The Panthers fell to 3-2 after a hard fought loss to the Washington Redskins as they were unable to overcome 17-0 deficit. In the first half of the game, the Panthers turned the ball over three times which led to 10 Redskins points. The Panthers staged a late, second half rally but came up short in the final minutes.
The Redskins beat the Panthers at their own game. On defense, they were able to force three turnovers and put their offense in favorable positions. On offense, the Redskins controlled the ball with a power run game led by Adrian Peterson who finished with 17 carries for 97 yards. The Redskins dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 35 minutes and 24 seconds, compared to 24 minutes and 36 seconds for the Panthers.
The difference in time of possession proved to be one of the deciding factors in the game. The Panthers only had three possessions in the 2nd half which made it difficult to finish the comeback attempt. The Panthers defense was unable to get off of the field to give the offense more opportunities to get points. The Redskins converted 7 out of 16 third down attempts and one out of two fourth down attempts.
The Panthers defense appears to be a unit that is still struggling to find to find its identity. Heading into the matchup against the Eagles, the Panthers defense ranks 15th in rushing yards per game given up, which is the team’s lowest ranking since 2014. The unit is giving up an average of 4.6 yards per carry which ranks 23rd in the league. The Panthers defense is also one of the five worst in defending 3rd and “medium” (3-6 yards) situations. According to NFL Matchup, the Panthers defense allows first downs on 53.8 percent of opponents’ 3rd and medium situations.
Given the uncharacteristic performance of the Panthers defense, I decided to focus the Week 6 breakdown solely on the struggles of the Panthers defense. I take a look at each of the Redskins key plays of offense that led to touchdowns or allowed them to sustain drives. Based on my observations, I believe that the Panthers defensive problems are fixable and it comes down to players being more disciplined with their assignments and coaching adding some wrinkles to the defense to make their pass coverages more effective.
Enjoy the video and let me know what you think. These are things that will hopefully be corrected as the team heads to Philadelphia in an important road matchup.