Because of a loss today at home, the "Redskins Rule," which has accurately predicted the outcome of all but one presidential election since 1940, points to challenger Mitt Romney becoming the 45th president of the United States. A Redskins' home win the weekend before an election had almost always predicted a victory for the incumbent—at least that's been the case since 1940.
As for the game itself, there are 10 key moments in the Panthers victory:
1. In the Redskins' first drive of the game, Panthers DE Greg Hardy was flagged for roughing the passer on 3rd-and-10 from the Redskins 3-yard line resulting in a first down.
2. In the same drive, QB Robert Griffin III later converted a 3rd-and-6 with a 16-yard completion to WR Josh Morgan which allowed the Redskins drive to continue. This resulted in a field goal. Redskins 3-0.
3. The Panthers came right back with a solid drive resulting in a touchdown after RB DeAngelo Williams scampered for a 30-yard TD. Panthers 7-3.
4. On their second possession, the Redskins converted two fourth downs only to come up short on 4th-and-goal. Whatever momentum had built during that drive quickly diminished. Panthers 7-3.
5. As halftime approached, two crucial Redskins penalties allowed the Panthers to extend their lead:
Redskins LB London Fletcher was called for a roughing the passer and CB Josh Wilson was flagged for pass interference. QB Cam Newton showed presence in the pocket and found WR Steve Smith for a 19-yard touchdown. Panthers 14-3.
6. In the second half the Redskins' Wildcat offense showed some encouraging signs. RG3 completed a 25-yard strike to WR Leonard Hankerson and a 22-yard completion to TE Niles Paul. Nothing materialized on the drive and Redskins kicker Kai Forbath nailed his second field goal, cutting the Panthers lead to 14-6.
7. In what was probably the dagger—QB Cam Newton spotted a blown coverage by the Redskins secondary and found WR Amanti Edwards alone down the left side for an 82-yard completion, which set up a Newton one-yard TD run, giving the Panthers a 21-6 lead.
8. Down two scores and desperate for some offensive results, the Redskins weaknesses began to show. The Panthers' defensive line clearly outplayed the Redskins offensive line. RG3 was sacked four times and the pocket collapsed around him much of the day.
9. When time was of the essence and Washington needed a quick score and onside kick recovery, RG3 scored on a two-yard run after a sustained drive and time left on the clock—only to have the score negated by a holding penalty. A few plays later, Redskins WR Hankerson found himself on the receiving end of a three-yard TD pass. An illegal formation penalty on the 'Skins offense negated that TD as well.
10. At long last and with just over a minute left in the game, Redskins RB Evan Royster scored on a three-yard run. A little too late.
Much of our nation will vote in the presidential election this Tuesday. Regardless of the result of today's game and the superstition that underlies the "Redskins Rule," you can not make a difference if you do not exercise your right to vote.
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