On Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field, the Redskins celebrated their annual Homecoming Game, welcoming back more than 150 stars from their glory years. But the enthusiasm didn't transfer to the Redskins players. The 2012 Washington Redskins suffered their second straight lack-luster performance, losing 21-13 to the Carolina Panthers.
In losing to the Panthers, the Redskins dropped to 3-6 on the season and endured their first three-game losing streak of the season. The offense, led by Robert Griffin III was absent again. The defense which has struggled all season, struggled once again. Washington now heads into the bye week looking for answers to several questions.
"Now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come," said a disappointed Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan. "Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we're at. Obviously, we're not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we've got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season."
The Carolina Panthers, led by quarterback Cam Newton, came into the game with a 1-6 record. They've been under a cloud of scrutiny following last season's promising outcome. They used yesterday's game against the Redskins as a vehicle to get back on the right track.
The negative body language that Newton had shown over the past few games and post-game interviews disappeared. Instead, the signal caller displayed the broad smile we saw so often during his Heisman Trophy days. And when he muscled his way into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown run that put the Panthers ahead 21-6 with 12:47 left to play, Newton smiled and blew a kiss to Redskins fans, who had already started to exit FedEx Field.
Newton didn't have a particularly good passing day, completing 13 of 23 attempts for 201 yards and a touchdown. In addition, he ran for 37 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. But he certainly did enough to lead his team to victory. His best pass of the day came with the Panthers on its own 9-yard line after a Redskins' punt, Newton hit receiver Armanti Edwards, who ran free due to a blown coverage. Edwards ran 82 yards before being knocked out at the 6-yard line by cornerback Cedric Griffin.
It marked the 17th pass play of 25 yards or more given up by the Redskins this season.