They had the 1-6 Carolina Panthers coming into Fed Ex Field in suburban Washington, D.C, for a Week Nine contest. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton faced criticism throughout the 2012 NFL season for his apparent nonchalance over his team’s misfortunes.
However, Carolina found the cure for their collective woes: the Washington Redskins’ defense. It’s already been proven that they can’t stop anyone through the air. However, Washington came into the game ranked 10th in pass defense. The Redskins’ home crowd hoped their defense could at least stop the run. But the collective rushing ability of Newton, as well as running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, made Washington’s defense look worse than they already were.
Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III was able to move the offense down the field with precision passing. Wide receiver Joshua Morgan became Griffin III’s go to receiver, converting several first downs. Running back Alfred Morris continued to anchor the running game, earning tough yards to keep possession for Washington.
Unfortunately for the Redskins, the scoring efficiency they usually exhibit abandoned them on this day. Twice Washington drove deep into Carolina territory, and twice they came away without scoring a touchdown. With a defense as porous as the Redskins, that’s a losing proposition. On one fourth down and goal possession, Griffin III was stopped short of the goal line. On the ensuing possession, Newton calmly led his offense 98 yards for a touchdown that put the game out of reach for Washington.
In every aspect of the game, the Washington Redskins regressed into a team that could have trouble against the Alabama Crimson Tide college football team. With that said, here are five reasons why the Carolina Panthers beat the Washington Redskins:
Untimely penalties once again hurt the Washington Redskins.
As prolific as the Washington Redskins’ offense is at times, the team is simply not good enough to overcome penalties. Several holding calls put the team in long yardage situations. While the offense has gotten better at converting long yardage situations because of Griffin III, the offense cannot continue to shoot themselves in the foot because of penalties.
Washington head coach Mike Shanahan is a strict disciplinarian who prides himself on having his team prepared to play. However, his Redskins are the most penalized team in the NFL, and they committed thirteen penalties for 97 yards. Cornerback Josh Wilson had two pass interference penalties that stifled whatever momentum the Redskins’ defense thought it had at those particular moments. And it ultimately led to the Redskins’ demise on this day.
The Redskins’ offensive inefficiency.
Earlier in the season, Washington’s offense showed efficiency in the red zone. Handing off to running back Alfred Morris near the goal line increased the Redskins’ chances of scoring a touchdown. However, twice Washington’s offense stalled in Carolina territory. The first time, the Redskins had to settle for a field goal. The second time, Washington head coach Mike Shanahan decided to go for the touchdown on fourth and goal from the Panthers’ two yard line.
However, Griffin III was stopped short of the goal line on a quarterback sweep, turning the ball over on downs. It was a critical stop, considering that Washington trailed 7-3 at the time. Shanahan eschewed a short field goal attempt for a chance at the go ahead touchdown, and it backfired.
The Washington Redskins’ defense fails to hold once again.
After Washington’s fourth down disappointment, surely the Redskins’ defense would come to the rescue. After all, the Panthers were starting at their own two yard line on offense. Maybe this was the chance for the much maligned defense to rise to the occasion.
But the only person who rose to the occasion was Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton, who calmly guided his offense down the field, using his arm as well as his feet. A roughing the passer penalty against Redskins’ linebacker London Fletcher, as well as a pass interference penalty against cornerback Josh Wilson helped as well.
The drive culminated in a Newton touchdown pass to wide receiver Steve Smith, his first touchdown reception of the season. This drive shifted the momentum in Carolina’s favor, and it was all downhill from there for Washington.
The Carolina Panthers’ defense.
The Panthers’ defense exhibited a bend, but don’t break quality that served them well against the Redskins’ offense. Carolina’s defensive front harassed Griffin III all game, sacking him four times. Panthers’ defensive end Charles Johnson paced Carolina’s pass rush with two sacks. Johnson was also credited with stopping Griffin III from scoring the go ahead touchdown early in the game.
Carolina’s defense kept Washington out of the end zone until late in the game, when the Redskins were in a hurry up offense. Despite being on the field for most of the game, the Panthers’ defense made enough plays to stifle the Redskins’ offense.
The Carolina Panthers were the better team.
Sometimes, it’s just that simple. Yes, Carolina’s 1-6 record doesn’t tell the story of a talented football team riddled with bad luck. Five of the Panthers’ six losses were by a combined 18 points, so at least the team has been competitive. Panthers’ head coach Ron Rivera should get credit for keeping his team together during Carolina’s slow start.
While turnovers have plagued the Panthers’ during their five game losing streak, they were turnover free against Washington. They were also able to contain Redskins’ running back Alfred Morris, who only had one carry in the second half after gaining 72 yards in the first half. It all adds up to a Carolina Panthers’ victory over the Washington Redskins.