Redskins flounder again on road, fall to Panthers 44-16
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Washington Redskins might be all right this season if they could just play every game at home.
Because they struggle mightily on the road.
The Redskins lost 44-16 to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday to fall to 0-5 away from home, where they have been outscored 162-86. They have lost nine straight overall on the road going back to last season.
The loss was especially discouraging for the Redskins after beating the New Orleans Saints 47-14 last week at home.
Still, the Redskins (4-6) are only one game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East.
“It’s going to be important to get a few wins here before the season is over to give us a chance,” said quarterback Kirk Cousins, who turned the ball over three times and was sacked five times in the loss.
Washington’s only touchdown on offense came on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to DeSean Jackson. The Redskins were held to 14 yards rushing on 12 carries and Alfred Morris left the game with a rib injury.
“I don’t have an answer for it,” Jackson said of the team’s road woes. “It didn’t look good and we got our butts kicked. We’ve got to figure it out.”
Cam Newton threw a career-high five touchdowns passes as the Panthers improved to 10-0 on the season.
Newton completed 21 of 34 passes for 246 yards and threw TD passes to five different receivers as Carolina stretched its regular-season win streak to 14 games, including eight straight at home.
The Panthers are the 16th team in the Super Bowl era to start 10-0. Of the previous 15, all made the playoffs and nine have advanced to the Super Bowl, with six winning it all.
The Panthers (10-0) scored 27 points off five Washington turnovers, three of those by Cousins.
Newton became the first Carolina quarterback in franchise history to throw four TD passes in the first half as the Panthers jumped out to a 31-14 lead.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 102 yards on 21 carries and caught a 12-yard touchdown pass. Mike Tolbert, Greg Olsen, Ted Ginn Jr. and Devin Funchess also caught TD passes.
“Between the fumbles and the picks, we had a couple short fields,” Olsen said. “You’ve got to take advantage of them. We didn’t sit on them. I know we scored a lot of touchdowns, and that’s obviously what you’re looking for.”
Andre Roberts had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown for the Redskins.
With the game tied at 14 in the second quarter, Newton led an eight-play 92-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 2-yard TD pass to Ginn.
The Redskins had a 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Chris Culliver called back on the drive when officials ruled he had delivered an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit on Olsen before the interception.
The game turned from there with the Panthers scoring 30 consecutive points.
“That’s a 14-point turn right there,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “The referee made a decision, made a call, and it’s not challengeable, so there’s really no use talking about it.”
On Washington’s next possession, rookie Matt Jones — filling in for Alfred Morris, who left in the first quarter with a rib injury — was stripped of the ball by Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis recovered at the Redskins 24.
Newton found Olsen on a crossing route for a 9-yard TD pass to push the lead to 28-14.
Kony Ealy had a strip-sack of Cousins on Washington’s next possession and recovered the ball at the Carolina 38 leading to Graham Gano’s field goal at the end of the first half.
Carolina’s momentum carried into the second half as Bene Benwikere sacked Cousins on the first play from scrimmage on a cornerback blitz, jarring the ball loose and recovering at the Redskins 20. Newton found Funchess for his franchise-tying fifth TD pass of the game to give Carolina a 38-14 lead.
With a game on Thursday at Dallas, Panthers coach Ron Rivera removed most of his starters with his team up 44-14.
The Panthers became the first NFL team to go 10-0 after having a losing record the previous season, according to STATS.
NOTES: Roberts’ 99-yard kickoff for a touchdown was the first allowed by the Panthers in 100 games. ... Olsen became the Panthers career leader in yards receiving by a tight end, passing Wesley Walls. ... The Panthers have run for at least 100 yards in 21 straight games. ... Left tackle Trent Williams left the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed knee injury.
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