- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009

FIRST QUARTER

What happened: The Redskins kicked off to the Panthers, but Carolina immediately gave the ball back. On the first play from scrimmage, Panthers back DeAngelo Williams fumbled, and Albert Haynesworth recovered. Washington scored two plays later when Clinton Portis caught a short pass and scampered right to score. The bad news: Chris Samuels left with an injury on the same play. The Redskins’ defense limited Carolina to a three-and-out, and Washington took the field with D’Anthony Batiste in for Samuels. Under a lot of heat, Jason Campbell fumbled but recovered, and the Redskins punted. The teams traded two more punts before Carolina started a long drive to end the quarter.

Analysis: A great start for Washington, whose defense made a play against the too-eager-to-appease Panthers, instantly putting the Redskins in scoring position. And Portis didn’t have to worry about Mike Sellers’ blocking on the scoring reception. The bad news for Portis and Co.: They do need to worry about the loss of Samuels, which puts three questionable starters on the offensive line in Batiste, Mike Williams at guard and Stephon Heyer at right tackle. At least on offense, the Panthers looked rather deserving of their 0-3 mark.

BY THE NUMBERS

11 Games since the Redskins had scored on their first possession. The previous time was in the Week 11 loss to Dallas last season.

SECOND QUARTER

What happened: The Panthers drove to the Washington 2, then ran four straight times. On fourth-and-goal from the 1, fullback Brad Hoover fumbled in the end zone and tight end Jeff King recovered, but the recovery was negated by an obscure rule, and the Redskins took over. Two plays later, Portis lost 3 yards on a run and was tackled for a safety. Jake Delhomme got sacked after Carolina got the ball, helping to force a punt. Sparked by a 23-yard completion to Santana Moss, the Redskins moved to the Carolina 22, but the drive fizzled, and the Redskins settled for Shaun Suisham’s 38-yard field goal.

Analysis: The Panthers’ playcalling near the goal line - four straight runs - was questionable at best, pathetic at worst, and it was almost fitting that they failed to score. Also questionable was the Portis run that resulted in the safety. Run wide near the goal line? Delhomme, suffering through a horrid year, caused his own sack by not stepping into the pocket. The Redskins moved the ball at the end of the quarter but encountered their usual red-zone problems.

BY THE NUMBERS

6 Field goals made by Suisham this season in six attempts. A year after missing 10 attempts, which earned him a challenge in the preseason, he’s off to a perfect start.

THIRD QUARTER

What happened: Washington started the half with Batiste still in the game, meaning Samuels was out. And soon enough, Campbell got sacked, killing the Redskins’ opening drive. DeAngelo Hall soon executed a tip drill to near-perfection. He intercepted Delhomme and returned it to the 1. Following another Carolina penalty, Portis punched it in for his second touchdown of the day. After a 55-yard kick return, Carolina came out throwing, and Delhomme hit tight end Jeff King for a 17-yard touchdown. Washington answered with a long drive that ended with another fourth-down play, but the Redskins failed to convert as Campbell couldn’t hit Moss on a slant.

Analysis: Again, the Redskins’ defense kept them in the game. Hall continued to be the playmaker the team hoped it had when it re-signed him, snatching the ball after it went through Muhsin Muhammad’s hands and nearly taking it to the house. Another good sign for Washington: Campbell completed third-quarter passes to Fred Davis, Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas, though Davis twice came up short trying to convert on third down. Campbell remained under pressure from the ends.

BY THE NUMBERS

.500 Conversion rate for the Redskins (4-for-8) on fourth-down attempts this season.

FOURTH QUARTER

What happened: Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo combined for a sack of Delhomme, but Carolina completed its long drive with a 43-yard John Kasay field goal to cut Washington’s lead to five points. The Redskins responded with another punt four plays later. Carolina soon had to punt again but recovered the ball when it deflected off Byron Westbrook, prompting a confusing call and failed challenge by the Redskins. Two plays later, with the ball inside the red zone, Jonathan Stewart scored for Carolina, and the Panthers converted the two points to give them the lead. Washington got two quick first downs on the next drive, but Campbell’s scramble came up short on third-and-7, leading to another punt. With the Redskins out of timeouts, Carolina essentially was able to run out the clock.

Analysis: The Redskins found another excruciating way to lose. Not only did they let a 15-point lead evaporate in the second half, but thanks to poor timeout management and a third-down bootleg by Delhomme that fooled everyone, they also had to watch — nearly helplessly — as Carolina ran the clock out after scoring the go-ahead touchdown. Hall, who made what would have been the play of the game in the third, negated it with his inability to tackle Delhomme on that run. Carolina rediscovered its ability to run the ball against Washington, including 53 yards on the ground in the final quarter.

BY THE NUMBERS

0 Catches for Chris Cooley, the first time the Redskins tight end was held without one since 2004. Backup tight end Fred Davis had three catches.

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