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Landover, Md. • So much for Cam Newton vs. Robert Griffin III. For the ticked-off players in the visitor's locker room, it was more like the Carolina Panthers vs. Sonny Jurgensen, Sam Huff and Bobby Mitchell.
Newton and the Panthers broke a five-game losing streak Sunday, topping Griffin and the penalty-prone Washington Redskins 21-13, prompting coach Mike Shanahan to essentially throw in the towel on the season. Newton threw for 201 yards, ran for 37, played part of the game with a bloodied thumb and didn't look his usual disconsolate self when he sat with the familiar white towel on his head between drives.
But what really fired up Newton and his teammates was the fact that they had been deemed the "homecoming" opponent by the Redskins, who wore 1937 throwback uniforms and welcomed back dozens of former stars. Carolina's DeAngelo Williams, whose 30-yard touchdown score was his longest run of the season, was so miffed that he raised the issue in a pregame speech and still had the Game Day program sitting in his locker after the game and said he might frame it.
"I look on there and it says 'homecoming.' And I'm thinking to myself: This is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming," Williams said. "And it's not like you tried to hide it you blatantly put it on the front of the Game Day. And you're talking about somebody fired up today? I was [ticked]."
The Panthers entered the game with their season fading fast after four consecutive losses by a combined 12 points. There were questions about whether the team had any leaders and whether Newton had the makeup to assume such a role. Now, at least for a week, such questions get a hiatus.
"It's a huge morale thing," said Steve Smith, whose 19-yard reception in the second quarter was his first TD of the season. "Times are tough right now, and it's good to build on."
Shanahan now foresees another year out of the playoffs. "You lose a game like that, now you're playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come," he said. Panthers 21,Redskins 13
Carolina 7 7 0 7 21
Washington 3 0 3 7 13
Was • FG Forbath 47, 4:20.
Car • D.Williams 30 run (Medlock kick), :24.
Car • Smith 19 pass from Newton (Medlock kick), :57.
Was • FG Forbath 25, 6:02.
Car • Newton 1 run (Medlock kick), 12:46.
Was • Royster 2 run (Forbath kick), 1:28.
Attendance • 79,767.
First downs 18 24
Total Net Yards 330 337
Rushes-yards 27-129 32-151
Passing 201 186
Punt Returns 2-8 2-(-4)
Kickoff Returns 2-49 3-55
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 13-23-0 23-39-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 4-29
Punts 5-32.2 3-45.7
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-yards 7-60 13-97
Time of Possession 24:40 35:20
Rushing • Carolina, Stewart 10-51, Newton 8-37, D.Williams 6-37, Tolbert 3-4. Washington, Morris 13-76, Griffin III 11-53, Morgan 1-9, Royster 4-6, Banks 1-3, Young 1-3, Briscoe 1-1.
Passing • Carolina, Newton 13-23-0-201. Washington, Griffin III 23-39-0-215.
Receiving • Carolina, Olsen 5-48, Smith 3-41, A.Edwards 1-82, Barnidge 1-13, Tolbert 1-7, Stewart 1-6, Murphy 1-4. Washington, Morgan 6-46, Paulsen 5-59, Hankerson 3-49, Royster 3-30, Banks 2-(minus 7), Paul 1-22, Briscoe 1-8, A.Robinson 1-6, Moss 1-2.
Missed Field Goals • Carolina, Medlock 50 (SH).