‘Gamers & Lamers’ in Panthers Vs. Redskins Week 7 Game: A Fan’s Analysis

The Carolina Panthers improved to 2-5 this week with a home victory against the Washington Redskins. While the NFL post game shows tend to cover the scoring plays, I look for the less visible but equally crucial plays that sustain drives, spring the big plays, or change momentum. Here is my analysis, as a Panthers fan, of these key plays, both good ("The Gamers") and bad ("The Lamers") that took place during Carolina's Week 7 victory over the Washington Redskins.

1st Quarter

8:57, Greg Olsen, TE - Lamer. Score tied 0-0, CAR ball on WAS 2. The Panthers began the game on an impressive opening drive and are two yards from the end zone. On 2nd down, Greg Olsen is flagged for a false start pushing the ball back to the 7. The penalty killed momentum and the Panthers had to settle for a field goal instead of what seemed to be an inevitable touchdown.

4:53, Antwan Applewhite, DE - Gamer x2. Panthers lead 3-0, WAS ball on CAR 45. On 2nd-and-15 QB John Beck went shotgun and RB Tim Hightower released into the right flat. Applewhite penetrated into the backfield and deflected Beck's swing pass to Hightower. On the next play Applewhite blew by RT Jamaal Brown and sacked John Beck, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Carolina.

4:41, Byron Bell, T - Lamer. Panthers lead 3-0, WAS ball on WAS 48. After the forced fumble by Applewhite, Carolina started with good field position. Cam Newton dropped back to pass on 1st down and T Byron Bell missed his block and Newton was sacked for a loss of six yards. Bell was flagged for a personal foul facemask on the play, which was declined. Because of the sack the Panthers squandered great field position and punted after a three-and-out.

1:25, Charles Johnson, DE & Thomas Williams, LB - Lamers. Panthers lead 3-0, WAS ball on WAS 37. The Redskins faced a 3rd-and-3 and John Beck threw an incompletion which should have ended the drive. However, Charles Johnson jumped offside while Washington G Shane Locklear was called for a hold on the same play. The penalties offset and the down was replayed. The Panthers defense once again held on 3rd down but LB Thomas Williams was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after the play had ended. Williams' penalty resulted in a first down and the Redskins ultimately converted a field goal to end the drive.

2nd Quarter

12:32 - Thomas Williams, LB - Gamer & Lamer. Panthers lead 3-0, WAS ball on CAR 13. Washington faced a 3rd-and-2 and were threatening to get into the end zone. John Beck threw a quick slant to WR Jabar Gaffney and LB Thomas Williams dropped into coverage, read the route, and tipped the pass, forcing a Washington field goal. But on the ensuing kick return, Williams was flagged for a holding penalty, backing up the Panthers starting field position to the 6 yard line. Thomas Williams is quickly proving he is capable of greatness as well as sheer stupidity.

11:45 - Greg Olsen, TE & Legedu Naanee, WR - Gamers. Score tied 3-3, CAR ball on CAR 13. On 2nd-and-3 Naanee came in motion from right to left. Jonathan Stewart took a handoff left as Naanee picked up a blitzing linebacker and Olsen sealed the defensive end. Stewart ran through a gaping hole and picked up 29 yards on the run. The run got the Panthers away from their own end zone and extended a drive that ended with a field goal.

9:08 - Brandon LaFell, WR & Jordan Gross, T - Gamers. Score tied 3-3, CAR ball on WAS 44.The Panthers ran a WR screen to Steve Smith. LaFell immediately sealed CB Kevin Barnes while Gross chipped the DE then got in front of Smith as his personal one-man convoy. Gross obliterated a helpless defensive back about five yards down field, paving the way for Smith's 21-yard gain. The drive ultimately concluded with a field goal.

1:59 - Greg Hardy, DE - Gamer. Panthers lead 6-3, WAS ball on CAR 26. The Redskins were driving and on 2nd-and-2 they ran a hard play action to the right. John Beck pivoted to bootleg left and was immediately met by Greg Hardy who was not fooled by the play action. Hardy forced a 11-yard intentional grounding on Beck and the drive ended with a field goal instead of a possible touchdown.

:46 Captain Munnerlyn, CB - Gamer x2. Score tied 6-6, Panthers punting. The Panthers punted near the end of the half and Captain Munnerlyn made a solid open field tackle on the punt return, immediately dropping Brandon Banks at the WAS 31. Two plays later Munnerlyn forced a fumble after WR Jabar Gaffney caught a short pass, giving the Panthers the ball on the WAS 34 with :30 left. Carolina converted with a field goal to take a halftime lead of 9-6.

3rd Quarter

12:56 - James Anderson, LB - Gamer. Panthers lead 9-6, WAS ball on CAR 40. The Redskins faced a 4th-and-2 and were out of field goal range and went for it. James Anderson burst through the the line and sacked Beck for a 7 yard loss, giving the Panthers the ball near midfield.

12:23 - Greg Olsen, TE - Gamer. Panthers lead 9-6, CAR ball on WAS 16. On 1st-and-10 Cam Newton went shotgun with Greg Olsen to his right and Jonathan Stewart to his left. Newton faked a handoff to Stewart and ran an option to his left. Olsen crossed in front of Newton as a blocker and picked up S Reed Doughty, opening the hole for Newton's untouched 16-yard touchdown run.

4th Quarter

12:23 - Jonathan Stewart, RB - Gamer. Panthers lead 23-13, CAR ball on WAS 37. Facing a 3rd-and-4 Cam Newton lined up in a shotgun formation with Stewart to his left. Newton ran a quarterback option with Stewart as his lead blocker. Stewart took out LB Rocky McIntosh and opened a path for Newton to pick up seven yards and a first down, extending a drive that ended in a touchdown.

8:13 - Sean McDermott, Def Coord - Lamer. Panthers lead 30-13, WAS ball on WAS 20. With the chance to put the game away, Sean McDermott put the secondary into soft zones and man-to-man with deep cushions. The result? Consecutive completions from John Beck of 14, 15, 17, and 14 yards. After two incompletions, Beck then completed passes of 11 and 2 yards followed by a 7-yard touchdown to TE Fred Davis. After stifling Washington's passing game most of the day with aggressive defense, the soft coverage gave the Redskins a quick touchdown and allowed them to remain in the game.

3:29 - Chris Gamble, CB - Gamer x2. Panthers lead 30-20, WAS ball on WAS 24. Washington is trying for a quick score with time running out. On 1st-and-10 Chris Gamble reached over WR Anthony Armstrong to break up a pass. Two plays later John Beck and WR Leonard Hankerson had a mix up on the route and Beck threw the ball to the wrong spot and directly into the hands of Chris Gamble. Gamble returned the interception 19 yards to the WAS 25, leading to a Panthers field goal and icing the 33-20 Carolina victory.

For the second straight week the recently signed DE Antwan Applewhite made his presence felt with five tackles, one pass defended, and the sack that led to the John Beck fumble. Chris Gamble had three passes defended along with the game clinching interception. Greg Olsen and Jonathan Stewart picked up key blocks that extended drives and resulted in touchdowns.

Despite the good plays, penalties continue to plague Carolina, this time with 13 penalties for 105 yards. DE Charles Johnson alone was flagged for three penalties, one of which extended a Redskins drive that ended with points on the board. The Panthers now sit at 2-5 with a winnable upcoming game at home against the Minnesota Vikings and a chance to put together the first winning steak of the 2011 season.

Andrew Sweat is a North Carolina resident and a loyal Panthers fan. More from this author:

Gamers & Lamers Week 6 vs. Falcons

Gamers & Lamers Week 5 vs. Saints

Gamers & Lamers Week 4 vs. Bears

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Updated Monday, Oct 24, 2011