The Washington Redskins fell to 4-6 on the year with a 44-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers Sunday afternoon at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Sunday's matchup between the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers at first had the makings of one of those entertaining, back-and-forth type battles between two NFC foes.
Check out these top photos from the Washington Redskins' 2015 Week 11 matchup against the Carolina Panthers Nov. 22, 2015, at Bank of America Stadium.
But when the Redskins started making critical mistakes, the Panthers cashed in -- time and time again.
And when the Panthers made it obvious they weren't willing to help out with a few mistakes of their own, the score became a reflection of the play on the field.
Washington dropped to 4-6 on the year Sunday with a 44-16 loss to Carolina, which improved to 10-0 to continue its impressive start to the 2015 season.
The Redskins struggled in a few key areas Sunday, most notably with turnovers, with their inability to get the run game going and with some poor tackling on defense:
- In all, Washington turned the ball over five times -- including four lost fumbles -- and Carolina cashed in with 27 points off those turnovers.
- The Redskins collected just 14 rushing yards on the day, led by 10 yards by Chris Thompson. This is one week after Washington ran for 209 yards in a big win over the New Orleans Saints.
- And Washington struggled to contain Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart, who squeezed out of several tackles on Sunday to finish with 102 yards rushing and 12 yards receiving with a touchdown.
The Redskins look to get back on track next Sunday, when they get back to NFC East play in a home matchup against the New York Giants.
Washington is looking to avenge its 32-21 Week 3 loss to New York Sept. 24 at MetLife Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
THIRD QUARTER: Panthers 41, Redskins 14
Turnovers on both ends of the third quarter continued a disappointing trend for the Redskins on Sunday.
Already trailing 31-14 to begin the second half of Sunday's game against the Panthers, Washington received the opening kickoff, which was downed for a touchback.
On their very first play of the quarter, however, Kick Cousins would be hit from behind by an untouched Bene Benwikere, who jarred the ball loose and completed the trifecta by recovering the fumble at the Washington 11.
The Panthers would once again cash in a few plays later. On 3rd and 4 from the Washington 5, Cam Newton found wide receiver Devin Funchess for a touchdown -- Newton's fifth of the game.
The Redskins would be halted on their next couple of drives, and the Panthers would add a 48-yard Graham Gano field goal with 4:08 left in the third to make the score 41-14.
And on Washington's ensuing possession -- one that finally looked promising -- tight end Jordan Reed would cough up the football at the Carolina 35. Luke Kuechly fell on the ball there, once again giving the Panthers an opportunity to drive the nail into the coffin even deeper.
The Panthers are driving into Redskins territory when we begin the fourth quarter.
HALFTIME: Panthers 31, Redskins 14
The Redskins and Panthers took the field for the second quarter on Sunday after a first quarter full of fireworks on both sides.
But the first drives for both teams in the second quarter wouldn't produce similar action, as both Carolina (thanks to a Preston Smith third-down sack) and Washington were forced into three-and-outs.
The fireworks appeared to return on Carolina's ensuing drive, however, when cornerback Chris Culliver made a terrific play to jar a Cam Newton pass to Greg Olsen loose and return it 75 yards for a touchdown. But the officials called a "helmet-to-helmet" personal foul penalty on Culliver, negating the big play for the Washington defense.
Olsen -- a 6-foot-5 tight end -- on the play appeared to duck into the hit by Culliver -- a 6-foot cornerback -- but regardless, they played on.
The Panthers would score four plays later on a one-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr.
And another huge mistake by the Redskins' offense -- this time a lost fumble by Matt Jones -- would give the ball right back to the Panthers on the ensuing drive, and Carolina would make its visitors pay. Newton would connect with Olsen for a five-yard touchdown -- Newton's fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon -- to make the score 28-14 Panthers with just more than five minutes left in the first half.
Washington finally seemed to get a break on their next possession, as Kirk Cousins took a keeper to his left, to the surprise of the Carolina defense, and sprinted down the sideline for a near touchdown.
But a holding call on tight end Jordan Reed negated the play. Cousins would lose a fumble on the next play, only complicating matters further.
Graham Gano would connect from 42 yards out to extend Carolina's lead to 17 heading into the break.
Whether or not you agree with the officials' calls in this game, if you're the Redskins, you cannot make these critical mistakes against the top team in your conference on the road and expect any degree of success. Three turnovers in a half just isn't going to get the job done.
Also, the running game hasn't been there for the Redskins this afternoon. The team's leading rusher at the half? Cousins with four yards. That certainly wasn't the formula for success last week in the Redskins' 47-14 win over the New Orleans Saints.
The Redskins will receive the kickoff to open up the second half.
FIRST QUARTER: Redskins 14, Panthers 14
The opening kickoff was a low wobbler for Dustin Hopkins, who slipped on the kick, and was retrieved at the Carolina 30-yard line by Mike Tolbert, setting up the Panthers at their 38 for their opening drive.
Check out images of the Washington Redskins warming up and taking the field prior to their 2015 Week 11 matchup vs. the Carolina Panthers Nov. 22, 2015, at Bank of America Stadium.
But three plays later, the Panthers were forced to punt after some outstanding defense to open the game. A run on first down was stuffed; Trent Murphy broke through to get to Cam Newton, who threw incomplete, on second down; and Ryan Kerrigan did the same on third down.
After the punt, the Redskins' offense was set up from their own 21 to begin their opening drive.
The drive started promising -- they Redskins converted a first down on a 13-yard pass from Kirk Cousins to Pierre Garçon -- but wouldn't last long, as Cousins, who was flushed out of the pocket, misfired high on a pass attempt to DeSean Jackson, which was intercepted by safety Kurt Coleman.
His 28-yard return set up the Panthers with a 1st and 10 at the Washington 31.
They'd find the end zone three plays later on a 12-yard pass from Newton to Jonathan Stewart.
Not the start the Redskins needed against an undefeated team on the road.
After the kickoff, Washington started its second drive from its 29-yard line, hoping to make up for the critical mistake on their opening charge.
Cousins came out firing, throwing a dart for 17 yards to Garçon. And, two plays later, Washington cashed in, as Cousins found Jackson over the top for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Jackson absolutely turned on the burners on the play, showing off his deep threat capabilities that he flashed throughout last season. His 22 career touchdowns of 50 or more yards ties Joey Galloway for the fifth-most all time since the merger.
The Panthers decided to slow things down on their ensuing drive, and put together a methodical 13-play, 78-yard drive that took 7:45 off the clockn culminating in a three-yard touchdown pass from Newton to Tolbert.
So how would the Redskins respond?
With a 99-yard touchdown return, of course.
Andre Roberts would provide the fireworks on the ensuing kickoff for his first-career return tocuhdown, and, after the extra point, the Redskins had quickly tied the game at 14 with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
Talk about two big responses by the Redskins, who become the first team in the NFL with two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season.