Both the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers have a lot of things in common. Both have coaches who whether they want to admit it or not are on their collective hot seats. Both teams aren’t exactly offensive powerhouses. And both teams have star running backs in Clinton Portis and DeAngelo Williams. So one would think that a game between these two teams would be a relatively low-scoring affair. Depending on what your definition of an NFL low-scoring game actually is, this one could possibly qualify as such.
One thing for certain in this game between the Redskins and Panthers: a maligned player was the key for his team’s victory. In this instance, it was Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme; his bootleg run with less than two minutes remaining in the game helped Carolina gain their first win of the season as they edged Washington 20-17 at Bank of America Stadium. But to be fair, the Redskins let this one slip away as they allowed the Panthers to score the final 18 points of the contest.
The first quarter was befitting of a pair of teams of their stature as the only scoring came courtesy of a 10-yard touchdown pass from Redskins QB Jason Campbell to Portis, giving Washington a 7-0 lead. The Panthers finally got on the scoreboard, thanks to a safety as Portis was unceremoniously dumped into the end zone by Carolina linebacker Thomas Davis, narrowing their deficit to 7-2.
Washington kicker Shaun Suisham added a added a 38-yard field goal at the 1:45 mark of the second quarter, which would give the Redskins a 10-2 lead which they would take to their locker room at halftime. The third quarter would mark the beginning of the meltdown for Washington; the Redskins drew first blood in the second half as Portis scored from a yard out, extending their lead to 17-2. Then the wheels slowly came off the wagon.
A big kick return by Kenny Moore gave Carolina great field position at the Washington 45; the Panthers would capitalize as Delhomme threw a 17-yard TD strike to TE Jeff King, narrowing their deficit to 17-9. The fourth quarter was all Carolina as they scored the final 11 points of the fourth quarter, starting with a John Kasay 43-yard FG with 14:15 left in the game.
The winning score for the Panthers came on an 8-yard TD run by RB Jonathan Stewart at the 9:21 mark of the game, giving Carolina their first lead of the game at 20-17. But the defining moment for Carolina came with less than two minutes remaining as Delhomme, as he tends to do in clutch situations, ran a bootleg run for a first down, sealing heir first win of this season.
As previously mentioned, neither team impressed too many as both teams combined for 446 yards. Delhomme was merely average – although this effort was his best of this season – as he went 16-of-25 for 181 yards with a TD and interception while Campbell went 17-of-23 for 145 yards and a TD. Portis was basically the Redskins running attack a she ran for 57 of the team’s 74 yards along with a score; Williams rushed for 40 yards while Stewart added 39 rushing yards of his own.
Santana Moss led the Redskins receivers as he caught 4 passes for 44 yards; Steve Smith led the Panthers receivers as he caught 5 passes for 65 yards while WR Mushin Muhammad caught 5 balls for 39 yards. Carolina (1-3) will look to gain some sorely needed momentum as they visit Tampa to take on the Buccaneers while Washington (2-3) hopes to rebound as they host the Kansas City Chiefs.