The Redskins and Panthers have played just eight times with the Redskins holding a 6-1 series advantage. Carolina was a team that—brace yourself—Norv Turner owned. Norval had his ups and downs in Washington, mostly the latter. But when he needed a win all he had to do was see when the Panthers were coming up on the schedule.
It wasn't looking so good for Turner and the Redskins in 1999. The Redskins spent the first quarter trying and failing to catch Carolina's Tim Biakabutuka. The RB scored on runs of 60, 1, and 45 yards as Carolina built a 21-0 lead in the first nine minutes of the game.
The Redskins recovered nicely, taking a 28-24 lead before halftime on Brad Johnson's third TD pass of the second quarter, a 62-yard bomb to a wide-open Albert Connell. After another Johnson-to-Connell scoring connection pushed the lead to 35-24, Carolina clawed back into the lead. A pair of field goals and a touchdown pass gave the Panthers a 1-point lead halfway through the fourth quarter.
All seemed lost when Brian Mitchell fumbled after fielding a punt and Carolina recovered. However, the Redskins retained possession when replays revealed the Mitchell's knee had hit the ground prior to the fumble. The Redskins took full advantage of their second life. Soon after Stephen Davis converted a fourth and one near midfield at the two-minute warning, Johnson found Michael Westbrook for 19 yards to the Carolina 12. Brett Conway's game-winning 31-yard FG came with six seconds left and the Redskins walked off with a 38-36 win.
The rally from a 21-point deficit matched the biggest comeback in team history.
Marty Schottenheimer's 2001 Redskins were 0-5 going into this one and the prospects for that first win were bleak midway through the fourth quarter as Carolina led 14-0 and was driving for the clinching score.
It wasn't a particularly risky play that Carolina called, a little toss in the flat to Chris Hetherington. Arrington was nearby and zeroed in on the fullback as the ball came into his hands. The ball bounced out, though and, in a flash, Arrington went from tackler to pass defender, snatching the ball out of the air and taking off for the goal line. He cruised the 68 yards unchallenged and the game, perhaps the season, took on a new complexion.
After a Carolina put, the Redskins had the ball at their own 15. On first down, Tony Banks, who had been booed lustily for most of the game, saw that rookie receiver Rod Gardner had worked his way past the Carolina zone. The quarterback delivered the ball on target and the receiver easily coasted into the end zone to tie it up midway through the fourth quarter.
Another pass from Banks to Gardner set up Conway's game-winning field goal in overtime and the Redskins had their first win 17-14.
Defensive tackle Sean Gilbert held out for the entire 1997 season and the Redskins kept the franchise tag on him for 1998. The compensation for another team to sign Gilbert was set at two first-round draft picks. The Panthers foolishly bit and got Gilbert—a good player, but not an impact performer—in exchange for their first picks in 1999 and 2000. Although the picks were used in various trades, they gave the Redskins the buying power needed to draft Champ Bailey, Jon Jansen, and Chris Samuels.
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