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(Sunday, October 23rd)
Final Score: Carolina 33, Washington 20
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Cam Newton threw for 256 yards and a score, and added 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground, as the Carolina Panthers defeated the Washington Redskins, 33-20.
"Once he (Newton) got in a rhythm in the second half, he really was able to get the ball downfield," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said.
Steve Smith continued his career resurgence with 143 receiving yards on seven catches for Carolina (2-5), which snapped its three-game losing skid.
"I can't say enough what he's (Smith) done either. He's made some great catches, some clutch catches," Rivera said.
Jonathan Stewart ran for 68 yards and a score, while DeAngelo Williams added 35 yards rushing.
John Beck made his first career start for the Redskins and became the 21st different Washington starting quarterback in the last 19 years. He was 22- of-37 for 279 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
"I think John, overall, played very well," Redskins head coach Mike Shannahan. "First time out, he's always going to have some growing pains, that's the nature of the business once you start playing. But I think you could see his athleticism, his quick release."
Tim Hightower had a fine day before exiting in the third quarter with a knee injury. He finished with 88 yards on 17 carries for the Redskins (3-3), who've lost two straight and three of their last four.
After a sluggish first half by both teams, Carolina's offense exploded for 24 second-half points.
Jabar Gaffney hauled in a 32-yard reception on the first offensive play of the second half, but James Anderson sacked Beck on 4th-and-2 later in the drive and Carolina took over at its own 47-yard line.
Newton found Brandon LaFell for a 37-yard gain down the left sideline, and then scored from 16 yards out to give Carolina a 16-6 advantage early in the third quarter.
Beck found a rhythm on Washington's second drive of the half. He concluded the seven-play, 82-yard march with a four-yard touchdown run to pull the Redskins within three midway through the third. Beck completed all four of his pass attempts for 81 yards on the possession. He had just 53 yards passing in the first half.
Smith hauled in passes of 33 and 15 yards before Stewart finished the drive with a two-yard score to make it a 23-13 game late in the third.
Carolina's offense was at it again after a Washington three-and-out. Smith made an amazing 36-yard catch in double coverage to set up a 1st-and-goal, and Newton found LaFell in the end zone for a two-yard score. The 12-play, 65-yard drive took 8:26 off the clock as the Panthers took a commanding 30-13 lead with 8:13 remaining in the game.
Fred Davis had a seven-yard touchdown reception for Washington, and Olindo Mare added a 40-yard field goal to make it 33-20 with 1:56 to go.
Newton made several tacklers miss on an electrifying 25-yard run on a 3rd- and-9 on the opening drive of the game. The run led to a 20-yard field goal by Mare to give the Panthers a quick 3-0 advantage. Newton had 34 yards rushing on the 13-play, 78-yard drive.
Panthers defensive end Antwan Applewhite came flying off the left edge and forced Beck to fumble and the Panthers recovered at the Washington 48-yard line on the Redskins' first drive. But Carolina was held to a three-and-out.
The Redskins got the run game going on their second possession and Graham Gano connected on a 31-yard field goal to tie the game early in the second quarter. Hightower carried the ball eight times for 48 yards on the drive. Washington attempted just one pass on the 12-play march, an incompletion on 3rd-and-2.
Smith made catches of 17 and 21 yards, while Stewart added a 29-yard run to highlight Carolina's ensuing drive. Mare split the uprights from 45 yards out to give the Panthers a 6-3 lead with 5:02 remaining in the second quarter.
The Redskins again answered with a field goal as Gano booted it through from 49 yards to tie the contest with 1:02 to go until halftime. Beck picked up a key 3rd-and-9 with an 18-yard completion to Gaffney.
After a Panthers three-and-out, the Redskins took over at their own 31-yard line with 36 seconds left in the half. But Gaffney coughed the ball up on second down to give Carolina the ball at the Redskins' 34-yard line with 21 seconds to go. Mare nailed a 45-yard field goal right before the half to give Carolina a 9-6 lead.
Beck's last start came in a December 9 game against the Bills in 2007..With his seventh rushing touchdown of the season, Newton tied Vince Young for the most rushing scores by a rookie quarterback. New England's Steve Grogan holds the all-time quarterback rushing touchdown record with 12 scores in 1976...Santana Moss left Sunday's game with a left hand injury, and did not return.
10/23 18:46:52 ET