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Redskins let golden opportunity slip away against Panthers in primetime

Redskins let golden opportunity slip away against Panthers in primetime

LANDOVER, MD— The Redskins had a golden opportunity to get into the thick of the playoff race. But the 5-8 Panthers came into town and took advantage of some Redskins mistakes and rolled out of town with a 26-15 win.

The Redskins miscues were many and varied. A Kirk Cousins interception set up a Panthers field goal.

Then on the first play of the second half a pass rusher forced tight end Vernon Davis into Cousins’ back. The ball popped out and the Panthers recovered at the one. They scored a touchdown two plays later.

Then early in the fourth quarter the Redskins were down by 14 but it looked like they might make a game of it when they drove for a first and goal at the ten. After Rob Kelley was tackled for a two-yard loss, Jordan Reed threw a punch at a defender and was ejected. The 15-yard penalty pushed them back and they eventually settled for a field goal when they needed a touchdown.

Kirk Cousins had probably his worst game of the season. He missed some easy throws and even some that were caught were off target. Cousins ended the day 32 for 47 passing for 316 yards with no touchdowns and the one interception. His passer rating was 78.0.

Cousins could get no help from the running game. Rob Kelley had eight yards on nine carries and as a team they rushed for 29 yards.

The defense dealt with poor field position and held the Panthers to field goal on several occasions. But they gave up 149 yards on the ground, 128 of them to Jonathan Stewart. Cam Newton had a bright day in an otherwise forgettable season, passing for 300 yards and two touchdowns.  

The loss dropped the Redskins to 7-6-1. They can still make the playoffs but they will need help. Washington can start helping itself by beating the Bears on Saturday in Chicago.

RELATED: COUSINS ACCIDENTALLY TAKES OUT CHEERLEADER

Injury Updates:

LB Houston Bates left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return.

CB Quinton Dunbar left the game in the third quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He was diagnosed with a concussion and did not return.

LB Ryan Kerrigan left the game in the third quarter with an elbow injury. His return was announced as questionable.

FIRST QUARTER        

Graham Gano 35-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 58 yards, 2:20

Drive summary: The Panthers got things going in a hurry. On the second play from scrimmage Cam Newton hit tight end Greg Olsen deep for 31 yards to the Redskins 39. On the next play it was Newton to Ted Ginn for 18 yards. But Newton threw incomplete on third and five and Graham Gano came in and booted the field goal.

Panthers 3, Redskins 0 12:40

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Dustin Hopkins 43-yard FG. Drive: 3 plays, 38 yards, 3:52

Drive summary: The Redskins got some offense going on their second possession. On third and four Cousins threw to Garçon for eight yards to the Panthers’ 49. The next play Cousins fired one down the middle to DeSean Jackson for 23 yards. The drive stalled and Hopkins came in a tied it up with the field goal.

Redskins 3, Panthers 3 6:18

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Ted Ginn Jr. 30-yard TD catch. Drive: 8 plays, 84 yards, 4:28

Drive summary: The Panthers got started with two Jonathan Stewart runs that were good for 22 yards. Newton then went to Kelvin Benjamin for 10 yards to midfield then to Corey Brown for 14. On third and four at the Washington 30 Newton found Ted Ginn Jr. wide open in the end zone for the touchdown.

Panthers 10, Redskins 3 1:50

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SECOND QUARTER

Gano 23-yard FG. Drive: 6 plays, 19 yards, 3:07

Drive summary: The Panthers started with a short field after safety Kurt Coleman picked off a Cousins pass and returned to 37 yards to the Redskins 24. Two Jonathan Stewart runs moved them to a first and goal at the eight. On third and goal at the three, Greg Olsen caught Newton’s pass but it was for a loss of two yards so Gano came on.  

Panthers 13, Redskins 3 12:21

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Rob Kelley 5-yard TD run. (Missed PAT) Drive:  7 plays, 89 yards, 4:54

Drive summary: The Redskins started deep in their own territory but got out quickly when Cousins went to Pierre Garçon for 20 yards and then to Rob Kelley for 17 and then 22 yards to the Carolina 25. On third and seven at the 22 Cousins flipped a short pass to Jackson, who dodged two tacklers for 17 yards to the five. On the next play it looked like Kelley was stopped but a combination of second effort and some push by the line got him just into the end zone.

Panthers 13, Redskins 9 4:54

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THIRD QUARTER

Mike Tolbert 1-yard TD catch. Drive: 2 plays, 1 yards, 0:49

Drive summary: On the first play of the second half, Vernon Dean was trying to pass protect but he got pushed back in to Cousins. The ball popped out and the Panthers recovered on the one. On second down Newton flipped a short pass to Mike Tolbert for the touchdown.   

Panthers 20, Redskins 9 13:58

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Gano 23-yard FG. Drive: 8 plays, 65 yards, 3:57

Drive summary: The Panthers got going on a third and one play when Newton just got away a short pass to Ed Dixon, who rolled for 28 yards to the Redskins 34. On the next play a Jonathan Stewart run plus a facemask penalty got Carolina a first down at the Redskins 11. On third down from the 15, a screen pass to Stewart came up short of the first down and Gano again came in to kick the short field goal.

Panthers 23, Redskins 9 5:07

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FOURTH QUARTER

Hopkins 26-yard FG. Drive: 13 plays, 67 yards, 5:59

Drive summary: A Cousins pass to Jackson was called incomplete initially but replay revealed that he had made a nice catch low to the ground near the sideline. Then passes to Garçon for 15 and nine yards moved them to the Carolina 25. On fourth and two at the 18, Cousins went to Crowder over the middle and the receiver somehow made the catch for 8 yards while being hit. But the drive went awry when a personal foul on Jordan Reed pushed the ball back to the 27. On third down a pass to Garçon gained 18 yards to the eight and the Redskins had to take three when they desperately needed seven.

Panthers 23, Redskins 12 14:08

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Hopkins 34-yard FG. Drive: 9 plays, 56 yards, 1:53

Drive summary: The Redskins got some new life after Graham Gano missed a 38-yard field goal. Cousins threw to Jackson for 14 and 22 yards to get into Panthers territory. Then Cousins scrambled for 12 yards and a late hit moved them to a first and goal at the seven. A penalty set up third and goal from the 16 and Cousins pass to Chris Thompson was incomplete. Hopkins kicked the field goal to make it a one-score game.

Panthers 23, Redskins 15 3:44

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Gano 41-yard FG. Drive: 7 plays, 48 yards, 2:37

Drive summary: The Redskins had cut the game to one score but the air came out of the comeback balloon quickly when Jonathan Stewart scampered for 34 yards on the first play after the kickoff. Then Tolbert rumbled for 11 yards for a first down at the 23. That was all they needed for Gano to make it a two-score game with just over a minute left.

Panthers 26, Redskins 15 1:07

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For seven seasons, London Fletcher delivered every single time he played for the Redskins

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For seven seasons, London Fletcher delivered every single time he played for the Redskins

The Redskins have largely been a mystery in the 2000s. From season to season, game to game and sometimes even quarter to quarter, it's never quite clear which Washington will show up.

There was no mystery when it came to the relentless, spectacular London Fletcher, though.

On Monday night, the defender who played seven seasons for the Burgundy and Gold will be inducted into the team's Ring of Fame. He'll be the 50th player to have his name placed there, a distinction he absolutely deserves.

Fletcher signed with the Redskins in 2007, during an era in which many of their free agent acquisitions inked big contracts and produced small results. His production, however, was unmatched.

There was his consistency. He started all 112 regular season contests on defense in D.C., a remarkable number for any position but especially remarkable for an NFL middle linebacker. That run was a part of his overall 256-game streak, a truly preposterous accomplishment. 

Then, of course, there were his contributions. He didn't just play every week; he starred every week.

From 2007-2013, Fletcher was the sport's leader in total tackles and ranked third in solo tackles. His 12 interceptions were the most by a linebacker and his 53 passes defensed were tied for the most by anyone at that spot. He was a four-time Pro Bowler, yet still probably underappreciated for all he did.

And finally, there was his leadership. No. 59 was a captain, a role that sometimes can be overblown but one that certainly wasn't overblown when he held it. His effort and energy and dedication were all palpable, qualities that spread from his post in the center of the unit to everyone around him.

"It is a tremendous honor to be going into the Ring of Fame," Fletcher said recently. "I grew up watching a lot of the old Redskins players whether it was Darrell Green, John Riggins and some of the old guys that wore the Burgundy and Gold, so for me to be joining them in the Ring of Fame is something."

Now, Fletcher will join the collection of legends he once watched, a permanent reminder of what he meant to the organization. So, in a fitting way, he'll be there every Sunday, Monday and Thursday the Redskins take the field — just like how it was back when he played.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Monday night and could be 'weeks' away, per source

Jordan Reed ruled out for Monday night and could be 'weeks' away, per source

The Redskins ruled Jordan Reed out for Monday night's game against Chicago and the star tight end could be "weeks" away, a source told NBC Sports Washington. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported that Reed would miss the Redskins game against the Bears on Monday, where Washington seeks to get their first win of the season. Reed hasn't played since he sustained a concussion in the third preseason game against the Falcons on August 22nd.

A huge part of head coach Jay Gruden's offense when healthy, Reed has dealt with injuries throughout his career. He has never played a complete 16-game season in seven years in Washington, and even more worrisome is the head injury situation. This marks his seventh documented concussion since he played college football at the University of Florida. 

Without Reed, the Redskins only have Jeremy Sprinkle and Vernon Davis at tight end. The team played with just two tight ends last week against the Cowboys, but that is unusual. 

Juggling injuries elsewhere with Quinton Dunbar, Colt McCoy and Cassanova McKinzy, at some point the Redskins might need to consider placing Reed on the injured reserve. 

Each time Gruden has been asked for an update on Reed, the head coach explains that as part of the NFL's concussion protocol there are no updates. The medical exams are handled by independent doctors, not the Redskins medical group. It's also worth noting that Reed is unable to speak with the media while in the NFL concussion protocol. 

There have been signs of optimism in spurts for Reed. 

He practiced each day prior to the opener against Philadelphia but was ruled out late in the week. In Week 2 against Dallas, he started the practice week but then missed Friday's session before being ruled out for the game.

In advance of the Bears game on Monday night, Reed was on the field on Wednesday but did not go again the rest of the week when the media was allowed to watch practice. 

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