Started this in the morning but my apartment lost power for several hours, so it was delayed. This one was painful to do.
Panther's third possession of the second half (in progress)
1-10-W23 – Redskins generate no pressure and Delhomme has plenty of time in the pocket to wait for Steve Smith to go downfield. Delhomme tries to get the ball to him in the corner of the end zone but Carlos Rogers times his jump well and knocks the ball down to prevent a touchdown.
3-8-W21 – Andre Carter threatens the LT upfield, then uses a swim move to beat him back to the inside. Meanwhile Haynesworth rushes to the outside and starts driving the RT back. The RT more or less hangs on, but the RG is so scared of Haynesworth on the outside that he shades in that direction in case he’s needed and a lane is opened up inside for the stunting Orakpo. Orakpo and Carter are each credited with a half sack, but this is yet another play where Haynesworth completely wrecks the opponent’s blocking scheme despite the fact that he is not credited with any sort of stat.
Even with the sack the Panthers are still in field goal range, so they kick to make it 17-12.
Redskins fourth possession
1-10-W20 – Rabach and Mike Williams get overwhelmed but the DTs, but they do manage to hold up for a few seconds and the failure of this play is really about receivers not getting open. It was a three step drop and when Campbell appeared ready to throw he still had time but had nowhere to go. On the TV view we can see Cooley and Sellers in the right flat swarmed by three defenders. Santana was in the slot and tried to get over the middle but he got clobbered by a LB at the line. By the time he got into his route Campbell had already been flushed from the pocket by the pressure up the middle. Kelly had been split wide left and went downfield, but his route was not visible on the broadcast. Campbell rolls to his left to get away from the DT, but Peppers is pursuing him down the line and forces him out right at the line of scrimmage for what technically goes down as a sack.
3-5-W25 – Cooley and Davis both line up off the line a bit, then run intersecting shallow crosses over the middle. All 3 LBs get hung up on Cooley in what is a rather obvious pick (which is illegal but never, ever called) and Davis briefly comes free on the other side of that entanglement. Davis makes the catch 3 yards short and starts to turn in up, but Panthers LB Jon Beason shows great speed to make it around Cooley’s pick, chase down Davis, and make an impressive open field tackle short of the first down. The natural reaction here is to criticize Davis for running his route short of the first down marker. However, staying shallow was the only way to beat the LBs, and the play was clearly designed to get him the ball with room to run. And the play call largely worked as intended – on this one we just have to give credit to Beason for an exceptional play.
Panthers fourth possession
3-5-W44 – Andre Carter gets around LT Jordan Gross on the outside and while Gross still has an arm on him Carter powers past him for the blindside sack.
[It was at exactly this point that the power went out, as if someone was trying to prevent me from reliving what happened next…]
4-14-C46 – The punt is high but only travels about 30 yards downfield. Randle-El comes up to field it, and of course the coverage is already there so a fair catch call is a no-brainer. Byron Westbrook is following his man downfield and does not seem to be aware of how short the kick is. His momentum makes it easier for the Panther to keep him moving back – and because Westbrook was attempting to block apparently it was legal for him to be pushed into ARE despite the fair catch signal. But at this point it was still only a minor disaster. If the ball had been allowed to bounce the Panthers would simply have downed it. But through unbelievably terrible luck, the ball bounces off of Westbrook’s outstretched foot as he and Randle-El are falling, causing it to be a muff. Panthers recover at the 12, and are given a chance to steal a game that until then the Redskins were still in control of.
2-6-W8 – The line seals most of the Redskins front 7 to the inside, but the secondary still has a chance to make this play. Mushin Muhammad lines up in the slot and puts a great block on LaRon Landry. Tryon had man coverage on Muhammad and over pursues to the area where Muhammad would have run his route if he hadn’t stopped to block Landry. Jonathan Stewart runs right through the hole vacated by Tryon.
2-point conversion – Delhomme gets rid of the ball too quickly for pressure to be a factor. The slot receiver runs right at Tryon and throws himself into him as if blocking for a run play. Steve Smith, to the outside, comes in on a quick slant and Carlos Rogers is blocked by the obvious pick by the slot guy.
Panthers 20, Redskins 17. Just like that.
Redskins fifth possession
1-10-W44 – Julius Peppers gets under Derrick Dockery and lays a big hit on Campbell, but he stands in the pocket and gets the ball out just before impact. Devin Thomas has beaten his man badly and Campbell drops the ball perfectly into his hands at the Panthers 18. Thomas drops it. This is making me want to go back to bed.
2-10-W44 – I think this could have been a bigger run. Portis gets a big hole to the left, and Sellers leads through and crushes the first MLB. Meanwhile D’Anthony Batiste has gone straight to the second level and is responsible for the WLB. But all he does is give him a weak shove with his arms rather than sealing him to the inside, and the defender is able to recover from the blow and get past Batiste to stop Portis after 3 yards.
3-7-W47 – A DT blows right past Mike Williams, not with power but with (relative) speed and elusiveness. He gets into the backfield and trips Campbell as he tries to step up. Campbell stops his falls and gets back up, and manages to lunge to the line of scrimmage and picks up 2 yards as he’s dragged down from behind. So if Mike Williams lacks the agility play guard, what made the Redskins think he could ever be an effective tackle?
Panthers fifth possession
3-3-C19 - The Panthers are in pure ball control mode, and badly need this first down to keep us from having a chance to mount a comeback in the last four minutes. They line up in an I formation offset to the right, with twin TEs also to the right. It is a pure power play and it works. The tight ends seal the LDE (couldn’t make out the number) and Orakpo to the inside. DeAngelo Hall is easily handled by the lead blocking FB. Fletcher and Rocky converge on the hole but are met by two linemen pulling all the way from the left side. Our two LBs hold their own in the resulting collision, but just enough space is opened up for the RB to get the critical first down.
The Redskins stuff the next to running plays and only have to hold on a 3rd and long to get the offense the ball back with a little bit more than a minute remaining.
3-8-W25 – The Redskins stack the box expecting the Panthers to try a power run to take 40 seconds off the clock before punting. The entire defense flows to the offensive left following the Panthers line, the fullback, and the RB who received a fake handoff. Delhomme keeps the ball and bootlegs to the opposite direction. DeAngelo Hall gets hands on Delhomme and fails to bring him down with an attempted tackle that has received plenty of attention this week and needs no further comment. He slows him up, and Jarmon is almost able to race over and save the play but he gets there just as Delhomme gets to the first down marker to seal the game.
Two kneel downs and its over.