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Armanti Who? helps key a 21-13 Carolina win

By Ron Green Jr.
rgreenjr@charlotteobserver.com

LANDOVER, Md. -- The Carolina Panthers found Armanti Edwards and they found a victory.

Keyed by a long fourth-quarter reception by Edwards, the Panthers ended a five-game losing streak, beating the Washington Redskins 21-13 Sunday at FedEx Field.

Nursing a 14-6 lead and backed up at their own 9-yard line early in the fourth quarter, the Panthers suddenly flipped the game on one play. Edwards, in due to injuries to Brandon LaFell and Kealoha Pilares, broke open just short of midfield and Cam Newton found him.

Edwards went 82 yards -- from one 9-yard line to the other -- setting up a 1-yard Newton scoring run two plays later as the Panthers built their lead to 21-6.

Until Sunday, Edwards had produced a total of 24 total offense yards in two-plus seasons. But it all changed with one quick strike.

The play overshadowed what was expected to be a duel between Newton and Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin completed 22 of 38 passes for 224 yards while rushing 11 times for 53 yards. Newton, meanwhile, completed 13 of 23 passes for 201 yards. He also gained 37 yards rushing on 11 carries.

Washington cut the Panthers' lead to 21-13 with 1:28 remaining on a two-yard Evan Royster touchdown.

The Panthers' defense came up with a goal-line stand in the second quarter and the offense turned it into a 98-yard scoring drive that gave the Panthers a 14-3 half-time lead. Newton hit Steve Smith on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give Carolina a 14-3 lead at the break.

It was the first touchdown catch of the season for Smith, who beat Josh Wilson on the fade route.

The Panthers were holding a 7-3 lead when the Redskins opted against a Kai Forbath field goal and went for the end zone. The Redskins, who lead the league in fourth-down conversions, had already converted two fourth downs on the drive when they kept the offense on the field for a fourth-and-goal from the 2. Griffin ran right, but was forced out of bounds by safety Charles Godfrey and backup cornerback Josh Thomas for no gain with 5:13 left before halftime.

The Redskins held the ball for 16 plays and more than 10 minutes on the drive, but came away with no points. On their ensuing possession, the Panthers took advantage of a couple of Washington penalties to move into scoring position. After a couple of completions, Newton threw a perfect pass to Smith for the 11-point lead. Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, the subject of trade talks leading to last week's deadline, gave the Panthers a 7-3 lead with a 30-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

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