Newton Wins Duel Between Past Two Heisman Winners
And finally Cam Newton can utter a sigh of relief. Finally, his Panthers were able to hold on to a one-possession lead in the end.
Overall, Newton and Griffin both put together pretty solid performances. Neither Quarterback turned the ball over once and they both featured a solid balance of passing and rushing yards. The difference in the game really came down to the Panthers defense outperforming the Redskins defense and a big catch by Steve Smith.
Newton went 13 for 23 with 201 passing yards, 37 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns (1 pass, 1 rush). It was only the second time this season he completed a game without turning the ball over – something Panthers fans would surely like to see more of in coming seasons: good ball control.
The team’s first touchdown came in the last minute of the first quarter, in a bizarre play where DeAngelo Williams was initially whistled out of bounds by a sideline referee, but Williams kept running into the endzone and after a referee meeting, the play was ruled a touchdown. It was the right call as replays showed rather clearly that Williams didn’t step out of bounds and the Panthers took a 7-3 lead into the second quarter.
The Redskins started the second with a ten-minute, 74-yard drive that included two fourth down conversions and six first downs, but ended with a Panthers defensive stand on the 2-yard line. Newton then led an impressive 98-yard drive in under 5 minutes, ending with a spectacular grab by Steve Smith in the endzone, his first touchdown reception of the year, believe it or not. 14-3 Panthers at the half.
The Redskins kept things in striking distance throughout the second half, but the Panthers defense came up with key plays – 4 sacks in total – and the Redskins defense suffered a few defensive lapses, including a blown coverage on an 82-yard pass play to Armanti Edwards that set up the Panthers’ final touchdown of the day.
Griffin finished the day 23 for 39 with 215 passing yards and 53 rushing yards. He completed passes to 9 different receivers and targeted a total of 11. Alfred Morris put together another solid outing with 76 rushing yards on just 13 carries, but overall Griffin’s supporting cast couldn’t make enough plays.
In a matchup of two of the game’s top young Quarterbacks, Newton gets the first leg-up on Griffin.
The Panthers put a rest to their five-game losing streak and the Redskins will go into their bye week on a three-game skid, falling to 3-6 on the season.