Skins-Panthers: Instant analysis

Skins-Panthers: Instant analysis
October 23, 2011, 8:21 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. Observations and opinions from the Redskins 33-20 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Well, that can be put in the Pathetic File. The Redskins can blame but probably wont and shouldnt the injuries, but Carolina started the game by punching Washington in the mouth and didnt really stop. As soon as the Panthers started scoring touchdowns instead of kicking field goals, the lead eventually grew to 17 points.

Hard to make much out of John Becks performance other than he is now 0-5 in his career as a starter. He made some decent plays, would like others back, but what should the expectations be? Beck didnt have two linemen. Didnt have Chris Cooley. Didnt have Santana Moss after the first quarter. Didnt have Tim Hightower after the third quarter.

Carolinas Cam Newton is a stud, better than any quarterback the Redskins have on their roster. Thats not to say Washington should have tried to trade up for him (it didnt have enough chips), but each week, it becomes more and more likely the Redskins will regret not taking a quarterback in the top 3-4 rounds last spring.

Tough day for cornerbacks and Josh Wilson and DeAngelo Hall. Veteran Panthers receiver Steve Smith did whatever he wanted while eclipsing 100 yards by the end of the third quarter.

This running back thing started out as confusing with Hightower getting nearly all of the first-half work and having a productive half (15 carries for 78 yards). But things crystallized in the third quarter and for all the wrong reasons. Hightower went down with an apparent left knee injury he was unable to put any weight once helped to his feet. Now its Ryan Torain and Roy Helu.

The Redskins finally discovered Fred Davis and yes, even Logan Paulsen. With Moss out, Davis-Paulsen should have been prioritized. On the first touchdown drive (third quarter), Beck threw 22 and 11 yards to Davis and twice had 24-yard completions to Paulsen.

Back-up quarterback Rex Grossman remained in the locker room throughout the game receiving IV fluids. He came out late for pre-game warm-ups but the Redskins said he could have played had Beck got injured. Lets face it if the Redskins thought last night Grossman wouldnt have been healthy, they would have made a roster move to promote Jonathan Crompton from the practice squad.

Right decision by the Redskins to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Carolina 40 early in the second half. Its no mans land the field goal would too long and a punt would likely only buy 20 yards. But the play was flawed from the start. When Beck got the snap, the play clock was about to expire and he was quickly sacked.

Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker showed in the first half they are adept at getting to the quarterback when theyre not blocked. Carriker from the front side and Orakpo from the blind side quickly sacked Newton after going untouched. How that can happen especially with a player like Orapko is inexcusable.

Newtons scrambling ability was impressive to see in-person. On the games first drive, he turned a third-and-9 into a first down and a 25-yard scramble when he broke three tackles.

The Panthers showed throughout the first half why they entered with only one win. Their first offensive drive was derailed by a false start penalty from the Redskins 2-yard line. A Redskins drive was extended when Thomas Williams slugged receiver Niles Paul after the play. And a 30-yard field goal eventually became a 45-yard attempt because of two penalties (Mare made it anyway).

Its hard to imagine a non-quarterback have a worse possession than receiver Jabar Gaffney late in the first half. On first down, he appeared to have dropped a pass that would have gotten the Redskins near field goal range. On second down, he caught the pass on a shallow cross but fumbled. Carolina made it 9-6 four plays later.

One thing Philadelphia exploited last week, Carolina did the same in the first half. Newton would take one step and quickly throw to the perimeter. Since the Redskins were again playing a lot of cushion in coverage, it was easy pickings gains of 7,8 and 21 yards.

Contact OHalloran at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com