Flashback: The first Redskins-Panthers game

When the Washington Redskins (4-5) head to Charlotte to take on the Carolina Panthers (9-0) on Sunday, it will be the 12th all-time meeting between the two squads. The Redskins lead the series 7-4 after winning the first six games.

The first meeting took place on Christmas Eve 1995 at RFK Stadium in front of 42,903 fans. Led by Terry Allen’s 105 total yards and two rushing touchdowns, the Redskins beat the Panthers 20-17. That score would be duplicated three more times over the course of the series, with the Redskins taking the first two (December 24, 1995 and September 3, 2000) and the Panthers taking the next two (November 16, 2003 and October 11, 2009).

Quarterback Gus Frerotte completed 10 of 24 passes for 185 yards. Defensive end Rich Owens and linebacker Marvcus Patton each logged a sack while safety James Washington and cornerback Scott Turner each tallied an interception.

The Redskins had won to close out their season with a 3-1 record in the final quarter to improve to 6-10. The prevailing theme after the game was the potential the team had heading into the 1996 season, as detailed in David Aldridge’s Washington Post game story.

“This is a small glimpse of what we could do, the potential we do have,” linebacker Ken Harvey said.

“Everyone has seen that when we’re on top of our game, we can run it, we can throw it, we have all the tools to do those things,” Frerotte said. “Barring injuries, we just have to go and do that. I think a lot of guys are looking forward to next year, knowing what we have.”

“This team just got a small taste of what it could be like,” tight end Scott Galbraith said. “We are so close. I’m just hoping everyone can get something they can accept contract-wise so we can keep everybody together. Then we get a few more people. People like {rookie defensive end} Rich Owens are going to get older. We’re going to gel. It’s going to be dangerous.”As an eight-year-old attending this game, I realized how cool it was to see the Redskins take on an expansion franchise for their first meeting, so much so that I didn’t care if I was late to my family’s Christmas party that night.

Even at eight years old, I realized how cool it was to see the Redskins take on an expansion franchise for the first time, so much so that I didn’t care if I was late to my family’s Christmas party that night.

Let’s take a visual look back at the first time these two teams faced off.

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The Redskinettes give fans a pregame performance.

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Cornerback Darrell Green chats with a Panther before the game.

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Linebacker Matt Vanderbeek jogs off the field.

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Head coach Norv Turner talks shop.

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Wide receiver Tydus Winans and running back Marc Logan converse on the sideline.

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The WJFK parabolic microphone operators were in the Christmas spirit.

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Wide receiver Mark Carrier warms up.

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The handshake before the coin toss.

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Quarterback Gus Frerotte gets taken down.

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Safety Chad Cota corrals a blowup football…

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… and then hands it to the referee.

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Santa made his way onto the field.

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Mr. and Mrs. Claus shared their gifts with some special characters.

Santa Gus made an appearance as well.

Santa Gus made an appearance as well.

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Here’s a brief highlight package of the game from the 1995 Washington Redskins video yearbook titled “Coming Together.”

The game program offered some interesting content. The cover was very festive.

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People tend to forget how talented the expansion Panthers were. The team had guys like Sam Mills, Lamar Lathon, Carlton Bailey, Darion Conner, Tyrone Poole, Kerry Collins, Willie Green, Mark Carrier, Don Beebe, Pete Metzelaars, Matt Elliott, Blake Brockermeyer, Bob Christian and Tim McKyer just to name a few. They went 7-9 in 1995 and went on to the NFC Championship the next season.

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Advertisements sure were interesting 20 years ago.

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That Redskins baby looks scared. The woman in the Stan Humphries Chargers jersey looks disgusted.

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Before Six Flags, Kings Dominion ruled the Redskins roost.

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Norv Turner on a boom lift? Norv Turner on a boom lift.

New stadiums for the Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars were a hot topic of conversation. IMG_0527

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In retrospect, an advertisement featuring former Redskins tight end Terry Orr as an investment/insurance agent seems ominous, considering six years later he would be sentenced to 14 months in prison for bilking investors, including former teammates Raleigh McKenzie, Art Monk and Brian Mitchell, out of $141,000 for a failed shoe business deal. Orr had used the money for his own personal finances.

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The Redskins may or may not have hired the “Wild Thing” for their head public relations role.

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Lower level tickets sure were reasonable priced two decades ago.

All game photos taken by Terri Russell.

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