’Skins’ play­off hope fades

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Stephen Whyno

LAN­DOVER, MD.» Kirk Cousins threw an in­ter­cep­tion and fum­bled near his goal line as the Wash­ing­ton Red­skins (7-6-1) coughed up their eas­i­est path to the play­offs with a 26-15 loss to the de­fend­ing NFC cham­pion Carolina Pan­thers on Mon­day night.

Wash­ing­ton could have clinched a play­off berth by win­ning its fi­nal three games but now needs help. Carolina (6-8) kept its astro­nom­i­cal wild-card hopes alive and dealt a se­ri­ous blow to the Red­skins’ chances with two weeks left in the sea­son.

Af­ter be­ing picked off by Kurt Cole­man in the first half to set up a Carolina field goal, Cousins was sacked by Wes Hor­ton and fum­bled on the first snap af­ter half­time as the Pan­thers took over at the 1-yard line. They scored two plays later to take a 20-9 lead.

Cousins fin­ished 32-of-47 for 316 yards with far too many missed throws in a game with such high stakes.

Reign­ing league MVP Cam New­ton showed no ill ef­fects from a shoul­der in­jury suf­fered last week, throw­ing for 300 yards and two touch­downs as the Pan­thers took ad­van­tage of blun­ders by the Red­skins, who lost their sixth con­sec­u­tive Mon­day night home game.

It was Wash­ing­ton’s most lop­sided loss since be­ing routed 38-16 by Pitts­burgh in the sea­son opener, also on a Mon­day night.

Cousins broke his own sin­gle-sea­son fran­chise record for pass­ing yards af­ter throw­ing for 4,166 last year.

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