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Cam Newton, Panthers take care of RG3, Redskins

Cam Newton was turnover free and ran the ball well in key spots. The Carolina Panthers' front four made Robert Griffin III look mortal with constant pressure.


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Now this is what the 2012 Panthers were supposed to look like.

The Panthers won 21-13 in Washington in a game that dropped the Redskins to 3-6 and out of realistic playoff contention. Coach Mike Shanahan called this a "must-win" for his slumping team, but it has too many holes in the roster for Griffin's talent to cover it up.

Griffin occasionally was inaccurate in this game, and the Panthers did a great job containing the rookie quarterback as a runner. The Redskins' defense continues to give up big plays.

This was a complete team win by the Panthers. Their defensive line had four sacks in the second half, dominating the game without having to blitz. Running back DeAngelo Williams ripped off a 30-yard touchdown run. Newton threw for 201 yards on just 23 attempts and made a number of key runs on third down. He also rushed for a touchdown.

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"RG3 or no RG3, just getting a win is important to me," Newton said.

Newton and the Panthers' defense have played much better in recent weeks than popular perception would indictate, but they've struggled to close games. The defense has given up leads, and Newton has made back-breaking turnovers. This team hasn't been that far away, competing to the last minute every week.

On this week, the Panthers made sure the criticism of Newton stopped. They also made sure the criticism of Shanahan picks up heading into the Redskins' bye week.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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