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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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Redskins rank surprisingly low on oddsmakers list of landing spots for Kyler Murray

Redskins rank surprisingly low on oddsmakers list of landing spots for Kyler Murray

The Redskins need a quarterback in the 2019 NFL Draft, but plenty of other teams do too. At least that's the way oddsmakers at BetOnline.ag believe.

The sports book released future landing spots for Oklahoma's Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, who declared for the NFL Draft on Monday, and the Redskins don't crack the Top 5. 

Per BetOnline, the most likely spot for Murray to land is with the Raiders. Oakland holds the fourth overall selection, and the three teams ahead of them all have quarterbacks in place (Arizona/Rosen, San Francisco/Garoppolo, New York Jets/Darnold).

While Murray isn't likely the top QB on the draft board, that would be Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins, it might make sense to give the Raiders the best chance of landing the Heisman winner since hypothetically Oakland will be the first team stepping to the podium looking for a passer. The Raiders still have Derek Carr under contract, but Oakland boss Jon Gruden hasn't seemed too enamored with his signal caller. 

After Oakland, three more teams pop up before the Redskins. Below is the full list. 

BetOnline: Who Will Draft Kyler Murray 2019 Draft?

Oakland Raiders        3/1       
Jacksonville Jaguars   7/2       
New York Giants        4/1       
Arizona Cardinals      5/1       
Denver Broncos         8/1       
Miami Dolphins         8/1       
Washington Redskins    8/1       
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  12/1

There is a lot to digest from this list, especially given that the Cardinals have higher odds of taking Murray than other QB needy teams. Arizona just spent a first-round pick on Josh Rosen last season. He wasn't particularly impressive as a rookie, but will the Cards give up on him that quick? Keep in mind there has been a coaching change in the desert and new head man Kliff Kingsbury has talked gushingly about Murray's talent. 

The Jags and the Giants make sense. New York holds the 6th overall selection and Jacksonville the 7th, and both need QBs. Even if the Giants want to keep Eli Manning another season, they'd be crazy not to snap up Haskins if he gets to six. And if Haskins goes at six, maybe the Jaguars take Murray at seven. Clearly the oddsmakers see that as a more likely scenario than the Giants picking Murray.

Finally, the Redskins. 

Tied with two other QB needy teams at 8-1, the Redskins odds actually seem appropriate: Hardly a sure thing, but it could happen.

Washington has Alex Smith and Colt McCoy under contract for 2019, but Smith seems unlikely to play next season after suffering a severe leg injury in 2018. McCoy should be healthy, but he's had plenty of injury issues in the past and will be in the last year of his contract. The Redskins need a QB, both for 2019 and for the future. The real question is if the organization wants to commit a first round pick on any passer, let alone somebody that lacks prototypical size like the 5-foot-10 Murray. 

The Broncos and the Dolphins both pick before Washington, and keep in mind the NFL Draft is always full of unexpected trades, especially when first-round QBs are in sight. Miami has no starting QB under contract for 2019, and the Broncos have Case Keenum for another season but hardly seem married to the journeyman. 

Tampa Bay making the list as the long shot adds up. The Bucs just hired Bruce Arians to come in and make things work with former No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston. Drafting another QB in the first round seems unlikely for Arians, but after four years of Winston, not completely out of the question either. 

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Three questions for a potential Derrius Guice-Adrian Peterson-Chris Thompson backfield

Three questions for a potential Derrius Guice-Adrian Peterson-Chris Thompson backfield

Fewer than 24 hours after the 2018 season ended, Chris Thompson was already looking ahead to 2019 and what could be a very dangerous Redskins running back group.

"He's going to be ready for sure," Thompson said about Derrius Guice. "You know how AP came back from his [torn] ACL, how freakish he was after that, so I'm excited for him."

"Speaking of AP," he added, referring to Adrian Peterson, "I'm excited for him, too, and I hope we can get him back as well."

Fans of the Burgundy and Gold are right to be concerned about a lot of the team's future. But a running back trio of Thompson, Guice, and Peterson would be one huge reason to anticipate next year.

With that being said, while those names look tremendous on a depth chart, questions still remain about how it'd all work on the field. Here are three of the biggest ones worth asking.

1) How would Peterson and Guice fit together?

Peterson's a free agent, so first, the team would need to re-sign him. If they do, next up would be figuring out how to make sure he and Guice could co-exist.

The future Hall of Famer is a classic No. 1 option, the type of guy who thrives the more times he gets to carry the ball and who stares at his head coach when he's not receiving enough action. His best games with the 'Skins came when his attempts neared or exceeded 20, and while game flow played a large role in determining the number of rushes he racked up, he simply plays better the more he gets to wear down a defense.

Next year, though, Washington will want to get a lot out of their 2018 second-rounder and see how dynamic he can be as a pro. Peterson's recent stint with the Saints was a brief but unsuccessful experience for him trying to fit in amongst a rotation of RBs, and though he's said he'd have no problem splitting carries with Guice, it remains to be seen how effective that timeshare would be.

2) Could all three stay healthy enough?

A three-headed monster is significantly less useful when one or more of those heads is in street clothes or on IR. Unfortunately, that's something the Redskins would have to worry about with this lineup.

Guice had knee issues late in his career at LSU and went down with a season-ending knee injury in his first preseason game last August. Thompson has missed six games in each of the past two seasons. Weirdly enough, the 33-year-old Peterson has the most recent track record of durability, but how long can that realistically last?

If there's been anything to learn about this franchise the past few seasons, it's that injuries will strike and, often times, they'll strike key players. Perhaps they'd be better served moving forward with Guice and then substituting Thompson and/or Peterson for a younger or more durable threat. 

3) Could Jay Gruden figure out a way to use combinations of them at the same time?

If all three backs return for 2019, putting any one of them on the field would give Jay Gruden an enticing talent to use. Where things could really open up, however, is if he could play two of them in the backfield at the same time.

Gruden put together packages for Peterson/Thompson and Byron Marshall toward the end of last season, but those packages were sent out behind a torn up offensive line and with very limited QBs.

A Guice-Peterson pair or Guice-Thompson pair behind healthy blockers and a non-Mark Sanchez passer, though? Now you're putting some fear into a defense and giving your offense the advantage. But it'd be on Gruden and other offensive coaches to scheme those up and then deploy them enough to find a rhythm. 

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