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Week 6 Game Recap: Carolina Panthers 17, Washington Redskins 23


What you need to know

Carolina Panthers

Three costly turnovers, one of which was a special teams gaffe by D.J. Moore, consigned the Panthers offense to comeback mode for the majority of this game. The offensive line held up admirably throughout, affording Cam Newton ample time to scan the field. However, Newton's accuracy proved a problem as several passes including two at the end of the game - were wide and uncatchable for their intended targets. The Panthers made good use of the zone read to get Newton involved as a runner, and he capitalised on some excellent blocking. Devin Funchess may not have lit up the box score, but he looked every bit his six-foot-five frame as he snatched some difficult passes throughout. Christian McCaffrey was primarily snuffed out as a runner but found little room as a pass catcher either; he was mostly an outlet for Newton when other options were covered, but Washington generally corralled him quickly. Moore made his mistakes, coughing up two fumbles, but remained a part of the offense and made some tough grabs over the middle. The return of Greg Olsen was a muted one overall, but the tight end looked comfortable and played most of the snaps. A limp defensive effort could mean this offense will see more comeback efforts in the near future.

Washington Redskins

Alex Smith has to get more out of his receivers if Washington plans on building any momentum on offense. Washington will also need for Alex to be consistent on third downs in order to at least keep the run game consistent. Inconsistent offensive and defensive line play has been a problem as well. Washington has to get more consistent play upfront and front on offense and better play from their receivers to really make a push in the NFC East. The defense has played well enough at times but the offense has to be able to score. Next week will be another huge test as they face off against Dallas' stout front seven.

Carolina Panthers

QB Cam Newton, 60 offensive snaps, Pass: 27 - 40 - 275 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 9 - 43 - 0
Cam Newton was forced to play from behind for most of the game after early turnovers killed promising drives. The offense was clicking early, mixing run with pass efficiently, with some scampers by Newton thrown in. The offensive line put in an excellent shift as pass blockers, providing Newton plenty of time to survey the field. Newton connected particularly well with Devin Funchess, who consistently got open on high degree of difficulty catches. Newton lost his composure on his lone interception, feeling the pocket collapse and chucking a ball downfield speculatively. To add insult to injury, it was picked off by former teammate Josh Norman. Newton was at times scattershot with his accuracy as is his wont, but generally he orchestrated the offense cleanly. His first touchdown pass came on a beautiful deep shot to Devin Funchess. Newton threw the pass high on purpose so that Funchess could high-point it, and the receiver obliged with a tremendous play over the defensive back's head. Newton missed a pair of opportunities on straightforward passes; one a deep shot to Olsen that was overthrown, the second a low pass to Christian McCaffrey that, had it been at chest height, could have secured a first down in a crucial situation. Newton's second touchdown pass came on a simple shallow crossing route to Torrey Smith, who lost his defender in coverage at the goal line. It was a controlled performance from Newton for the most part, but one that was pockmarked by inconsistencies and stacked odds.

RB Christian McCaffrey, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 20 - 0, Rec: 7 - 46 - 0 (8 targets)
Christian McCaffrey dominating both via the air and the ground has become commonplace this season - but this game proved to be a different story. Early on, Carolina's offense appeared to be humming along, with McCaffrey making excellent cuts and decisions to churn out some yards on the ground. However, it all changed after the Redskins began to build a lead, forcing the offense to go pass-happy. McCaffrey was clearly an emphasis of the Washington defense; it seemed every time the running back caught a pass, he was instantly corralled. However, at times he was able to find some room to work underneath and looked good after the catch. McCaffrey was targeted at the end of the game on a wheel route in the end zone, but the ball was out of his reach.

WR Devin Funchess, 58 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 74 - 1 (8 targets)
Devin Funchess bossed whoever he was up against throughout this game, connecting well with Cam Newton and leaving Washington defensive backs frustrated. Funchess ran some excellent routes, displaying good timing with his quarterback on comebacks and outside-breaking timing patterns. A deep target thrown his way in the first half resulted in an interception, but the blame fell on a careless Newton, who tossed it up for grabs as the pocket was collapsing. Funchess caught his lone touchdown of the game not long after, executing a beautiful slant-and-go move to get position on the cornerback. The ball was floated up high for the taller Funchess to grab, which he did over the cornerback's head despite his facemask being tugged. Funchess showed off his vicegrip-like hands, extending the ball away from his body with one hand to show the referees he had caught it. Funchess was targeted again in the end zone as time was running out, but Newton's pass was well over his head and uncatchable.

WR D.J. Moore, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 18 - 0, Rec: 4 - 59 - 0 (5 targets)
D.J. Moore endured a forgettable outing against Washington, coughing up the football twice - once in open play, once on special teams - to gift Washington a lead they would never surrender. Moore's fumble on a punt return, his first, was a classic case of not knowing when to go down. Spotting an opportunity to make a play, Moore showed poor ball security technique, holding the ball extended away from his body, and it was knocked loose. The second fumble was an excellent play by Josh Norman, who used a punch popularised by former Panther Charles Tillman to pop the ball out. The coaching staff, to their credit, stuck with the rookie and he was a factor throughout. Moore made tough grabs over the middle, ran a variety of routes and even dashed around the corner on an 18-yard jet sweep, showing his prowess as a run-after-catch weapon.

WR Torrey Smith, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (5 targets)
Torrey Smith was the forgotten man in the passing game in the first half, only to come alive in the second. Smith announced himself with a slick catch on a low throw from Cam Newton, then began to make hay with shorter routes designed to get him the ball quickly against soft coverage. Smith cashed in after being targeted three times on one drive, losing his defender in coverage on a shallow crossing pattern on the goal line. Newton spotted him wide open and tossed him an easy touchdown pass. Smith caught the subsequent two-point conversion pass on essentially the same play. It was a case of better late than never for Smith, who showed up for his quarterback when needed.

WR Jarius Wright, 37 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (3 targets)
The slot receiver was limited to a single catch in the two-minute offense at the end of regulation. Despite D.J. Moore's turnovers, it was the rookie who was given the lion's share of the snaps opposite Devin Funchess.

WR Curtis Samuel, 3 offensive snaps
After scoring his first NFL touchdown last week, Curtis Samuel was a non-factor in the passing game. His primary duty was to return kicks, one of which he carried out to the 40-yard line, only to be called back by penalty. It was rookie D.J. Moore who assumed the outside receiver role opposite Devin Funchess, with Samuel only getting spot duty.

TE Greg Olsen, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 48 - 0 (7 targets)
It proved to be a game of missed opportunities, not only for the returning Greg Olsen, but for the entire Carolina offense. Their opportunities limited due to a clock-eating Redskins offense, Olsen was a frequent target of Cam Newton. Most of his catches came on short passes quick outs, a tight end screen but he made a beautiful sliding grab on a ground ball from Newton in the two-minute drill. A deep target sailed agonisingly over his head as Newton put a little too much touch on the football. With the Panthers set up near the Redskins' goal line at the end of regulation, Olsen appeared to get open on a pivot route, and looked visibly frustrated as his quarterback opted for a pass to the corner of the end zone.


Washington Redskins

QB Alex Smith, 70 offensive snaps, Pass: 21 - 36 - 163 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 13 - 0
Alex Smith started this game fast as he converted consecutive red zone trips with a touchdown. Both scores were passes and relatively easy to convert. The first touchdown came after a turnover which immediately put Washington in scoring position. Alex did an excellent job of finding his receiver on busted coverage downfield. The second touchdown of the game came in the red zone where he found his receiver in the back of the endzone from the ten yard line. This ended up being their last touchdown of the game as they settled for a field goal on the next scoring opportunity. Alex struggled in the second half as the offense sputtered and had several stalled drives. Washington didn't score the entire third quarter. Alex did a poor job of converting on third downs as he was often erratic and indecisive in the second half. An early fourth quarter field goal was the only points scored for the Washington offense in the second half. Alex failed to throw for two hundred yards which shows how anemic the passing performed.

RB Adrian Peterson, 37 offensive snaps, Rush: 17 - 97 - 0 (1 targets)
Adrian Peterson ran hard and had positive gains the majority of this game. Because of favorable game script, Adrian was able to absorb seventeen carries. He also averaged 5.7 yards per carry which shows just how productive he was when his name was called. It was an impressive performance considering Adrian was playing with a injured shoulder. Adrian couldn't convert on a couple of carries inside the red zone or else he could have had an even bigger day. As long as the game is close Washington can use Adrian's running prowess so today he was busy. Washington's offense had issues staying on the field so Adrian's carries didn't reach 20+. He has a couple of carries that went over ten yards that showed he is still explosive when allowed to catch a rhythm.

RB Kapri Bibbs, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 11 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (2 targets)
Kapri Bibbs came in the game to provide a breather for Adrian but only recorded two carries. He wasn't a big part of the offense in this game.

WR Maurice Harris, 44 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 6 - 0, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (4 targets)
Maurice Harris caught three passes but wasn't really a factor in this game. As the offense faltered passing the ball it wasn't much production to spread around.

WR Paul Richardson, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 3 - 31 - 1 (5 targets)
Paul Richardson caught one of only two touchdowns scored on the day. He hauled in three catches on five targets. His touchdown catch came in the redzone as he shook loose from his defender in the back of the endzone for the score. As the offense sputtered in the second half, Paul didn't really have much opportunity to have a bigger day.

WR Josh Doctson, 59 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (6 targets)
Josh Doctson wasn't very effective in this game as he turned six targets into just twenty yards. Alex misfired a few times when targeting Josh but most of the passes were short routes. Alex took two shots downfield to Josh but they weren't able to connect. He will have to start getting more chances in the redzone in order to have more effective games.

WR Brian Quick, 11 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (2 targets)
Brian Quick is the last receiver on the depth chart so it will be difficult for him to gain production. He had two catches in this game for twelve yards.

TE Jordan Reed, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 36 - 0 (9 targets)
Jordan Reed had one of his busier days catching the ball as he tallied 5 receptions. The yardage was minimal as it totaled thirty-six. Jordan converted on a couple of big first down catches but otherwise had a quiet day.

TE Vernon Davis, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 48 - 1 (3 targets)
Vernon Davis showed his big play potential as he hauled in a thirty yard touchdown. It ended up being a busted coverage but his ability to attack the seams up field was on full display. His other two catches were short but Vernon was able to record one of the two touchdown catches in this game.