Neither played great, but Newton’s Carolina Panthers pulled out a 21-13 victory, ending a four-game losing streak while Griffin’s Washington Redskins fell to 3-6 on the season.
Whatever success they have the rest of the way will largely be determined how these young quarterbacks perform. They know that.
“We’re both two young quarterbacks in this league, trying to get better, trying to lead our teams to victory,” Griffin said. “I told him that I think his team has a lot of talent and the possibilities are endless for them. I feel the same about our team.”
Sunday, Newton threw for 201 yards and a touchdown and was not sacked and did not fumble. Griffin passed for 215 yards with no touchdowns and was sacked four times.
It was an important victory for Carolina, which had failed in close games all season. The Panthers were inspired when they saw signs at the stadium that read the game was the Redskins’ “Homecoming.”
I’m thinking to myself: This is the National Football League. Are you serious? Homecoming,” Williams said. “And it’s not like you tried to hide it — you blatantly put it on the front of the Game Day. And you’re talking about somebody fired up today? I was (ticked).
“It was the whole team. That was definitely motivating. You don’t say you’re going to have a ‘homecoming’ in the National Football League. You do it in college. It’s one of those teams that’s just terrible. You don’t book, like, a good team for homecoming.”
While Carolina was inspired, the Redskins were so awful that coach Mike Shanahan said his team’s play left him “nauseated.”
“You lose a game like that, now you’re playing to see who obviously is going to be on your football team for years to come,” Shanahan said. “I’ll get a chance to evaluate players and see where we’re at.”
Griffin will not be among any upcoming changes; he’s entrenched as the team’s leader. But both he and Newton will need lots of help to elevate their teams.