At least the Washington Redskins went down swinging on Monday night. Not in the “they gave it a good effort” sense, but in a literal one, with a stupid punch summing up their meltdown.
For some reason tight end Jordan Reed thought it would be a good idea to throw a punch at Panthers safety Kurt Coleman’s helmet late in the third quarter with the Redskins in the red zone. Whatever Reed was trying to accomplish didn’t work, but he did get himself ejected and knocked his team back 15 yards. Washington settled for a field goal later in the drive.
That’s how the night went for Washington. The Panthers were eliminated from the playoff race on Sunday, but still battled harder than the sloppy Redskins in a 26-15 win. Washington fell to 7-6-1. Monday night’s loss could end up keeping the Redskins out of the playoffs.
Washington’s offense never got going, with Kirk Cousins throwing no touchdowns and the running game doing little. The Redskins usually settled for field goals when it did put together a meaningful drive.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton played a tough game. He was held out of some practices last week due to a sore right shoulder, and took a hit on that shoulder early in the game. Later he was hit in the head while sliding at the end of the run (contrast that to Cousins later getting a 15-yard penalty when he was shoved out of bounds, which was a perfectly legal play … for some reason the officials decided to protect him though). On the play Newton was hit in the head, he ended up being the one to get a penalty on the play, for taunting.
But Newton brushed all that off and threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns in one of his best performances of this lost season.
The Redskins were in good position for a playoff berth, but made it harder on themselves with the loss. Teams who could be in the wild-card mix like Detroit, Green Bay, Atlanta, Tampa Bay and even Minnesota got a shot in the arm from the Panthers’ upset. The race for the final NFC wild-card spot is wide open with two weeks to go.
It’s too bad the most fight the Redskins showed all night was Reed’s punch.
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