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.
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 former stars. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams, who had a 30-yard touchdown score, 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 Redskins (3-6) lost their third straight. Already leading the NFL in penalties entering the game, Washington committed 13 for 97 yards.
That’s what nauseates you, Shanahan said.
Shanahan, 14-27 in his third season with the Redskins, 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, Shanahan said. I’ll get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at.
Griffin remains the Redskins’ must-watch player. He completed 23 of 39 passes for 215 yards, ran 11 times for 53 yards and was sacked four times.