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Post-game: Cam Newton dances on the Redskins

For those around the football world who argued that Cam Newton wasn’t having an MVP caliber season, just ask a player from the Washington Redskins defense and they’ll tell you that you’re wrong. Joe Barry’s unit got an up close and personal look as Newton went on to throw five touchdown passes to five different players.

To add insult to injury for the Redskins, Kirk Cousins and the Redskins offense had more than their fair share of struggles against a stout Carolina Panthers defense.

In order to break it down completely, let’s turn to this weeks edition of ‘What worked, what didn’t, what sucked

What worked

  • DeSean Jackson looked one hundred percent healthy for the first time this season, and it paid immediate dividends with a 56 yard touchdown catch from a well-thrown Kirk Cousins ball in the first quarter. Jackson had the favorable mismatch against the safety, and the Redskins took advantage of it.
  • Andre Roberts returned a first quarter kickoff for 99 yards, utilizing some nice lateral agility and making several Panthers players miss as he stormed up field. Between Roberts today and Perry Riley Jr’s interception last week, Redskins fans have seen ‘when hell freezes over’ plays two weeks in a row now.
  • Although the Redskins only punted 5 times today in a game that they got blown out in (indicating that multiple drives ended with turnovers) at the very least Punter Tress Way looked to have regained the impressive form he had for most of last season, averaging 53 yards and pinning the Panthers deep in their own territory three times with puns inside the 20.
  • In a bright spot for those who enjoy seeing old dogs stick it to young pups, Jason Hatcher had himself a solid day against Cam Newton and the Panthers Offensive Line today, registering multiple Quarterback hits and also setting up Ryan Kerrigan for a sack in the first half.
  • A bit of frivolity ensued in the Carolina Panthers press box during the game as Master Tesfatsion from the Washington Post became enamored and confused by the presence of a type-writer being utilized.

What didn’t

  • Kirk Cousins certainly wasn’t the only Redskins player to have a poor game today, and he doesn’t shoulder the entire blame for this blowout loss. However, turning the ball over three times -1 interception and 2 lost fumbles- cost the Redskins dearly.
  • On a day where the Redskins ground game was atrocious (more on that later), Matt Jones again lost a fumble, and now leads the league in fumbles lost by a Running Back. When you play at most 50% of the snaps at Running Back, that is a damning stat.
  • Panthers Running Back Jonathan Stewart gashed the Redskins defense today, notching up 102 yards on 21 carries, and adding a 12 yard touchdown reception as well. What was most disappointing though was how many tackles in the backfield he broke or simply avoided altogether – the Redskins defense had one of their poorest tackling efforts of the season.
  • Although the Redskins defense got their hands on Cam Newton a couple of times, the simple reality is that the pass rush is woefully ineffective from the Washington defensive front. Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy and Preston Smith just aren’t getting it done on the edge each week, and the interior Defensive Line isn’t much better.
  • Speaking of the defensive front, they were as undisciplined as a unit can be today, committing five penalties for defensive offsides/encroachments throughout the day
  • Corner Back Chris Culliver had a pick 6 called back after his hit on Greg Olson was called back for illegal contact. Although Mike Periera told the FOX Broadcast team that by the rules the penalty was correct, football fans everywhere seemed to agree that it was a harsh call that wasn’t in the spirit of the game.

What sucked

  • Alfred Morris and Matt Jones combined for a grand total of 0 yards from 7 carries today, as the Redskins turned in what was very nearly their worst rushing performance in team history. As a team, the Redskins accumulated 14 yards on the ground today, 4 of which came from Kirk Cousins on 1 carry, with the remaining 10 coming from Chris Thompson on 4 carries.
  • As a whole, the Redskins offense was simply horrible today. The combined total of 9 first downs for the entire game was pitiful in comparison to Carolina’s 27, and although the stat sheet will read that the Redskins ended the day with 186 net yards of offense, 56 of those came on the one long pass to DeSean Jackson.
  • The Offensive Line turned in a shocking game today for the Redskins, with Cousins being sacked four times to add salt to the aforementioned non-existant ground game.
  • If there is one player the Redskins simply cannot afford to lose to injury it is star Left Tackle Trent Williams. Late in the 4th quarter he twisted his knee and was carted to the locker room. At his post-game press conference Head Coach Jay Gruden called it a “knee-cap contusion”, with tests to reveal the severity on Monday.
  • The fact that the Redskins still had their starters, including Kirk Cousins, out on the field in the dying minutes of a 30 point blowout is inexcusable. To make matters worse, Jordan Reed, who has famously struggled to stay healthy, left the game with a minor knee injury and was announced as ‘out’, only to return to the field in the dying minutes for some reason. Gruden letting his starters finish this game is simply terrible management.

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