Another prime time disappoint for the Redskins drops them to 7-6-1 and in the 8th seed in the NFC playoff standings after a 26-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers. One of the main issues with the Redskins on Monday night was the lack of physicality and no sense of urgency. This makes the Redskins 3-6 on primetime games under head coach Jay Gruden, and 2-16 on “Monday Night Football” games at home since being at Fedex Field in 1997. It’s an ugly record and history of constantly not being ready for a primetime spotlight, and the Redskins once again lived up to their reputation against Carolina.
The Panthers were in total control of the line of scrimmage Monday night. Quarterback Cam Newton had a comfortable pocket to throw in and exposed the deficiencies and incompetence in the secondary. The constant breakdowns in coverage has been a theme for this defense season long, whether it is linebackers in coverage or the defensive backs. The key to getting a victory defensively was containing the trio of Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, and Jonathan Stewart.
Of the 438 total yards given up by Washington, Cam accounted for 300, Olsen for 85, and Stewart for 140 total yards. This game marks the ninth straight week where the defense has given up 20 points or more in a game, and the 10th time in 11 weeks. The time of possession was dominated by the Panthers as well, with nearly a 10-minute difference. The inability to make key plays in big moments contributed to this time of possession advantage, as there was hardly any pressure on Cam, and there were no turnovers caused by the defense to help themselves get off the field. When the season is on the line one can expect a team to put forth their best effort, but it just seemed the defense was just going through the motions as motivation was lacking throughout the game.
The fault is not just on the defense, it is on the coaching staff and offense as well. A golden opportunity for this team after a Tampa Bay loss should motivate any team as they are in control of their own destiny, however the best aspect of the team came out completely flat and the offensive line had their hands full all night.
A run game needed to be present in a Redskins victory, but it was inept all night causing offensive coordinator Sean McVay to essentially abandon it late in the third quarter. The Redskins finished the night with 13 attempts for 29 yards, and Robert Kelley finished with nine carries for eight yards, not even a 1 yard per carry average last night.
The game was in quarterback Kirk Cousins’ hands last night, and he failed to get the job done. Credit to Carolina for playing sound zone coverage, however Kirk Cousins accuracy was pretty off throughout the night and was indecisive after throwing an interception to end the first quarter. The coaching staff was thoroughly out-coached last night, as Sean McVay and Jay Gruden seemed to be out of solutions to counter the zone looks from the defense of Carolina.
The Redskins have still have a glimmer of hope for the postseason if they win their last two games, but the last four games in which they only came out with one victory shows many that their deficiencies have overcome the team in attempts to make a playoff push. The Redskins face a very tough Chicago Bears team on the road followed by a very good New York Giants team. They will have their hands full these last two weeks and one can only hope that the sense of urgency is awoken in a team that showed no fight in a primetime slot against Carolina.