Worst Stat:The Redskins entered the game having lost their last six contests against rookie quarterbacks. Well, now it’s seven.
Worst Stat, Part II: The Redskins entered the game having lost to a rookie No. 1 overall draft pick two years in a row. Well, now it’s three.
Best Receiver: Steve Smith was awesome. Put it anywhere near his hands and he was catching it. Meanwhile, Fred Davis, Jabar Gaffney and Anthony Armstrong all had drops.
Best Quarterback: John Beck, who got his first start since 2007, was ok. Cam Newton, who has more career starts, was sometimes breathtaking. The rookie threw for 256 yards and a touchdown, ran for 59 yards and a touchdown, and didn’t turn the ball over. He also had only five incompletions in the game, and none in the second half.
Worst Everything:Through his first 22 games with the Redskins, Jim Zorn was 10-12 as a head coach. Mike Shanahan is now 9-13. I know, I know, I know. Zorn inherited a playoff roster and ruined it. Everything seems better now. But jeez. I keep waiting for Shanahan to surpass Zorn, and it still hasn’t happened.
Worst First Drive: Beck waited four years to get another chance at starting an NFL game. His first drive included a batted pass, a near-interception, a sack, a fumble, and a lot of jokes about Rex Grossman.
Best Red Zone Weapon: Beck scrambling, apparently. For the second straight week, Washington’s first touchdown came on a short run by Beck. Also, Beck’s two rushing touchdowns lead the team. On the other hand, after six games, a quarterback should not lead your team with two rushing touchdowns.
Worst Production Work: Why why why Fox did you decide to show us the U.S. and British national anthems from Bears-Bucs in Wembley before the Redskins-Panthers game in Charlotte? If you want to play games there, fine, but I’m still watching the game I’m watching. Plus, like one wag noted, “Listen, we fought two wars against the British so we wouldn’t have to hear their anthem before our football games.” Also, any game where Tim Ryan is talking about the Mad Dog Award and baloney coming out of his ears with 2:00 left is a bad game.
Worst Week: First Rex Grossman got benched in favor of a guy who hadn’t started an NFL game since 2007. Then he got too sick even to take the field for warmups; Fox reported he had a 103 degree temperature on Saturday night and was in the locker room with an IV throughout the game. Mike Shanahan said Grossman had pneumonia.
Best First Quarter: Last week, it seemed like Tim Hightower had been benched and dropped to third on the running back depth chart. This week, he had 67 rushing yards in the first quarter. It was the most productive first quarter of his NFL career.
Worst Rest of Game: Hightower only gained 21 more yards, and then left the game in extreme pain with a leg injury and didn’t return.
Worst Gamble: I sort of like the way the Shanahans always goes for it on 4th-and-short when he’s outside field-goal range. Sunday, though, it didn’t work. Spectacularly. After Beck was sacked on a 4th-down play in the third quarter, the Panthers needed just two plays to go 53 yards and score the game’s first touchdown.
Worst Consecutive Plays: On Washington’s last possession of the first half, Gaffney dropped a deep pass, then caught a short pass and fumbled inside Redskins territory. The Panthers would up with a field goal. Hard to do much worse in a two-play sequence.
Worst Tackling: On Carolina’s first drive of the game, Newton ran for 25 yards over 14 seconds, eluding at least three or four Redskins defenders who had clear shots at him. It was the longest run by a Panthers quarterback in franchise history.
Worst Intentional Grounding: Beck’s attempt to throw the ball away and avoid a sack was foiled by the fact that he threw the ball straight down into the grass, and the grass doesn’t really count as a potential receiver. That was the definition of intentional grounding.
Worst Name Identification: Considering Chris Myers and Tim Ryan have called like 17 Redskins games on Fox this season, you’d think they would be able to differentiate between Adam Carriker and Ryan Kerrigan.
Worst Challenges: Ron Rivera went 0-for-2. The Redskins totally dominated in challenge conversion percentage.
Worst Fumble Recovery: The Redskins forced a Jonathan Stewart goal line near the end zone. The ball bounced in the vicinity of approximately four Redskins and one teal person. The teal person somehow recovered. The Panthers scored a touchdown on the next play.
Best Time of Possession: Carolina had drives that lasted 7:29, 7:22, 5:57 and 8:26. Washington had one drive that lasted longer than 4:05, and none that lasted longer than 6:05.
Worst Injury Bug: After Santana Moss exited with a broken hand in the first half, the Redskins had five offensive starters in two weeks, if you count Chris Cooley, since they use so many two tight end sets. Plus London Fletcher. Plus Oshiomogho Atogwe.
Worst Celebration: I love end zone touchdown celebrations. I hate them when your team is still down by 10 points with five minutes left against a one-win team starting a rookie quarterback.
Worst Discipline: Carolina stopped the Redskins on a third down late in the first quarter, but gave them a first down and 15 yards when Thomas Williams took a swipe at Niles Paul. Not smart. It was one of three penalties the Panthers committed on Washington’s first scoring drive. They had nine penalties at the half, and 13 for the game.
Worst Response: After Beck’s touchdown run got the Redskins within a field goal, the defense cratered. Newton and friends immediately went 80 yards in 10 plays to push the lead back to 10. Then the Redskins countered with a 3-and-out.
Worst Answer: Someone asked Shanahan if Beck would start next week. “Are you joking?” Shanahan responded. I don’t know that it was a ridiculous question.
Worst Comparison: “I’ll tell you who he reminds me of a little bit,” Ryan said, which made you know he was about to say something ridiculous. Then he said John Beck reminds him a little bit of Drew Brees.
Worst Football: This was the second game the Redskins have played this season featuring a first half with at least five field goals but no touchdowns. A lot of times, football fans like to see touchdowns.