Panthers wrapup: Turnovers key to win in Washington over former coach

By Richard Walker

Notes and observations from the Carolina Panthers’ 20-13 win at the Washington Football Team on Sunday that improved the team to 5-10 overall:

… The game swung Carolina’s way on the season’s third defensive touchdown of the year when wide receiver Brandon Zylstra recovered a muffed punt in the end zone late in the first quarter. It’s the ninth time in team history the Panthers have had at least three touchdowns scored by its defense in a single season; The others came in 1995, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2013 and 2015.

… The elusive 200th regular season victory was claimed in Sunday’s win; Carolina is now 200-214-1 all-time in regular season games and 9-8 in playoff games.

… The Panthers victory kept Washington from clinching the NFC East title. Washington, under former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, can still control its own fate as a win at Philadelphia would wrap up the franchise’s first divisional title since 2015.

… By defeating Rivera, the Panthers improved to 3-6 all-time against their former head coaches; Carolina is 1-0 against Rivera, 2-4 against Dom Capers and 0-2 against John Fox.

… Carolina’s first offensive touchdown came in unusual fashion as the Panthers ran on all 10 plays of an 80-yard second quarter scoring drive.

… By rushing the football 35 times, the Panthers followed a winning formula; Carolina is now 151-29-1 all-time in games in which they have 30 or more rushing attempts.

… Curtis Samuel set career-highs for rushing yardage (52), receiving yardage (106) and total yardage (158) in Sunday’s victory.

… Linebacker Shaq Thompson became the fifth player in team history to record back-to-back 100 tackle seasons.

… Zylstra’s special teams touchdowns was the team’s first since Colin Jones also recovered a muffed punt return in the end zone in a 2018 home victory over the New York Giants.

… The last time the Panthers forced four turnovers in the first half of a game was in Week 17 of 2003 against the New York Giants.

… Afterwards, coach Matt Rhule had this to say about his team “tanking” for a draft pick: “Winning franchises win.”

Next week:
Carolina hosts New Orleans next Sunday at 1 p.m.