WAS-CAR Grades: Newton, Kuechly slice through Washington
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Panthers’ 44-16 win over Washington:
– Kirk Cousins (-1.6) had one deep pass to DeSean Jackson (+0.5), but outside of that pass, it was the old Cousins at quarterback. Relying on check-downs and shorter passes, Cousins only threw beyond 10 yards seven times, with one interception and the one touchdown pass to Jackson, on 29 aimed passes. After the success Washington had after the catch last week, they were once again forced to face reality against the the Panthers, with only 84 yards after the catch. The Panthers were able to close quickly and tackle efficiently, neutralizing the Washington passing attack.
– The Washington run game struggled to get anything going; the three running backs combined for 12 yards on 11 carries, with Chris Thompson (-0.1) gaining all 12 yards. Rookie running back Matthew Jones (-2.6) had five attempts for no yards, and once again put the ball on the ground. With only rushing 12 attempts, Washington had to rely on Cousins to move the ball against one of the best defensives in the league.
– The Washington run defense had a mixed bag of a performance; they where able to consistently get into the backfield, causing issues for Jonathan Stewart. However, the inability to tackle the ball carrier when he was stopped in the backfield was a major issue. Washington had 12 missed tackles this week, as they struggled to stop drives. The only saving grace for Washington’s defense against the run was Chris Baker (+2.5), who had a +4.9 run defense grade, and is now the 14th-ranked interior defender at 87.3.
DL Chris Baker (+2.5)
KR Andre Roberts (+2.)
S Dashon Goldson (+1.8)
P Tress Way (+1.6)
WR Pierre Garçon (+1.5)
– Cam Newton (+2.5) was clinical when not facing pressure, obtaining a 72 percent completion rate and a +3.5 grade. However, when Washington was able to get to Newton, the Panthers’ passing game struggled. He only completed 33 percent of his passes for 6 yards when pressured. Newton was highly effective between 10–19 yards, especially in the middle of the field, where he only had one incompletion on six attempts.
– With the Panthers blowing out Washington early in the game, most of Carolina’s starting players played under 40 snaps. Luke Kuechly (+3.3) continued with the high level play that we have come to expect. He was all over the field and racked up four stops on five tackles, and also forced a fumble on a running play, where he was able to punch the ball out of Matthew Jones’ (-2.6) hands.
– Josh Norman (+0.2) had his second-lowest grade of the season; he too was able to force a fumble, this time against Jordan Reed, but allowed all four passes targeted at him to be completed. Those four passes went for a total of 33 yards, and he allowed minimal yards after the catch.
LB Luke Kuechly (+3.3)
QB Cam Newton (+2.5)
CB Bené Benwikere (+2.4)
S Roman Harper (+1.9)
OL Amini Silatolu (+1.7)