After a quiet first half, things really lit up in the second half as the Washington Redskins visited the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately for the Redskins, Carolina was able to make more plays and put more points on the board when it counted to come away with the win.
Coming into this game, the Redskins faced several uncertainties.
Offensively, the Redskins started a quarterback who is little better than a rookie in the NFL.
Thanks to injury, they were down several key players on both sides of the ball. Other members of their team suited up and took the field despite symptoms of the flu.
In the following nine slides, we will take a look at those uncertainties and other observations from the Redskins 33-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
It’s easy to chalk this one up as Cam Newton being one of the most exciting rookies in this year’s NFL. He’s a great athlete who has demonstrated week after week that he can be exceptional when he’s flushed from the pocket.
An exciting quarterback is one thing, but allowing every ball carrier on the opposing team to have a field day is indicative of a problem with the defense.
Even though the offense was not able to produce the points to keep up with the Panthers, the Redskins should be pretty happy with their defensive performance.
The Panthers made it into the red zone five times over the course of the game. While they came away with points in all of those possessions, they were held to just a field goal three times, keeping the Redskins in the game until the end.
The Panthers were not able to really capitalize on the three turnovers they created.
Whether the Redskins could have done more with an opportunity of their own, we’ll never know.
Despite a close call on an impressive goal line stand halfway through the fourth quarter, the Redskins defense was not able to force a single turnover on defense.
Last week, Rex Grossman continued his season-long downward slide. Although he started the season against the Giants with a passer rating over 110, his performance since then has declined in almost every subsequent game.
He hit rock bottom against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Regardless of what John Beck accomplished as the starting quarterback against the Panthers, moving away from Grossman was the right thing to do.
At the time, compared to Rex Grossman’s four interceptions and passer rating of 23.7 after three quarters of play, Beck was a breath of fresh air.
This week, playing Beck doesn’t seem like quite the brilliant idea that it did last week when all was said and done.
It may be hard to keep in mind, but in reality Beck isn’t much more developed than a rookie quarterback as he’s taken a couple of years off from the NFL. He didn’t do terribly in his first start in years, but he wasn’t remarkable either.
Ryan Torain may have been there first, but running back Tim Hightower simply does it better. Hightower is a good all-around teammate—he’s good at pass protection, and he can be a threat as both a receiver and as a running back.
It is unfortunate that he has spent so much of the season suffering from injury, including the second half of the game today.
After carrying the ball 17 times for 88 yards, Hightower left the game with a knee injury.
Cam Newton has shown greatness at the long passing game, so it should come as no surprise that he brought that to the table against the Redskins.
Newton’s task was made easier by the absence of safety Oshiomogho Atogwe.
Without one of the defensive stars on the field, Newton was able to carve holes in the Washington defense.
Those are just some of the many names that missed time against the Panthers today.
That’s not counting LaRon Landry, who took the field and played the full game despite a flu bug that had him unable to keep liquids down on the sideline between plays.
The Redskins were not able to field a team that was at its best against the Panthers, and it certainly showed.
Over the past two years, however, Shanahan has become known for a different type of relationship with quarterbacks.
First, he brought in the aged Donovan McNabb from the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, an experiment that failed. This year, he repeated the same mistake by bringing in Rex Grossman.
His team has fallen from a decent start to a mediocre 3-3 record. He needs to find a way to turn things around quickly.
If Shanahan is not able to improve on last year’s 6-10 record by the end of this season, he may find that patience for his coaching skills in Washington is at its end.