STEPHEN WHYNO, AP Sports Writer
LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — All of a sudden the Washington Redskins need help to return to the playoffs.
With their focus turning to a visit to Chicago after a 26-15 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Monday night, the Redskins know full well they need to get back on track and hope for the best. They need the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers to slip to have any chance of making the postseason.
“We put ourselves in this position, so we can’t sit here and feel sorry for ourselves,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “Obviously we’re not in the driver’s seat anymore and we’re going to need some help, but that all doesn’t matter if we don’t take care of our business.”
A 2-of-12 showing on third down, two turnovers and a running game coach Jay Gruden deemed “atrocious” cost the Redskins (7-6-1) control of their playoff destiny. Games remain at the Bears (3-11) and home against the New York Giants, but they’ll be scoreboard-watching plenty.
The 8-6 Packers host Minnesota and visit Detroit, and the 8-6 Buccaneers visit New Orleans and host Carolina.
“I hate being in this position where you got to wait for teams to win, this team needs to lose,” defensive end Ricky Jean Francois said. “I hate being in that position because (Monday night) we could have controlled our own destiny now we need help from another team and I hate being in that position but we put ourselves in that hole and now we have to dig ourselves out.”
Some other things we learned from the Panthers’ victory over the Redskins:
STEWART SOARS: Jonathan Stewart ripped through the Redskins for a career-high 132 yards rushing on 25 carries. It was a performance the Panthers had been waiting for all season, and it came with the veteran at less than 100 percent.
“Stew was just typical Stew,” quarterback Cam Newton said. “He did an unbelievable job this week. He came in and wasn’t in his best health. He had some kind of contusion in his leg. The trainers did an unbelievable job of getting him back on the field.
“For him to perform like that, that’s the type of play we’re going to need from him moving forward. He’s a professional. That type of run game kind of sets the tone.”
COUSINS STRUGGLES: Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins had one of his worst games of the season, going 32 of 47 for 315 yards with an interception and a fumble.
“I thought he had good time to throw it for the most part,” Gruden said. “I think he was having trouble seeing some of the coverage and when he did see them I don’t know if he just didn’t have clear throws at them.”
LITTLE AND NONE: The Panthers (6-8) know their odds of making the postseason are, well, hardly ideal.
“Without a doubt it’s minuscule,” coach Ron Rivera said, “but it can happen.”
At this point, the best Carolina can do is finish at .500 and see if that’s good enough.
“Our objective is to go undefeated all the way to the end of the season,” defensive end Wes Horton said. “Playoffs aside, we are playing for pride.”
NORMAN LOSES BATTLE: While Carolina’s defense looked almost vintage Super Bowl caliber, former Panthers cornerback Josh Norman wanted some more action. Mostly he didn’t like Newton not throwing at him.
“He threw that long ball to Teddy (Ginn Jr. and) he came down with it,” Norman said. “After that I didn’t see any more of him all night. I think (offensive coordinator Mike) Shula got in his ear. I wish he didn’t because I’m pretty sure he would have uncontained the beast.”
AP Sports Writer Dave Ginsburg contributed.
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