Join the discussion for the Week 9 Redskins live blog as we continue to break down this afternoon’s game against the Carolina Panthers (1-6). The Redskins (3-5) are trying to dig out of a 14-3 deficit in the first half that featured a 19-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Cam Newton to wide receiver Steve Smith for Carolina’s second touchdown. Boxscore


Week 9: After a loss to the Panthers, a bye week full of questions

This time, Cam Newton, the 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, got the better of the 2011 winner, Robert Griffin III. (Patrick McDermott / Getty Images)

The Redskins take a 3-6 record into the bye week and, after three straight losses, suddenly have a bunch of questions to answer. No area is off limits, as Mike Shanahan indicated. Player evaluations begin in earnest but, with a tough slate of NFC East games the rest of the way, the Redskins have some opportunity if only they can start playing well.

For his part, Robert Griffin III (23-of-39 passing for 215 yards; 11 runs for 53 yards) promised to come back a better quarterback after the bye. How the Redskins finish over the last seven games will be determined by how many other players — and coaches — show the same resolve and dedication.

DeAngelo Williams says “You don’t book a good team for Homecoming”

DeAngelo Williams said the Panthers (now 2-6) suddenly found a little extra motivation against the Redskins, who were honoring past players, today. The Gameday program labeled the game “Homecoming” and, as Williams told Sky Kerstein, “You don’t book a good team for Homecoming.” Not that the Redskins booked the 1-6 Panthers for this week. That comes from the NFL, but Williams was still chapped.

RGIII: “We’ve got to come back ready to go”

Robert Griffin III on the team’s mentality after the loss and going into the bye week:

“You want to come out of a game like this with a victory. We didn’t get that. It’s very upsetting. But at the end of the day, we’ve got a bye week, we’ve got to come back ready to go. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. I don’t expect any of the players to feel sorry for themselves. So we’ll come back ready to go.”

On the offense’s inability to get into the end zone:

“We’ve just got to punch it in. That’s the bottom line. We get down there, we work hard to get it down there, we’ve got to come away with seven points, not three points. Everybody understands that and it’s something that we’ll get better at. The past two weeks we haven’t been able to do it, but after the bye I think you’ll see a different team.”

On the postgame feeling:

“It’s a bad feeling when you’re coming off the field knowing that you just didn’t go out there and execute like you wanted to. It’s all about execution. People are going to criticize. They’re going to criticize the coaches, they’re going to criticize the players. They’re going to say that a drastic change needs to be made. But I don’t feel that way. I feel it’s on us. It’s on the players to make sure we go out there and play, regardless of what coach calls on offense, defense or special teams. We’re the ones out there playing. We’ve got to make plays happen.”

On how he’s feeling (X-rays of his sore ribs were negative):

“I’m fine. I’ll be ready to go. No one’s every going to question the fight that I have inside of myself to be the greatest and to help lead this team to victory. It doesn’t matter what it is, I’ll make sure that I continue to help my team win games. It starts right after the bye.”

On the bye week mindset:

“I think guys just need to make sure to continue to stay tough in between the ears. You don’t want to feel sorry for yourself ever. You don’t want to accept defeat. That’s something I’ll never accept. You try to continue to get better, just make sure you go out there with no excuses. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is, if the sun is bright and in your eyes. It doesn’t matter what it is. You go out there and you make plays happen.”

On his bye-week plans after an inconsistent game:

“I have no idea what I’m going to do. I promise you I’ll come back and I’ll be a better quarterback the second half of the season for us, for this team. Preferably everybody else comes back with the same mindset.”

Josh Wilson: Mum’s the word on the refs

On that phantom whistle play…you know the one…it sounds as if Josh Wilson learned from DeAngelo Hall’s outburst/ejection last week:

RGIII has sore ribs, but no fractures

Coach Mike Shanahan disclosed that quarterback Robert Griffin III had X-rays on his ribs just after the game ended.

“He’s got some sore ribs and that one shot, when he was dropping back early in the first quarter, he took a pretty good shot to the ribs and, anyway, hopefully it’s not too bad,” Shanahan said. “But he’s sore right now.”

So, no fractures?

“Correct. I don’t think they even thought about something being broken. It was just sore.”

Sounds like the bye week comes at a great time.

Mike Shanahan: “Very disappointing”

Calling the loss to the Carolina Panthers “very disappointing” after labeling the game a “must-win” earlier in the week, Coach Mike Shanahan said that, at 3-6 going into the bye week, “Now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come. Now we get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at. Obviously, we’re not out of it statistically, but now we find out what type of character we’ve got and how guys keep on fighting through the rest of the season.”

And, yes, it’s only Nov. 4. Still, the bye week is a time to take stock of where the program is.

“I think everybody’s disappointed at what happened today. You’re looking for guys to step up, offensively, defensively, special teams  and obviously I can do a better job because we didn’t do that today. We didn’t do that as a team. I take full responsibility for that.”

On the phantom whistle that gave the Panthers their first touchdown (see Mike Pereira’s criticism several posts here earlier): “I didn’t know about the whistle. They were trying to decide whether it was holding or not. That was the way they relayed it to me.”

Shanahan reiterates that he was not aware of the whistle issue. “I was told that they were talking about the hold on D Hall when the guy put his hands up in the air. That was the clarification that they gave me. That’s what they were talking about.” 

On what the team will do now:

“The first thing is we do is we go back and look at the game. Very disappointed right now, very emotional right now, just as everybody would be. So you go back and look at who made mistakes and what we need to do as a staff to improve, to make sure we eliminate some of those mistakes. … I thought we would have played very well today.” 

Redskins lose to Panthers, 21-13

The Redskins lost to the Carolina Panthers, 21-13, to fall to 3-6 entering their bye week. Washington lost its third consecutive game, and Robert Griffin III finished 23 for 39 for 215 yards and ran for 53 yards on 11 carries but did not account for a touchdown.

Redskins cut lead to 21-13

Evan Royster scored on a two-yard run with 1:34 left in the game to pull Washington within 21-13. The Redskins twice overcame penalties that negated touchdowns on the drive to trim the deficit to one possession but moments later failed to recover the onside kick.

Santana Moss forgotten in offense

It took until 3:19 remained in the game for Robert Griffin III to attempt a pass to wide receiver Santana Moss, who appeared to get hurt on the incomplete throw that almost was intercepted.

Panthers teeing off on Robert Griffin III

Trailing by 15 points, the Redskins have become one dimensional, allowing the Panthers pass rush to get pressure on Robert Griffin III. All three of Carolina’s sacks have come in the second half as the Redskins try to come back and avoid falling to 3-6 entering their bye week.

Hitting the road with a quarter still to go

And this was BEFORE the Panthers scored for a 21-6 lead.

Panthers go ahead, 21-6

Cam Newton has the Panthers in front of the Redskins in the fourth quarter, 21-6. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Quarterback Cam Newton scored on a one-yard sneak to give the Panthers a 21-6 lead with 12:47 left in the game. Two plays earlier, Newton completed an 82-yard pass to wide receiver Armanti Edwards, and on the ensuing snap, Redskins cornerback Josh Wilson was called for pass interference on wide receiver Steve Smith in the end zone to put the ball at the 1.

Warren Sapp dislikes the Redskins’ effort and their uniforms

Redskins and the issue of composure

Playing solid, disciplined football has been an issue all season, as Mark Maske wrote this morning (focusing on three critical moments when the team lost its composure earlier this season). Judging by comments on this offensive possession, it remains an issue:

From RSH says ‘Throw the Ball to Morgan more!’ comes this comment:

I’m not understanding how a Shanny led team is so undisciplined… Way too many penalties..

Third quarter takeaway… Redskins actually seem in control of flow of play now

The Redskins actually seem to be in control of the flow of play as the fourth quarter begins. But they trail by eight points and must get some points out of this drive, even if it’s only a field goal. The Panthers are a losing team that has made a habit of losing close games this season.


Big stand by Redskins defense

Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson filled the gap on third down and one to stop fullback Mike Tolbert well short of a first down. The Panthers had managed to overcome second down and 15 after a delay of game to set up third and short, but the Redskins swarmed Tolbert in the backfield to force a punt.

Redskins pull within 14-6

Place kicker Kai Forbath booted his second field goal, this from 25 yards, to pull the Redskins within one possession, 14-6, with 6:07 left in the third quarter. The Redskins were unable to reach the end zone after driving inside the Panthers 10-yard line.

Redskins force three and out

The Redskins got a break when tight end Greg Olsen dropped a pass from Cam Newton that would have been a first down. It was the first three and out of the game for the Panthers.


Second quarter takeaway… Redskins leave the field to some scattered boos

The Redskins left the field to some scattered boos at halftime at FedEx Field trailing the Panthers, 14-3. Even if Mike Pereira was right that the Panthers’ first-quarter touchdown should have been disallowed because of an inadvertent whistle, that doesn’t mean Carolina wouldn’t have scored on that drive, anyway. The fourth-down play at the goal line didn’t work, but no one should have had a problem with the ball being put in the hands of Robert Griffin III for him to try to make the play. Whether or not the play should have gone wide toward the sideline is another question. That’s open to debate, given how well the quarterback draw straight ahead has worked down close to the end zone. There’s not much excuse for the Redskins defense allowing the Panthers to go the length of the field for a touchdown after that, though.


Panthers take 14-3 lead

Quarterback Cam Newton has the Panthers leading the Redskins, 14-3, just before halftime. (Associated Press)

Even an injured thumb couldn’t prevent quarterback Cam Newton from completing a 19-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Steve Smith with 1:03 left until halftime for a 14-3 lead. Cornerback Josh Wilson was in single coverage, and Smith turned to make the catch while falling in the end zone. It was the first touchdown of the season for Smith.

Redskins stopped on fourth down

Robert Griffin III, Redskins trail 7-3 in second quarter. (Getty)

The Redskins had been 10 for 11 on fourth down until Robert Griffin III was stopped on the 17th play of the drive, allowing the Panthers to take over at their 3-yard line. Washington failed to get points on a possession that lasted more than 10 minutes.

Alfred Morris back in the game

Redskins running back Alfred Morris apparently is fine. He just came back and carried on pitch around the right side.

Trainers attending to Alfred Morris

Redskins running back Alfred Morris is out of the game with what appears to be a hurt shoulder. Trainers were examining the rookie on the sideline, and Evan Royster entered the game in his place.

Mike Pereira on the whistle on the Panthers’ touchdown

Mike Periera, the former NFL’s head of officials, is now a Fox commentator and he, like everyone, heard a ref’s whistle on DeAngelo Williams’s touchdown run.

“Yeah, I did. He blew it erroneously. Sometimes you anticipate things when you shouldn’t have. Nobody is going to feel worse than he is when he actually sees this on replay. It’s clear that he did react and kill the clock and blew the whistle and you have to stay with it, even though you know you might be wrong. It is the NFL, even though you made a mistake on the field, you’ve got to suck it up and live up to it and he didn’t.”

First quarter takeaway: Panthers having little trouble moving the ball

   The Panthers are having little trouble moving the ball on the Redskins defense and lead, 7-3, after the first quarter. The Redskins actually have been fairly sturdy on defense against the run, for the most part, this season. But the Panthers ran the ball with ease on their second drive. They also moved the ball on their first drive before stalling because of a couple inaccurate throws by Cam Newton. The positive for the Redskins was that kicker Kai Forbath remains reliable.


Panthers take 7-3 lead

Running back DeAngelo Williams turned the corner around the right side for a 30-yard touchdown run to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead with 33 seconds in the first quarter. Williams did a nice job of keeping his feet inbounds along the right sideline while avoiding defenders on the way to the end zone. Great seal blocking on the right side too by the offensive line. The inadvertent whistle didn’t help the Redskins either.

Redskins strike first, 3-0

Place kicker Kai Forbath’s 47-yard field goal with 4:26 left in the first quarter gives the Redskins a 3-0 lead. A holding penalty on left tackle Trent Williams cost Washington field position on a drive that looked as if it were heading into the end zone. The Redskins did get running back Alfred Morris going against the league’s 20th-ranked rush defense, which bodes well for the offense.

Panthers intent on throwing

The Panthers appear to be showing no respect for the Redskins pass defense, and if it weren’t for a poor throw by Cam Newton intended for a ridiculously wide open Steve Smith, they well could be leading 7-0. At this point there’s no reason for Carolina to run the ball if the Redskins are playing that far off the line of scrimmage.

Redskins gallery

Great photos from our staff at FedEx Field. Give it a look:

Sean Taylor’s dad and the defense

Sean Taylor’s father, Pedro “Pete” Taylor, with members of the Redskins’ defense before the game …

Redskins throwback uniforms

Backup Kirk Cousins modesl the Redskins’ throwback uniform. (Associated Press)

So what do you think of the throwbacks? Certainly better than those awful getups the Steelers wore last week, right?

It’s throwback day

Thankfully, the Redskins’ throwback textiles are far less of an assault on the eyes than the Steelers’ stripey togs from last week. Nice throwback sweatshirt, even.

Fantasy focus: Redskins vs. Panthers

Robert Griffin III is a must-start again, and assuming his teammates don’t drop another 10 passes, he’s in line for another productive afternoon, especially if Alfred Morris can get going in the running game. Morris owners should get him in their starting lineups against the league’s 20th-ranked rush defense. Cam Newton owners have been miserable most of the season, but if ever there were a day to be hopeful, this is it. The Redskins have the worst pass defense in the league, and even mediocre quarterbacks such as Christian Ponder have had productive outings against their secondary this season. Also look for a lot of production from Steve Smith, given that every other No. 1 wide receiver the Redskins have faced has put up big numbers.

RGIII vs. Cam

The most discussed storyline in this afternoon’s game is the matchup between Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton. Griffin is thriving as a rookie after the Redskins selected him with the No. 2 overall pick while Newton is not producing nearly to the level of when he was a rookie last season. But as important as the quarterback are, the result could come down to which team runs the ball better. The Redskins almost certainly will try to establish Alfred Morris after he gained just 59 yards on 13 carries last week in a loss to the Steelers. The Panthers, meantime, are working Jonathan Stewart back into the starting lineup after injuries early this season.