REPORT CARD VS. REDSKINS

For the second straight week, the Panthers needed a touchdown on their final drive and quarterback Jake Delhomme delivered. Delhomme led the Panthers 71 yards in seven plays with less than five minutes to play.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- For the second straight week, the Panthers needed a touchdown on their final drive and quarterback Jake Delhomme delivered. Delhomme led the Panthers 71 yards in seven plays with less than five minutes to play. It marked the third time this season Delhomme has engineered a fourth quarter comeback. Delhomme threw for 317 yards and although he was picked off twice neither of the interceptions were his fault. Both were the result of receivers having easily catchable balls bounce off their hands. Champ Bailey bottled up Steve Smith (4 catches, 50 yards) for most of the game, but Muhsin Muhammad finally had a breakout game with nine catches for 189 yards. Muhammad did fumble once and had another bobbled ball that resulted in an interception. Davis had two big catches for 40 yards, including a 25-yarder on fourth-and-1 to keep alive the game-winning drive.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Once again, the Panthers ran into an opponent that stacked the front making it difficult for Stephen Davis to run the football. Still, the Panthers stuck with their strength and ground out 110 yards on 35 carries. Stephen Davis ran for 92 yards on 28 carries against his former team, but none bigger than last 7 on his final two carries, including a 3-yard touchdown run. Davis appeared bothered by nerves early on and fumbled on his first carry of the game. But he came back to have a solid day and become only the second Panthers running back to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

PASS DEFENSE: C-plus -- For the second straight week, Carolina's defense played a perfect three quarters only to allow a pair of fourth quarter touchdown passes. The Panthers still need to learn how to close out an opponent. The defensive line deserves credit, however, as they sacked Patrick Ramsey three times and intercepted him once.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-plus -- The Redskins could never get anything going on the ground against the Panthers and were held to 54 yards on 22 carries. Carolina's front four was outstanding, led by defensive tackles Kris Jenkins and Brentson Buckner and Shane Burton. The Redskins could have taken control of the game early on, but Buckner stripped Rock Cartwright of the ball at the goal line on Washington's first possession and Burton recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Panthers kicker John Kasay had made 21 straight field goals prior to missing short from 47 yards and wide right from 54. Kasay did finish 2-for-4 on the day making a couple of short field goals and he's now 22 of 24 for the year. Carolina's coverage teams again were solid, as has come to be expected from coach Scott O'Brien's unit. It seems Todd Sauerbrun's punts need a little more air under them.

COACHING: A-minus -- The Panthers made a couple of brilliant fourth-down calls in Sunday's game, both on play-action passes. Early in the game, the Panthers went for the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the Redskins 1 and Jake Delhomme walked into the end zone on a rollout. Later, Delhomme hit Stephen Davis for a 25-yard gain on a fourth-and-1 to keep the game-winning drive alive. It was a solid team effort as the defense bailed out the offense early in the game and the offense bailed out the defense late in the game. The Panthers turned the ball over three times in the first half, but the defense allowed just three points. In the fourth quarter, the defense allowed two passing touchdowns by Patrick Ramsey, but the offense responded with a game-winning touchdown drive with under five minutes to play. The Panthers still have a four-game lead in the NFC South and are assured only their third non-losing season in team history.


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