The Carolina Panthers defeated the Washington Redskins 47-3, on a beautiful Carolina night in Charlotte, at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers won by absolute domination on both sides of the ball, never letting up on the Redskins.
The futility of Carolina’s offense last week against Philadelphia looked to be an aberration compared to their showing Saturday night. In fact, the Panthers started with two field goals, and then engineered five consecutive scoring touchdowns. Moreover, this is the second straight week that Carolina’s starting defense has held their opponent scoreless for at least the first half.
Carolina again got off to a slow start, and had quite a scare when star Steve Smith was hurt on only the second play of the game. Smith dove for a ball, and fell with his right arm fully extended, injuring his shoulder.
Fortunately, the resilient receiver made it back on the field for four catches for sixty yards, and two touchdowns. One of the TDs was somewhat nutty, as running back DeAngelo Williams was stripped of the ball on a deep run, and the ball fell forward; Steve Smith scooped it right up, and ran it eight yards for a score.
Speaking of running backs, Carolina’s one-two punch of Williams and rookie Jonathan Stewart were everything coach Fox must have envisioned, with Williams rushing for 101 yards on nine carries,and first-round draft pick Stewart gaining 100 yards with ten rushes. Stewart is obviously becoming more confident with his surgically-repaired big toe, and ripping off a beautiful 50-yard run for a touchdown had to have helped erase last week’s dismal four carries for three yards. Third-year vet Williams had his own 60 -yard touchdown on their next series.
The Panthers receiving corp is making strides; with Muhsin Muhammad and D.J. Hackett out, Dwayne Jarrett and tight end Dante Rosario stepped up and made some nice catches, with Rosario registering a TD. Jason Carter looked good on his returns, but left the game with a sprained knee, adding yet another player to their injured-receiver stable.
Kicker John Kasay connected on all four of his field goals, and kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd was fantastic, with all 10 of his attempts reaching the endzone.
Jake Delhomme had an interception early on, but seemed to get it out of his system. His arm looked right on the money for most of the night, completing 11 of 19 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. Delhomme later confessed that he needed the extra time out there this week, and that getting hit was definitely good for him.
Carolina’s formerly unheralded defense kept the Redskins to 49 yards and three first downs in the first half, sacked Washington field general Jason Campbell four times, and utterly disposed of their offense. Julius Peppers was a beast, recording two fumble recoveries; he actually pushed five-time Pro Bowler Chris Samuels five yards back, shoving him right into an unsuspecting Jason Campbell, who dropped the ball, which Peppers recovered.
On a night when everything seemed to go right for Carolina, Washington came up empty time and time again. Their only points on the board came late in the third quarter, by a 38-yard field goal from Shaun Suisham, and the ‘Skins were taken down the field by backup quarterback Todd Collins on that series.
Campbell, who formerly appeared very efficient in the first three preseason games, only played the first half, and went 6-of-10 passing for 39 yards. Their defense, however, got to Delhomme twice in the first quarter, and rookie Kareem Moore had a nice outing, putting steady pressure on Carolina’s receivers. The Redskins were also dealing with an injury-depleted linebacking corps, according to first-year coach Jim Zorn.
Unfortunately for Washington, superstar defensive end Jason Taylor went down with a sprained knee in the second quarter, as he got caught up in the pile on a play, and the knee was reportedly bent backward in an awkward fashion. Taylor had to be carted off the field, and did not return to the game. Washington cannot afford to lose Taylor, as their sparsity at this position is what necessitated his acquisition in the first place.