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Washington 27, Panthers 21: Top 10 Observations - Heinicke Named Homecoming King

What we saw in the WFT Week 11 win over the Panthers.

Confidence wasn't exactly at an all-time high coming off the Washington Football Team win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it was higher than it has been in some time. 

Regardless of excitement levels, breaking their four-game losing streak allowed the WFT focus to shift towards building their first winning streak of the year. 

After defeating the Carolina Panthers 27-21, the Washington Football Team is right in the mix for an NFC Playoff spot, with a Monday Night Football matchup against the Seattle Seahawks coming next week.

Here's what we saw on Sunday.

1. Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said Panthers quarterback Cam Newton couldn't learn the whole offense in just two weeks. 

That may be true, but Carolina certainly figured out how versatile it could become with Newton on the field. 

On the first drive alone, the Panthers used Newton's versatility to trap Washington into allowing a fourth-down conversion, and a wideopen touchdown pass to wide receiver D.J. Moore.

2. Antonio Gibson has a problem. And it's ball security

It hasn't been talked about much this year, but Gibson's fifth fumble of the year tied for the league lead. 

3. Flexing depth at the running back position, the Washington offense went with a combination of J.D. McKissic and Jaret Patterson at running back following Gibson's fumble. 

The duo combined for three touches for 24 yards, with Patterson targeted on an incomplete pass that would've made it four.

As a result, the WFT drove down the field once again, and this time scored on a touchdown pass from Taylor Heinicke to wide receiver Cam Sims.

4. On Carolina's first drive of the game, they registered three first downs. On Washington's, they recorded none.

In the next three possessions for each team, the Panthers were held to just three more, while the WFT offense recorded six. 

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5. Terry McLaurin scored with just nine seconds remaining in the first half. 

The 12-yard reception put him over 80 yards on the day, and moved him ahead of wide receivers A.J. Green and Jerry Rice while tying Randy Moss with his 25th game going over 60 yards receiving in his first 39 games played.

Later, McLaurin surpassed Washington's Gary Clark with his 14th game recording at least five catches and 80 yards or more in his first three seasons.

6. Running back Antonio Gibson had five carries for 17 yards after his fumble in the first half. 

He didn't get another snap until the second half, but finished the game with 19 carries for 95 yards on the ground. 

Safe to say, he got the message.

7. Kam Curl and Cole Holcomb stepped up big in the win, especially on one of Carolina's final efforts to keep the comeback alive.

8. With 1 minute and 54 seconds remaining in the game, WFT running back Antonio Gibson ran out of bounds at the Carolina Panthers 18-yard line. 

Not only did he not get a first down which would have all but finished the game, he saved the Panthers approximately 40-50 seconds of game clock because they were out of timeouts and could not have stopped the clock had he gone down inbounds.

Because of this, Cam Newton and the Panthers' offense were left with 1 minute and 50 seconds in the game, down by six points, with a chance to win the game.

9. For the second straight week, the Washington Football Team defense forced their opponents to beat them with short passes, allowing just two explosive plays against the Panthers. 

In addition to solid defense, quarterback Taylor Heinicke had another good outing, accounting for 235 yards of offense, throwing three touchdowns, and ending the day with a 141.3 quarterback rating.

10. The Washington Football Team is now 4-6 after winning two straight games, and is currently in eighth place in the NFC following losses by the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.