What We Saw: Week 11

Good football is back just in time for the holiday season

Football Team @ Panthers

Final Score: Football Team 27, Packers 21

Writer: Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)


This early afternoon battle between Washington and Carolina ended up being one of the best games of the week. Although both teams entered the game below .500, Cam Newton and Ron Rivera’s returns to Charlotte made this a marquee matchup on the 1:00 PM slate. Newton began his homecoming with a bang. He threw a touchdown pass to DJ Moore on the game’s opening drive and kept a read option for a 24-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The stage was set for an inspirational win in Newton’s return to Carolina, but Taylor Heinicke had other ideas. His three touchdown passes and late-game heroics provided enough for Washington to eke out a 27-21 win on the road.


Washington Football Team




Taylor Heinicke: 16/22, 206 yards, 3 TD | 6 carries, 29 yards


Heinicke once again posted extremely efficient numbers, completing 73% of his passes and throwing three touchdowns without a turnover. However, it was not his efficiency that I came away most impressed with. It was a gutsy outing for Heinicke and the Washington offense. He was scrambling around all day long and made some tough throws at key moments to keep Washington in the game. It certainly helps to have a bonafide number one receiver like Terry McLaurin to make difficult catches, but Heinicke deserves credit for leading his team to a win in a close game on the road.


Running Backs


Antonio Gibson: 19 carries, 95 yards, 1 fumble

J.D. McKissic: 7 carries, 46 yards | 2 targets, 1 reception, 4 yards


After fumbling early in the game and spending some time on the sidelines, Antonio Gibson stepped up for Washington with some big carries in the second half. His strong second half was almost for naught after he made a mental mistake late in the game. Gibson ran out of bounds on third down with just over a minute and a half left in the game, stopping the clock and giving Carolina an extra 40 seconds to try and score. Fortunately for Gibson, his defense came up with a stop. J.D. McKissic was good in his role, filling in when needed and averaging over 6.5 yards per carry.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Terry McLaurin: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 103 yards, TD

Adam Humphries: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards

John Bates: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 23 yards

DeAndre Carter: 3 targets, 2 receptions, 22 yards, TD | 1 carry, -3 yards

Cam Sims: 2 targets, 2 reception, 19 yards, TD

Dax Milne: 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yard


Terry McLaurin is quickly establishing himself as one of the best receivers in the NFL, showing new facets of his game every week. He was all over the field today, making catches through traffic and adjusting to poorly thrown balls from Heinicke. He is a complete receiver with speed, physicality, route-running ability, and a nose for the football. DeAndre Carter scored a touchdown in the third quarter to give Carolina a 21-14 lead, it was his third-straight game with a touchdown.



Carolina Panthers




Cam Newton: 21/37, 189 yards, 2 TD | 10 carries, 46 yards, TD


“Super Cam” gave the home fans everything short of a victory in his return to Carolina. He finished the game with three total touchdowns but fell short of putting together a winning drive in the final minute. The most exciting moment of the game came in the second quarter when Newton took a read-option to the house and broke out his signature Superman celebration on the midfield logo. As a rusher, Newton had fresh legs and looked just as powerful as he did in years past, and as a passer, he looked better than he did at any point as a New England Patriot. He was not asked to do all too much through the air but delivered strikes through the gaps in the Washington zone when he dropped back to throw. His rushing upside alone makes Newton fantasy relevant, and he could be worth using in a pinch at QB the rest of the season.



Running Backs


Christian McCaffery: 10 carries, 59 yards | 8 targets, 7 receptions, 60 yards, TD

Ameer Abdullah: 1 carry, 6 yards


Christian McCaffery affects the game unlike any running back in the NFL. His ability as a pass-catcher separates him from other backs because it keeps defenses off balance, and only compliments the running game. I see McCaffery’s impact on the football field in a similar way to Steph Curry’s impact on the basketball court. Even without the ball, his mere presence draws attention and gives way to opportunities for the rest of the offense. On his fourth-quarter touchdown catch, he ran a beautiful seam up the middle of the field after a play fake and Newton dropped the football over the top of the chasing linebacker and right into McCaffery’s breadbasket.




Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


D.J. Moore: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 50 yards, TD

Tommy Tremble: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 19 yards

Robby Anderson: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 30 yards 

Ian Thomas: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards

Brandon Zylstra: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards


D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson took the bulk of the targets that did not go to McCaffery, and each ended up with five receptions in the game. Moore caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Newton on the first drive of the game to put Carolina on top. With Newton taking the reins of the offense, Carolina will likely run the ball more than they did early in the season. That coupled with McCaffery’s return from injury limits the ceilings of both Anderson and Moore, but improved quarterback play could raise their floors.


Josh Kurzer (@jkurzer52 on Twitter, jk303030 on Reddit)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.