Carolina broke a 5 game skid to improve to 2-6, by beating the Washington Redskins 21-13.
Carolina broke through by playing solid defense and building a lead with some big plays, notably a strike to Steve Smith in the endzone that came a few plays after Cam Newton had a minor, but bloody, finger injury, and later an impressive 84 yard strike to Armanti Edwards out of the shadow of the Panthers’ endzone; this setup a Newton rushing TD. Pitch in a good run up the sideline by Deangelo Williams, and Carolina was able to pull ahead enough to hold off a late charge by the Redskins.
Griffin was 23-39, his 2nd lowest completion percentage of the year. Throwing for 215 yards, his 5.5 yards per attempt were 2nd worst of his season so far. Carolina contained the option, which wasn’t run that often until Washington was down by two scores; it was somewhat successful, but on its most used drive, left Washington going for numerous 4th downs – the last of which, a 4th and goal, failed at the 2.
I had issue with a number of calls – Greg Hardy’s personal foul for what amounts to not hitting the QB with his helmet, but hitting his hand on the QB’s helmet on an otherwise legal hit; Haruki Nakamura’s personal foul for hitting a supposedly defenseless Leonard Hankerson on a post route that didn’t include his helmet, and wasn’t before the ball came, and was merely a hard hit, not that I could tell an illegal one. Thomas Davis’ personal foul was questionable, too – Griffin wasn’t out of bounds – but I could almost understand it, being a QB and the league looking a little too hard to protect those type hits. Carolina did get a little of that back with a solid acting job by Newton, on what did feel was a late, and helmet, hit by London Fletcher, but that required a little extra flopping to get the call. Carolina’s first touchdown, by Williams, was endangered by an inadvertent whistle – I’m not totally sure, with the whistle, how the correct call of the touchdown came to pass, but it luckily did – he never went out of bounds.
The game didn’t create any massive changes in things, it appears – Carolina finished a game for once, and capitalized on a poor defensive showing by the Redskins’ D – but for the most part they played the same type ballgame that they have over the last few weeks.