Chris Thompson explains Panthers' collapse against Redskins

Chris Lingebach
December 02, 2019 - 11:53 am

The Carolina Panthers owned the first quarter against the Redskins on Sunday, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives to jump out to an early 14-0 lead.

Afterwards? Radio silence from Carolina's offense until the fourth quarter, as their next nine drives resulted in eight punts and one Kyle Allen interception to Fabian Moreau in the second quarter.

So, what happened?

During his weekly Sports Junkies appearance Monday morning – presented by Steamfitters UA Local 602 – Chris Thompson pointed to apparent miscommunications along the Redskins defense on those first two drives, which he says they were able to clear up from that point forward.

"From what I could see, because for the most part, I try to stand up and just watch and see what's going on on the defense, I think there was some miscommunication and stuff going on, especially in that defensive backfield a little bit," Thompson said.

"I believe they did some talking and going on on the sideline, and made sure they got their communication together, or maybe even coach might have changed the play calls and made 'em a little more simpler and things like that," he said. "But for all the guys, they just started clicking, man. Like, I don't know, man. It was unbelievable to me how great they end up playing after dropping those first two drives.

"And then on the offensive side, we went three-and-out right after. After their first long drive, we went three-and-out, put 'em right back on the field. They scored again, and then after that, (our defense was) on fire and that's... you love to see that. I mean, our D-line – those guys up front – got all the sacks that they got. It was amazing to see."

Thompson was asked for comment on Derrius Guice's vicious stiff arm of Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson in the fourth quarter, which allowed Guice to break free for a 37-yard run down to Carolina's one yard-line.

"Oh man. It's crazy!" Thompson said with glee. "Like right before that, (Guice) kept telling me, he was like, 'Man, nobody's out there talking noise. The only one that's been talking is Shaq.' And he just kept saying that every time he was coming off the sideline and I guess when he got his opportunity, he was able to get some payback with that stiff arm."

"It was just great to see that out of him, because that's what he saw at LSU, that's why he was considered to be the first running back drafted a couple years ago, was plays like that and his angry run style," he said. "So it was real good to see."

Dwayne Haskins may have only had a 69.9 passer rating in the win, completing 13 of 25 passes (52%) for 147 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions, but he managed the game efficiently, recognizing he didn't have to do much himself on the heels of the Redskins' dominant rushing attack. The Redskins rushed for 248 yards – led by Guice's 129 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries, and an additional 99 yards on 13 carries from Adrian Peterson. Haskins did all he had to, which was enough not to lose the game.

On the rookie quarterback's progress, Thompson said, "Just being in the huddle, I feel like he's taking more control, he's more calm out there."

"Everybody remembers he would go out there, the whole story about him having a wristband and things like that," he said. "He's put more on himself to not even want to use the wristband and just trying to learn everything. He was out there being able to flip protections to be able to protect himself. That's what I love to see.

"I remember one time I was calling out the protection. I was saying it out loud, but I was like, 'Man, we need to flip this protection.' And he end up, we had it like what we call a dummy count. And he walked up, he switched the protection, put us in the right position for him to be able to get all five or get all six guys blocked up."

"You know, that's the growth I've been seeing and then he's getting more and more calm and confident back there in the pocket," Thompson continued. "As long as playmakers, we continue to make plays for him, I think he's going to continue to get better and better. I love that extended play that he threw to (Jeremy) Sprinkle, that Sprink ended up dropping it. I think it was like on a third-and-12 or something like that. Those are the steps that I see he's been making, and I can tell he's getting more and more, just comfortable with the game and the speed of everything out there."

On Haskins protecting the football: "That's huge for sure. Especially, dealing with a young quarterback. Young quarterbacks, for the most part with most teams, the focus is to have a good run game to not put that much pressure on a rookie quarterback. And thankfully we were able to have a good game. But he's been limiting those turnovers and stuff as well, and I think that has come with him just growing and being able to read defenses better."

"The more he gets these game reps in, he's able to read and see everything differently," Thompson added. "I know he's putting all the time in to be able to continue to progress and help us win these games, and I'm just happy for him and for this team. We've been able to put two straight together and hopefully we can keep it going."

With the 29-21 victory, the Redskins have won two straight to improve to 3-9.