EditorsNote: minor changes
Alex Smith threw for two touchdowns and the Washington Redskins made a final defensive stand to defeat the mistake-prone Carolina Panthers 23-17 on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
The Panthers, who never led in the game and were attempting to match the franchise’s biggest comeback by digging out of a 17-point hole, reached the Washington 16-yard line in the final minute before turning the ball over on downs with three straight incompletions.
Smith completed 21 of 36 passes for 163 yards for the Redskins, who were fresh off the losing end of a throttling Monday night in New Orleans.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was 27-for-40 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Newton’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Torrey Smith allowed the Panthers (3-2) to pull within 20-17 with 8:32 left after a two-point conversion connection - again from Newton to Smith.
The Redskins (3-2) added Dustin Hopkins’ 29-yard field goal with 3:15 to play.
After building a 17-6 lead in the second quarter, the Redskins held four consecutive possessions in Carolina territory but didn’t have anything to show for those until Hopkins’ career-long 56-yard field goal with 12:46 remaining in the game. That pushed the lead to 20-9.
Washington running back Adrian Peterson gained 97 yards on 17 carries.
The Redskins scored first when Smith threw 22 yards to tight end Vernon Davis. That play came on the first snap after Panthers punt returner D.J. Moore fumbled.
Later in the first quarter, the Redskins went up 14-0 on Smith’s 2-yard toss to Paul Richardson.
It was 17-0 after Hopkins made a 49-yard field goal with 5:30 left in the first half.
Even when the Panthers scored on Newton’s 23-yard pass to Devin Funchess with 3:05 to play in the second quarter, it was followed by Graham Gano’s missed extra point. It was his first attempt since a game-winning 63-yard field goal a week earlier against the New York Giants.
Gano’s 32-yard field goal to cap Carolina’s first possession of the second half closed the margin to 17-9.
Moore, a rookie receiver playing in the state where he was a college standout for Maryland, fumbled twice in the first half.
Redskins cornerback Josh Norman intercepted a pass and forced a fumble in the first half. He’s a former Panthers standout who has feuded with Newton in the past, but he hadn’t had an interception since the 2016 season.
—Field Level Media