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Redskins picked apart by Newton, Panthers in 44-16 loss


Redskins picked apart by Newton, Panthers in 44-16 loss

CHARLOTTE—You can say one good thing about Redskins games in 2015—the home crowd almost always leaves happy.

A week after a rousing home win over the Saints to push their record at FedEx Field to 4-1, the Redskins went on the road and got thumped by the Panthers 44-16. The loss dropped them to 0-5 on the road.

The Redskins committed five turnovers, with one Kirk Cousins interception and four lost fumbles. They also couldn’t run the ball, eking out only 14 yards on 11 carries.

Cousins committed two of the fumbles and didn’t have much of a day, going 22 of 30 for 207 yards with one touchdown. Cam Newton, on the other hand, was spectacular, throwing five touchdown passes and taking over when the Panthers needed a play to be made.

The good news for the Redskins is that they have their next two games at home and a win over the Giants next Sunday will pull them into a tie for first place in the NFC East.

Key Play: With the score tied at 14 in the second quarter, the Panthers were driving to take the lead. On first down at the 26, Newton threw to tight end Greg Olsen, who was lined up wide to the left and being covered by Chris Culliver. Culliver arrived a moment after the ball did and he hit Olsen high. The hit knocked the ball out of Olsen’s hands and into those of Culliver. As flags flew, Culliver cruised 75 yards into the end zone. But the flags were for a questionable illegal hit by Culliver and the interception was nullified. The Panthers finished the drive with a touchdown, the first points of a 30-0 blitz that put the game out of reach.  

Injury Update:

RB Alfred Morris left the game in the first quarter with a rib injury. He did not return.

CB Kyshoen Jarrett left the game in the second quarter to be evalued for a concussion. He returned to the game in the second half.

OT  Williams left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury and did not return.

TE Jordan Reed left the game in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury and he returned.

CB Deshazor Everett left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring strain.

RB Chris Thompson left the game in the fourth quarter with a head injury.

Scoring drives:

First quarter

Stewart 12 pass from Cousins (Gano kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 31 yards, 1:18

Key plays: The Panthers took possession when Kirk Cousins went deep down the middle and Kurt Coleman picked off his pass, returning it 28 yards to the Redskins 31. Newton completed a pass to Devin Funchess over the middle for 13 yards. Two plays later, Newton flipped a short pass to Stewart, who has open space in front of him and got into the end zone.

Panthers 7, Redskins 0


Jackson 56 pass from Cousins  (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 71 yards, 1:30

Key plays: This was a quick one. Cousins got it started with a 17-yard dart to Pierre Garçon. Two plays later Jackson got past safety Colin Jones and Cousins’ pass hit him in stride for the touchdown.

Redskins 7, Panthers 7


Tolbert 3 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 13 pllays, 78 yards, 7:45

Key plays: The Panthers started off in the hole after Ryan Kerrigan sacked Newton for a loss of 12. But Newton threw to Jerricho Cotchery to get a chunk back and then he went to Ted Ginn for seven yards on third and three. Then it was Newton to Devin Funchess for 11, a couple of Jonathan Stewart runs, and Newton to Brenton Bersin for 15 yards got them into the red zone at the 11. Newton rolled out and found Tolbert in front of him and the stocky back powered in for the TD.

Panthers 14, Redskins 7


Roberts 99 kickoff return (Hopkins kick)

Drive: --

Key plays: Roberts fielded the kickoff at the one, went up the middle, made a would-be tackler miss, and turned on the Jets.

Redskins 14, Panthers 14


Second quarter

Ginn 2 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 92 yards, 3:57

Key plays: The Panthers started off deep in their own territory at the eight. Two Jonathan Stewart runs got them 15 yards and then Newton found Greg Olsen wide open for 34 yards. A controversial unnecessary roughness penalty negated a Chris Culliver interception for a touchdown. The penalty moved the ball to the 14. Newton threw incomplete on third down but pass interference in the end zone set up first and goal at the one. Two plays later, Newton beat the rush and threw to Ginn, who made a diving catch in the end zone.  

Panthers 21, Redskins 14


Reed 16 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 6 plays, 24 yards, 2:51

Key plays: This one started off with another turnover, a Matt Jones fumble forced by Luke Kuechly and recovered by Thomas Davis at the Carolina 24. After two Stewart runs, Newton converted with a pass to Ginn down to the seven. On third and goal at the five, Olsen beat Jeron Johnson over the middle in the end zone and Newton fired a strike for the score.

Panthers 28, Redskins 14


FG Gano 42

Drive: 8 plays, 38 yards, 1:54

Key plays: The Panthers stopped a promising drive with a sack and strip of Cousins, recovering the fumble at their own 38. On third and eight at the 40, Newton scrambled for nine yards and the first down. He then went to Ginn for 17 yards, putting them in field goal range.

Panthers 31, Redskins 14


Third quarter

Olsen 5 pass from Newton (Gano kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 11 yards, 0:59

Key plays: On the first play from scrimmage of the second half, cornerback Bene Benwikers blitzed and blindsided Cousins, causing a fumble that he recovered at the 11. An offside penalty moved the ball to the six. Two plays later Newton found Devin Funchess, who made a nice catch for the touchdown.

Panthers 38, Redskins 14


FG Gano 48

Drive: 10 play, 48 yards, 4:43

Key plays: This was like most Panthers drives on the day. Newton got things rolling with a 15-yard pass to Olsen to midfield. Stewart ran for 10 yards and a few plays later Newton scrambled five yards for a first down at the 20. Newton threw incomplete on third and 12 from the 30 and Gano came in for the kick.

Panthers 41, Redskins 14


Fourth quarter

FG Gano 25

Drive: 9 plays, 58 yards, 5:50

Key plays: The Redskins committed their fifth turnover of the day to give the Panthers possession at their own 35. After Jordan Reed made a nice catch and appeared to break open for a good gain, Josh Norman stripped the ball and Kuechly recovered for the Panthers. Stewart rumbled for 15 yards into Redskins territory. A few plays later it was third and 13 at midfield and Newton launched one to Funchess, who made a leaping catch at the 15, getting the Panthers into Gano’s range.

Panthers 44, Redskins 14


Safety Nortman stepped out of end zone

Drive: --

Key plays: The Panters were punting from deep in their own territory and decided to take the safety with 16 seconds left in the game rather than punting the ball.

Panthers 44, Redskins 16

RELATED: Redskins Twitter goes nuts after refs negate Culliver Pick-6

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In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency


In talking 2018 NFL draft, Doug Williams actually explained Redskins' free agency

The Redskins spent modestly in 2018 free agency, and plenty of fans thought the team should have shelled out much bigger bucks. Talking with sources around the Ashburn facility, a prevaling notion became clear that the Washington brass believed they had a strong team in 2017, but they lost their chance to compete because of injuries. 

Well, the secret is out. Doug Williams said as much on Tuesday. 

"Coming out of Richmond last year, I liked this football team. I think we’ve got a tough football team, a smart football team. Some things you can’t control," Williams said Tuesday in a pre-draft media session. "We were very competitive up to a certain point, and when you have the injuries that we have, at a certain point, that competitive edge, you lose it because your best players are not playing."

Williams' words were true, and telling. 

First the true part:

  • In Washington's first five games of 2017, the team went 3-2. The Redskins only lost to eventual the Super Bowl champs Philadelphia and AFC West champs Kansas City. Washington only gave up more than 100 yards rushing once in those first five games, before rookie Jonathan Allen got hurt and the defense began to look much different. After Week 5, the Redskins only held one team under 100 yards rushing and finished the year dead last in rush defense.

Now the telling part:

  • The Redskins signed free agent WR Paul Richardson, and kept free agent LB Zach Brown. Beyond that, the team added inexpensive veterans in OLB Pernell McPhee and CB Orlando Scandrick. No splash moves, and recurring speculation that Washington was not offering top dollar to free agents. Bruce Allen acknowledged as much during NFL League Meetings when he explained that his team identified exactly how much they would offer free agents, their own and otherwise, and wouldn't go beyond that dollar figure. 

That means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is about this weekend's NFL Draft.

That also means the focus of the offseason, at this point, is not about Johnathan Hankins or any other free agent. 

"We’re going to deal with the draft now, and the second wave of free agents, if it’s somebody out there we feel like can help the Redskins,that’s what we’re going to do," Williams said. 

Throughout the offseason, Redskins fans wanted more action from their front office. It didn't happen, and Williams' basically explained why on Tuesday. The brass likes their team, and by default, expects better health and luck in 2018. 

When Williams talks about drafting the best player available, it's not just the typical NFL front office tripe. Right or wrong, the Redskins believe they have a team ready to compete in 2018, and any rookies that come in will only supplement that position.

"At the end of the day, I like this football team we’ve got. Like, last year when I walked out of camp, I thought we had a pretty good football team and I still feel the same way today," Williams said.

"At the end of the day, you get the best football player, and if that best football player is the guy that you want to plug and play, that’s all right. But if that’s the best football player that’s going to help your team overall, I think that’s the route you have to go."


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Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

Doug Williams says Redskins will listen to draft trade offers but a trade up is unlikely

The Redskins aren’t in the quarterback business, so it’s highly unlikely that they will look to trade up in the first round of the draft on Thursday. But their phones will be open for business to move down. 

Speaking at the team’s pre-draft press conference, Doug Williams didn’t rule out trading up from the team’s first-round spot at 13thoverall but he doesn’t think it’s likely. 

“The chances of trading up might be a little slimmer than trading down,” he said. 

Williams said that the phones in the room will be ringing and that they will listen to any offers. But usually the team that wants to move up initiates the call and because the Redskins are set at one particular position they probably won’t pick up the phone. 

“If we were in the quarterback business, which is what this league is about, if we were in the heavy quarterback business we’d talk about moving up,” he said. “At this time, we can sit back and see what comes up if we stay at 13.”

The Redskins are set at quarterback after they traded their third-round pick and cornerback Kendall Fuller for veteran Alex Smith to replace the departed Kirk Cousins. Williams thinks that the Redskins already got good value from the pick. 

“When I think about Alex Smith, I say we got the best third-round pick in the draft,” he said. “I don't care what nobody says. You can't get a better third-round pick.”

Because they think they got a good player, albeit an older one, with that pick, the Redskins are not necessarily looking to make a deal to move back and recoup that pick on draft day. 

Williams emphasized that in order to move back, you have to have a team that wants to trade up. Often that is easier said than done. 

“They don’t just call you to ask you, they have to get a player that they want,” said Williams. “At that particular time, they’re afraid that somebody else might pick him. They might call you to ask you if you want to move back . . . If we move back, that’s because somebody called us to see if we want to move back.”

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.