Both the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins had to expect to go into halftime tied at six, but a Jabar Gaffney fumble late in the second quarter gave the Panthers the ball in scoring position. Three plays later, Olindo Mare knocked in a 45-yard field goal for the Panthers to take a 9-6 lead at the half.
The Redskins continue to be turnover prone, and this week Rex Grossman cannot be blamed. John Beck started the game for the Redskins, and fumbled in the first quarter. Beck has been mediocre thus far, completing 50 percent of his passes for less than 60 yards. The Redskins run game has looked impressive though, led by Tim Hightower with 78 yards.
The Panthers offense has moved the ball efficiently. Cam Newton has thrown for over 100 yards, most of that to all-world wideout Steve Smith. Panther running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have both contributed on the ground along with Newton. However, Carolina has been victimized by penalties.
Injuries continue to hurt the Redskins. Leading receiver Santana Moss exited the game with a left arm injury, on top of injuries last week to offensive linemen Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger. For the Redskins to win this game, long offensive drives need to end in touchdowns, not field goals.
It will be interesting to see how coach Mike Shanahan deploys his running backs in the second half and whether Ryan Torain will get any carries. In the first half, Torain has none.
For more on the Washington Redskins, check out SB Nation's Washington Redskins blog Hogs Haven. For more on the Redskins vs. Panthers showdown, visit this StoryStream. For more on the Panthers, visit SB Nation's Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader.