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The referees, however, didn’t escape responsibility in the eyes of some Redskins. In the first quarter, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams took a handoff, blew past safety Reed Doughty and 30 yards down the Redskins‘ sideline for a touchdown.

Linebacker Perry Riley had the angle to knock Williams out of bounds, but pulled up because of an inadvertent whistle: “I could’ve pushed him out of bounds if I hadn’t heard the whistle.” Replays confirmed the whistle from the line judge, as did referee Carl Cheffers in a postgame pool report.

“We just felt when the whistle blew that the player would have already scored a touchdown,” Cheffers said. “By rule, we would have to put him down when the whistle blew and we tried to decide where that spot would be and we felt that spot would be in the end zone.”

But penalties remained a problem the Redskins couldn’t escape.

“They didn’t outplay us, so it puts you in a situation where you know you did it to yourselves,” Young said. “We’ve got to eliminate those things, to stop putting ourselves in a bind. It’s everyone. It’s not just one person that stands out. We’ve all got to get better.”