Redskins Lose Again, Limp Off Field

For the second-straight game, the Washington Redskins needed to win, but instead lost, 33-20 to the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers were a team chomping at the bit (a 1-5 record), a team that has the offensive firepower to run with the best in the league.

The Redskins, unfortunately, are not in that same offensive class.

On the first drive of the game, Pathers quarterback Cam Newton showed Redskins fans the dangerous ability (see below) he can employ when the situation presents itself.

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For the rest of the game, Newton showed fans the other side of his skill set: the ability to put the ball where only his receivers could catch it; the ability to exploit a defense with his cannon of an arm.

Granted, having veteran (and recently reinvigorated) Steve Smith at wide receiver makes any quarterback look better. Smith showed why he is still one of the most dangerous receivers in the league, finishing with seven catches for 143 yards, and igniting drive after drive with his "go-get-the-ball" mentality.

The Panthers also had an astounding 13 penalties in the game, which they were penalized 105 yards. Unfortunately, the Redskins did not take advantage of the lack of discipline on the Panthers' part, even though they had ample opportunity.

This game also magnified the issues the Redskins are having with injuries. Here's a short list of currently injured players, with players lost for the year in bold. Note: not all injured players are listed.

Kory Lichtensteiger (torn knee ligaments), Santana Moss (broken hand), Tim Hightower [seen below] (torn ACL), Trent Williams (sprained ankle), Chris Cooley (broken finger + knee problems), Oshiomogho Atogwe (knee), London Fletcher (hamstring).

These players listed are (or were) starters on either offense or defense. Moss and Hightower were lost early in the game against the Panthers, and were sorely missed after their respective departures.

But, perhaps the biggest absentee against Carolina was starting strong safety Oshiomogho Atogwe. In his stead, Reed Doughty filled in, and unfortunately, was in and out of the game with an injury of his own.

As a result of both Atogwe and Doughty being hurt, Kevin Barnes, a 190-pound corner back was forced to play safety, a match-up Cam Newton and the Panthers exploited consistently.

Barnes isn't used to playing safety and his small frame is not conducive to tackling receivers, a must for anyone playing that position.

Besides the 33 points they gave up, the Redskins' defense also allowed 407 yards: easily their worst game so far this season.

John Beck, all in all, played well-enough to continue as the starting quarterback. He threw for 279 yards and accounted for two touchdowns: one through the air and one on the ground.

He did have two turnovers, a fumble and an interception, but the responsibility of at least one of them may not be on him.

On the last meaningful drive of the game, Beck was picked-off by Chris Gamble. However, after seeing the play live and then on replay, it seemed as though rookie wide receiver Leonard Hankerson ran the wrong route: instead of running a simple out-route, Hankerson sprinted downfield.

As a result, Beck threw to open space and Gamble easily intercepted the pass, effectively ending the game.

Beck said it wasn't Hankerson's fault, but I think differently.

Next week, in Toronto, the Redskins will square off against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have been one of the biggest surprises this season: 4-2 overall, with a win against the New England Patriots, and two 3-point losses.

Buffalo is another high-powered offense with the ability to run the score up, something the Redskins need to contain.

The Redskins have thrown away their 3-1 start and are now 3-3. Their season hinges on this game against Buffalo as the rest of the season may prove to be very difficult with games against San Francisco, New England, as well as each of their NFC East opponents.

Redskins fans: let us pray.

(Photo-courtesy of the Washington Post)

(Jonathan Wigginton is the Chat Sports Senior Writer for the Washington Redskins)

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