By: Darrell Owens
Headline Photo Credit: Darrell Owens-LMS Network
Week 6 of the 2018 NFL season had some pretty interesting matchup’s. Pittsburgh Steelers took on the Cincinnati Bengals in a match up that would shape the AFC North. Pat Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) traveled to New England to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots in a potential future playoff match up later this season. Despite a multitude of great games going on, there was a very intriguing matchup happening. The Washington Redskins hosting the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers came in to this game (4-1) on the season including last weeks win versus the New York Giants. Panthers kicker Graham Gano kicked a 61-yard field goal to win the game 33-31, putting them atop the NFC South tied with the New Orleans Saints. Speaking of the Saints, the Redskins suffered a tough loss to New Orleans on Monday Night Football 43-19, Washington was out matched on all facets of the game. Saints QB Drew Brees would become the NFL All-Time leader in passing yards during the game. The lost for Washington didn’t hurt them too bad as a still held the lead in the NFC East with a 2-2 record at the end of Week 5. The Panthers enter this game on a 6 game straight vs the Redskins. Both teams came into this Week 6 game, knowing that a victory would keep them on top there respective divisions.
This game started of with both teams trading possessions. Washington would punt the ball to Carolina at the end of on their first possession. The Redskins luck would change early in this contest as the Panthers WR DJ Moore would muff the punt and it would be recovered by the Redskins TE Jeremy Sprinkle at the Carolina 21-yard line. Moore struggled holding on to the football with two total fumbles. On the very next play, Redskins QB Alex Smith would connect with his former 49ers teammate, Vernon Davis for a 22-yard touchdown given the Redskins 7-0 lead early in the first quarter. This was the 31st time that Smith/Davis have connected for a touchdown in their careers.
Carolina’s next drive would be a 3 and out, setting up Washington’s 12 play, 64 yard drive capped off with a two yard Paul Richardson touchdown reception from Alex Smith extending the Redskins lead 14-0 early in the 2nd quarter. On the next Panthers drive, Cam Newton would taking a shot down field to help try cut into the lead, but Redskins CB Josh Norman would intercepted the pass giving Carolina their second turnover of the game. This was Norman’s first interception since December 24, 2016. After a Panthers fumble with 11:24 left in the 2nd quarter, Redskins would capitalize by adding a field goal increasing their lead to 17-0. The Panthers would not go into the halftime empty handed as Newton would find his WR Devin Funchess (5 Receptions 74 yards) for a Gorgeous one-handed 23-yard touchdown right before half. Unfortunately, Gano would miss the extra point in the Redskins would go into halftime with a 17- 6 lead.
After a calm 3rd quarter, Redskins held on to the lead going into the 4th quarter 20-9. Midway through the 4th, Carolina would chip into the lead a little more with 3-yard touchdown pass from Newton to WR Torrey Smith. The Panthers must’ve felt confident because they would use the same exact play on the two point conversion going back to Smith and shrinking the lead down, 20-17 Redskins with 8:32 left in the 4th. On the Redskins next possession, they would chew up five minutes of clock, finishing the drive off with a Dustin Hopkins field goal, Redskins lead 23-17. Panthers had one more shot to try to take the lead and win this game. Newton lead the Panthers down the field to the Redskins 16-yard line putting them in prime position to win this game.
The Redskins defense needed some big stops to win this game and they would do just that. Newton missed on 3 pass attempts to keep the drive going and possible win this game for the Panthers. The Redskins would go on to win this game 23-17 moving there record to 3-2 on the season and reclaiming first place in the NFC East. The Panthers would fall to 4-2 on the season and fall 2nd in the NFC South.
Next week at 4pm, The Washington Redskins take on the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. The Carolina Panthers will head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles at 1pm.