The Washington Redskins are not winning the Super Bowl this season. After losing 21-13 to their neighbors to the south, the Carolina Panthers, they don't even look like a .500 team.
Today's game was supposed to be an easy win, a cake-walk for the Redskins.
This was their "Homecoming" game, commemorating and honoring their greatest players of all time and celebrating the 80th anniversary of the franchise. Plus, their opponents were the "lousy" 1-6 Carolina Panthers, led by struggling, moody quarterback Cam Newton.
The game wound up being an embarrassment for ALL Redskins players, both past and present.
Once again, the Redskins will just "play out their schedule". Was anything learned?
FIVE THINGS WE LEARNED:
1) Bad officiating continues to plague the Redskins.
First of all is the 30-yard touchdown run by DeAngelo Williams of the Panthers that should NOT have been. A whistle blew early in the play when it appeared that Williams may have stepped out of bounds, causing Redskins linebacker Perry Riley to pull up off of his shot at knocking Williams out of bounds.
A whistle means the play is over, which explains Riley's decision NOT to knock him out of bounds. The referees were kind enough to not tell Mike Shanahan they were discussing the inadvertent whistle, they took it upon themselves to just unilaterally decide to just give Carolina the ill-gotten score, and make up some story about how "the whistle blew when Williams was already going to score anyways".
Really? Well then every time someone commits pass interference in the end zone, the offensive team show be awarded a score because, hey, "they were going to score anyway".
Against the Giants back in October, a Fred Davis reception for a touchdown was wiped out on a "ghost call" of illegal motion. the re-play of that down was the one which felled Fred Davis for the season with an Achilles injury. Thanks, refs!
2) Robert Griffin III's talent is matched only by his heart.
There were plenty of struggles for Washington in this game. However, late in the fourth quarter, following a touchdown that brought the Redskins within eight of Carolina, RG3 came alive, again. He has already shown his ability to lead late-game scoring drives, unfortunately, today the team fell short.
In the final plays of the game, down 21-13, Griffin III seemed to ignore every reason in the world why the game was lost already. Hope was lost. Game over, drive home safe. RG3 ran around like a madman TRYING to score, but it was not enough.
Kudos, though, to this guy's heart.
3) Washington must be a cursed franchise.
How else to explain the year in and year out failures of the team? This loss had many, many similar post-game thoughts to those of the Redskins numerous losses over the past twenty seasons. "If they had only...." "If the other team hadn't of..."
After the year's over, we'll be able to play, "What COULD their record have been?" by counting up the number of losses by less than a touchdown. "Gee, if this and this had happened differently, we're looking at a 11-5 team!"
4) When the soft spoken Armanti Edwards talks the talk, watch out.
Edwards, the young wide receiver for the Panthers, rarely lets others know what's on his mind. He certainly is not a player you hear boasting and bragging and trash talking before a game. But today, he told a fellow player he was going to make a big play, to just watch him.
Early in the fourth, on his own nine yard line, Edwards caught a pass and ran all the way down to the Redskins nine, setting up the Panthers for a crucial scoring chance.
If he ever guarantees victory, bet on it.
5) Carolina FINALLY plays itself a complete game.
This includes quarterback Cam Newton. In the second quarter, the Panthers defense stood up to Washington and RG3 when the Redskins went for it on fourth and goal from the two yard line. Following the stop, Newton came in and engineered perhaps his greatest drive ever, 98 yards in twelve plays, culminating in a touchdown pass to Steve Smith on third and ten, with 1:03 to go in the first half.
The Panthers grabbed the lead, and they never let it go, running and defending their way to a 21-13 win, ending a five game losing streak.