Seeking his first win, Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell faced third and 8 with his team trailing late.
Through his helmet transmitter, he heard his position coach call the formation. Then silence. The transmitter went dead.
"We could tell that there was something wrong," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "But he picked up and just took us out there."
Chris Cooley caught a pass over the middle near midfield, escaped two tacklers and went down the sideline for 66 yards and the winning touchdown.
"I just tried to call one of the plays that we worked on all week that would give us an opportunity to make a first down," said Campbell, who made his second pro start.
"Fortunately, God was with me when I made that call."
For 3-1/2 quarters, the best highlights were blocked punts. Carolina's, by Adam Seward, set up John Kasay's 51-yard field goal at the end of the first half. Washington's, by Rocky McIntosh, set up Antwaan Randle El's 4-yard touchdown catch late in the third.
Steve Smith put the Panthers up 13-10 with 7:55 left on a spectacular catch. He reached high for the ball and got both feet down a few inches from the end line.
The Panthers defense, which had allowed 10 points in the past two games, would usually take over from there. But then came Cooley's touchdown.
On the ensuing series, Jake Delhomme threw incomplete on fourth and 6 from the Redskins 33. And after a punt, Sean Taylor intercepted Delhomme's long pass at the Redskins 5.
"This one stinks," said safety Mike Minter, who missed a tackle on Cooley. "One hundred percent of the time, you have to make that tackle."
NOTABLE: Carolina played without its top rusher, DeShaun Foster, who hyperextended his left elbow last week.
First downs 15 14
Total Net Yards 264 253
Rushes-yards 25-101 37-143
Passing 163 110
Punt Returns 4-16 5-13
Kickoff Returns 4-81 3-70
Interceptions Ret. 1-1 2-21
Comp-Att-Int 23-38-2 11-23-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 1-5 1-8
Punts 8-41.8 8-40.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 3-0
Penalties-Yards 4-40 6-40
Time of Possession 30:46 29:14
Car-FG Kasay 42, 3:30.
Was-FG Novak 42, 4:35.
Car-FG Kasay 51, :00.
Was-Randle El 4 pass from Campbell (Novak kick), :02.
Car-S.Smith 8 pass from Delhomme (Kasay kick), 7:55.
Was-Cooley 66 pass from Campbell (Novak kick), 4:26.
Rushing-Carolina, D.Williams 17-63, Shelton 2-16, Goings 2-11, Hoover 3-7, S.Smith 1-4. Washington, Betts 24-104, Duckett 7-24, Sellers 1-13, J.Campbell 4-7, Randle El 1-(minus 5).
Passing-Carolina, Delhomme 23-38-2-168. Washington, J.Campbell 11-23-1-118.
Receiving-Carolina, K.Johnson 6-38, S.Smith 5-34, Hoover 3-23, D.Williams 3-23, Carter 3-14, Goings 2-17, Mangum 1-19. Washington, Cooley 3-89, Moss 3-12, Betts 2-4, Lloyd 1-8, Randle El 1-4, Kozlowski 1-1.
Missed Field Goal-Washington, Novak 37 (WL).
Redskins 0 3 7 7 17
Panthers 3 3 0 7 13