Here are my six observations from the Redskins’ loss to the Panthers:
—Sometimes you think you have everything figured out and then something like this happens. One of the league’s best passing offenses had one of its worst days of the year against one of the league’s worst pass defenses. If Kirk Cousins wasn’t misfiring on what appeared to be easy chances, receivers were dropping is passes. They couldn’t get a rushing game going (29 yards on 13 carries) so they were constantly in third and long. But maybe that didn’t matter much since they couldn’t convert on third and short, either. On the day they were two of 12 in third-down conversions.
—The defense gave up a lot of yards, 438 to be exact, and they by no means had a winning effort. But it should be noted that the offense did them no favors, committing turnovers that gave the Panthers the ball at the Washington 24 and the Washington one. Those turnovers accounted for 10 of the 26 points they gave up. Again, it was by not a good night by the defense but offensive miscues added to the problems.
—Part of the reason the result of this game was so surprising was that last year they got wins when they really needed them. The same in their last playoff run in 2012. They had a chance to make a playoff appearance a near certainty with a struggling team coming into town and they couldn’t get it done. Actually, this game and the Cardinals game were similar. Both teams were struggling but had many of the same players that made them the NFC finalists last year. Against the Redskins, they came through.
—One bright spot was DeSean Jackson. He made two catches along the sideline that were so incredible that the officials didn’t believe that he caught them. It took Jay Gruden throwing the red flag twice for them to properly be called receptions. He had 111 receiving yards on 7 receptions, none of them for more than 23 yards. Lately he has had an impact but mostly for catching just one deep pass per game. Tonight we got the other side of Jackson and he helped keep the Redskins in the game.
—I don’t think that Jordan Reed should have played last week or this week. His appearance in Philadelphia last week was brief and ineffective. Tonight the Panthers tried to bang him on the injured shoulder and that led to him losing his temper and getting tossed out of the game. It’s great for him to want to play through pain while the team is fighting for the playoffs but maybe they would have been better off with him resting until he can be effective.
—The Redskins again get the short end of the stick on the schedule. After tonight they have to travel to Chicago to play on Christmas Eve giving them just four days between games. They played on a Sunday night before traveling to Dallas to play on Thanksgiving. It’s true that somebody had to play Monday night before playing on Saturday, which is when most Week 16 games will be played. But did they have to send them on the road on the short week again?