Panthers defeat Washington on road in first preseason game
With 24 seconds remaining, Zane Gonzalez’s field goal gave Carolina the 23-21 victory.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBTV) - Carolina Panthers kicker Zane Gonzalez hit a 45-yard field goal with under a minute left to play to beat the Washington Commanders in the first preseason game of the year.
With many notable Carolina starters inactive, the Panthers held the lead for most of the game before Charlotte-native rookie Sam Howell scored two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter to give Washington a late 21-20 lead.
With 24 seconds remaining, Gonzalez’s field goal gave Carolina the 23-21 victory.
The biggest story of the game was the quarterback battle. All four QBs on the Panthers’ roster saw playing time, with the newest addition and likely front-runner for the starting job, Baker Mayfield getting the start.
Mayfield, who was traded to Carolina by the Cleveland Browns last month, had some nice moments, completing 4-of-7 passes for 45 yards and a 76.5 quarterback rating. He recovered a fumbled snap and almost threw a touchdown that was dropped by wide receiver Robbie Anderson.
Last year’s starter Sam Darnold completed 2-of-3 passes for 16 yards and a touchdown pass to Rashard Higgins.
Since the start of training camp, Mayfield and Darnold have been competing for the starting job, splitting snaps in practice.
Starting running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver D.J. Moore both did not play in the game.
Veteran backup QB PJ Walker saw a surprising amount of playing time, finishing the game 10-of-19 for 136 passing yards while being sacked twice. Third-round rookie Matt Corral came into the game in the fourth quarter and went just 1-of-9 for 11 yards. He was the one who led the drive, though to put Gonzalez in field goal position in the final minute.
Running back Spencer Brown scored the other Panthers touchdown in the third quarter.
Carolina travels to face the New England Patriots on Friday for the second preseason game
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