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