The Series: With the 33-20 victory, the Panthers defeated the Redskins for the third time in their last four meetings. Of the 10 games between Carolina and Washington since the series began in 1995, this represented only the second time that the outcome was not decided by four points or less. The Redskins, who won the first six times the two teams played, lead the all-time series 7-3.
For Starters: Undrafted rookie free agent Byron Bell made his third start at right tackle in place of Jeff Otah, who was placed on injured reserve with a left knee injury (10/19/11). Bell previously started versus Green Bay (9/18/11) and at Atlanta (10/16/11) when Otah was inactive.
Cornerback Darius Butler and linebacker Thomas Williams started as Carolina opened in a nickel defense. It marked the first time this season that the Panthers started the same defensive lineup in consecutive games after fielding a different starting group in the first six contests.
That's Offensive: The game pitted the Panthers' fifth-ranked offense against the Redskins' sixth-ranked defense. Carolina scored 33 points, accumulated 407 yards and converted 41.6 percent of its third downs against Washington, who began the game allowing an average of 16.6 points and 321.6 yards and had a 28.8 percent third-down efficiency rating.
Newton By Air: Quarterback Cam Newton set a team record for the highest completion percentage by a rookie with a 78.3 percent mark, completing 18-of-23 passes for 256 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions to compile a 127.5 quarterback rating - the highest passer rating in team history by a rookie. He bettered the previous highs of a 70.4 completion percentage by Matt Moore versus Seattle (12/16/07) and a 121.8 quarterback rating by Kerry Collins versus Arizona (11/19/95).
In the second half, Newton completed all eight of his passes for 152 yards and a two-yard touchdown to wide receiver Brandon LaFell in the fourth quarter to produce a 158.3 quarterback rating.
The starter in all seven games this season, Newton has completed 152-of-252 passes for 2,103 yards - the most ever by a rookie through seven games - and eight touchdowns with nine interceptions to post an 82.8 quarterback rating. He has passed for 300 yards or more in three games, producing three of the top four single-game passing totals in team history. Newton threw a touchdown in each of the first five games - the longest streak by a rookie quarterback in team history - surpassing Chris Weinke's four consecutive games with a touchdown pass in 2001.
Newton By Ground: Rookie quarterback Cam Newton recorded 59 rushing yards with a long of 25 yards and one touchdown on 10 attempts, scoring on a 16-yard run out of the spread formation in the third quarter. In the process, he established several rushing records by a Panthers quarterback:
• Most rushing yards - 59, previous mark 58 by Randy Fasani at Atlanta (10/20/02)
• Longest rush - 25, previous long 23 by Chris Weinke versus St. Louis (12/23/01)
• Longest rush touchdown - 16, previous long 14 by Newton at Atlanta (10/16/11)
Newton has rushed for 266 yards and a team-leading seven touchdowns on 57 carries this season. His seven rushing touchdowns tie for the most by a rookie quarterback in a season since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, previously accomplished by Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans in 2006. The NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback is 12 by Steve Grogan of the New England Patriots in 1976.
The 266 rushing yards are the most in a season by a Panthers quarterback, bettering the previous high of 128 yards by Chris Weinke in 2001, and the seven rushing touchdowns are the most in a season by a Carolina quarterback, eclipsing the previous high of six by Weinke in 2001. Newton is the only player in NFL history to have at least seven passing and seven rushing touchdowns in the first seven games of their career.
Stewart Rushes Into Select Group: Running back Jonathan Stewart gained a team-high 68 yards and one touchdown to become the third player in franchise history to surpass 3,000 career rushing yards with 3,017. He joins DeAngelo Williams with 4,548 yards and DeShaun Foster with 3,336 yards. Stewart scored on a two-yard run in the third quarter. He ranks second on the team with 278 yards and two touchdowns on 58 attempts this season and is fourth with a career-high 21 receptions for 210 yards.
The fourth-year running back is second in team history with 24 rushing touchdowns, 4.71-yard rushing average and nine games with 100 or more rushing yards. Stewart also stands third with 641 rushing attempts and 3,017 rushing yards.
Offensive Line Paves The Way: Behind an offensive line featuring Jordan Gross at left tackle, Travelle Wharton at left guard, Ryan Kalil at center, Geoff Hangartner at right guard, and Byron Bell at right tackle, the Panthers amassed a season-high 175 yards rushing and two touchdowns on a season-high 37 attempts - an average of 4.7 yards per carry.
The front five has helped Carolina total more than 100 yards rushing in five consecutive games, also exceeding 100 yards on the ground with 107 versus Jacksonville (9/25/11), 169 at Chicago (10/2/11), 162 versus New Orleans (10/9/11) and 142 at Atlanta (10/16/11).
Smith On The Receiving End: Wide receiver Steve Smith, who entered the game ranked first in the NFC and second in the NFL in receiving yards and average yards per catch, tallied a team-high 143 yards receiving on seven catches to produce his fourth 100-yard receiving this season. He leads the Panthers with 39 receptions for 818 yards and three touchdowns in 2011.
Smith previously compiled 178 yards at Arizona (9/11/11), 156 yards versus Green Bay (9/18/11) and 181 yards at Chicago (10/2/11). The 181 yards are the third-highest total of his career behind a team-record 201 yards versus Minnesota (10/30/05) and 189 yards at Baltimore (10/15/06).
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, he ranks first in team history with 63 total touchdowns (55 receiving, 6 return, 2 rush), 55 receiving touchdowns, 9,702 receiving yards, 14.72 receiving average, and 36 games with 100 or more receiving yards. Smith stands second with 659 receptions (needs 38 catches to surpass Muhsin Muhammad for the most in team history) and 380 points scored.
Streaking: Tight end Jeremy Shockey and wide receiver Steve Smith extended their consecutive game streaks with a catch. Shockey finished with four receptions for 32 yards and has caught a pass in all 128 regular season games he has played. Smith, meanwhile, has made a catch in 66 consecutive games, the third-longest streak in team history behind Wesley Walls' 70 games from 1996-2001 and his own 68 games from 2002-06.
Takeaway/Giveaway: Carolina forced three turnovers on fumble recoveries by defensive tackle Terrell McClain and linebacker James Anderson and an interception by cornerback Chris Gamble. The Panthers did not commit any turnovers for the second time this season, previously achieved in their other victory versus Jacksonville (9/25/11), to finish with a plus three turnover ratio. The three takeaways resulted in six points for Carolina. The Panthers have a negative-two turnover ratio this season, compiling a 2-0 record when having a positive turnover margin, an 0-3 record when being even in turnover margin, and an 0-2 record when having a negative turnover margin.
Good Gamble: With his fourth quarter interception of Washington quarterback John Beck, cornerback Chris Gamble moved into a tie with Eric Davis for the most interceptions in team history with 25. Gamble is also tied for second with two interception returns for touchdowns and stands third with 302 interception return yards beind Mike Minter with four interception returns for touchdowns and 418 interception return yards. Gamble has led or tied for the team lead in interceptions in five of his seven seasons with the Panthers since being selected in the first round in 2004.
Sakrete Sacks: The Panthers collected three sacks against Washington. Defensive end Antwan Applewhite victimized Washington quarterback John Beck for a seven-yard sack and forced fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Terrell McClain in the first quarter. Linebacker James Anderson corralled his first sack of the season when he took down Beck for a seven-yard loss on fourth down to end the Redskins' opening drive of the second half.
Defensive end Charles Johnson gathered a sack for the sixth time in seven games, dropping Beck for a four-yard loss in the fourth quarter. He leads Carolina with six sacks this year after recording a team- and career-high 11.5 sacks in 2010. Dating back to last season, Johnson has registered 14 sacks in his last 14 games.
During the 2011 season, Sakrete, a leader in concrete and concrete-related products, is donating $100 to the BVC Playground Build for every sack Carolina records. Through seven games, the Panthers have gathered 12 sacks, raising $1,200.
Mare Kicks Up The Charts: Kicker Olindo Mare scored 15 points against Washington to move into 17th place in NFL history for points scored with 1,474, bettering the 1,470 totaled by Pat Leahy from 1974-91. He connected on all three of his extra point chances and all four of his field goal attempts - converting from 20, 45, 45 and 40 yards. In addition to being 17th in NFL history for points scored, Mare also ranks 15th with 341 made field goals.
Mare reached the end zone on seven-of-eight kickoffs with six touchbacks, helping to limit the Redskins to an average kickoff drive start of the 21-yard line. The kickoff that did not reach the end zone was a squib kick at the end of the first half. He has placed 31-of-38 kickoffs in the end zone with 24 touchbacks this season. Since 1997, Mare leads the NFL with 262 touchbacks.
Baker's Treat: Punter Jason Baker generated a gross average of 38.7 yards and net average of 40.0 yards with two inside the 20, no touchbacks and long of 48 yards on three punts. His gross average fell to 40.0 yards and his net average improved to 30.9 yards with nine punts inside the 20, four touchbacks and long of 56 yards this season.
Baker is the Panthers' all-time leader with 531 punts and 159 punts inside the 20 and ranks second with a 43.92-yard gross punting average.
House Of Blues: The Panthers wore their blue alternate jerseys for the first time this season and 18th time overall since debuting them in 2002. Carolina owns a 9-9 regular season record when wearing the blue tops. The NFL permits each team to wear its alternate jersey up to two times in the regular season, and the Panthers will also wear the blue jerseys again next week at home versus Minnesota (10/30/11).
Flagged: Carolina committed 13 penalties for 105 yards, the third most penalties and penalty yards in team history. The team records are 16 penalties and 120 penalty yards, both occurring at Tampa Bay (9/14/03).
Inactives: The following seven players were inactive for the Panthers: tight end Richie Brockel, quarterback Jimmy Clausen, linebacker Omar Gaither, running back Mike Goodson, defensive tackle Frank Kearse, safety Jordan Pugh and tackle Lee Ziemba.
Tomahawks: The Redskins punted just once, equaling the second fewest punts by an opponent in a game, previously accomplished seven times - most recently by Jacksonville (12/9/07).