The Carolina Panthers entered their Monday night game against Washington technically still having an outside shot of making the playoffs, and when the game ended, they still had that shot. It would take a rather improbable chain of events for them to get there, though, so the big thing their 26-15 victory accomplishes is dealing a considerable blow to Washington's now-faint hopes of heading to the postseason.

They occupied the NFC's No. 6 seed coming into the game, but with the loss, drop behind both the Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers all the way down to No. 8. They'll now need to get some help over the final two weeks of the season in order to make it to at least the second week of January.

The impact was considerable:

Washington didn't just lose this game, though: the Panthers came out and won it. They won it with a bounce-back game from Cam Newton, with a huge contribution from Jonathan Stewart, and with a stifling defensive performance against one of the NFL's top offenses. (Washington was third in yards per game, 10th in points per game, and fourth in offensive DVOA coming in.)

Newton, who had finished each of his last three games with a completion percentage south of 50 percent, completed 21 of 37 for 300 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 101.2 passer rating -- his best since Week 2. He spread the ball around to eight different receivers and could have easily had another long touchdown if Ted Ginn didn't start hearing footsteps on a deep ball (more on that later). He had a ton of time to throw throughout much of the evening, and when he didn't, he mostly did a good job evading pressure.

Stewart carried 25 times for 132 yards (5.3 per carry) and picked up chunk gains all evening. He also played a big role in Carolina's game-sealing field goal drive after Washington kicked a field goal to cut the lead from 11 points to eight.

On the other side of the ball, Carolina controlled the game for the most part. They held Robert Kelley and Chris Thompson to a combined 18 yards on 11 carries. They held Jordan Reed in check before he got tossed (more on this later as well). Overall, they held Kirk Cousins to 32 of 47 passing for 316 yards (6.7 per attempt; with much of the yardage accrued when Washington was down two scores in the fourth quarter) and also forced him into two turnovers -- a pick and a fumble, which the Carolina offense turned into 10 points. And on a last-ditch drive, they forced a fumble by Jamison Crowder to seal the victory.

Here are four more things to know about Carolina's 26-15 win.

The Full Ted Ginn Experience

One of two things usually happens when Ted Ginn runs a route deep down the field. He either catches a wide-open touchdown, like so:

Or he drops what should be an incredibly easy completion, like so:

That's The Full Ted Ginn Experience, folks.

Josh Norman thwarted in revenge game

Josh Norman was playing his first game against his former team on Monday night. Obviously, everyone remembers that he turned into a star for Carolina over the last few seasons before the Panthers used the franchise tag on him last offseason, then rescinded it when they couldn't come to an agreement on a long-term deal. Norman then signed a five-year, $75 million deal with Washington.

Cam got a couple completions on Norman early in the game but spent most of the rest of the night not throwing in his former teammate's direction. The only other time Cam targeted a receiver Norman was covering, Norman nearly had an incredible pick on a deep ball intended for Ted Ginn (the closing speed he showed on the play was absurd), but the ball slipped out of his hands when he hit ground. Washington wound up gaining about 22 yards of field position out of the drop anyway because Carolina punted on the next play, so it all worked out.

In the second quarter, though, Norman tried to take out Stewart on a tackle by hitting him in the legs.

That did not work out quite as well.

Stars leave the field

Washington had two star contributors leave the field due to injury during the third quarter. Tight end Jordan Reed, who has been dealing with a shoulder injury suffered on Thanksgiving and had played only 10 snaps in the two weeks since then, left the field in pain after attempting to make a run block. He could be seen wincing and muttering to himself on the sideline. He returned to the game and was in obvious pain after catching a short pass, then was later ejected for throwing a punch at Panthers safety Kurt Coleman.

Also in the third quarter, Washington's leading sack man, Ryan Kerrigan, left with an injury of his own. (He had 11 sacks on the season coming into the game, and had at least one in four straight and eight of the last nine.)

That's the same elbow Kerrigan hyper-extended earlier in the season, which is not great. He did not return.

Defensive backs Quinton Dunbar and Greg Toler also left the field to be examined for possible concussions. All in all, it was not a great night for Washington.

Another week, another issue

All year, the Carolina Panthers have been dismayed with the way referees officiate hits against Cam Newton. Because he's so big and strong, it often looks like hits don't affect him as much as they do other players, and as such, he has missed out on several obvious roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

Monday night was no different.

That should be a pretty easy personal foul call, with Trent Murphy delivering a helmet-to-helmet hit on Newton while he's sliding. But of course...

People predictably -- and rightly -- were up in arms about it.

Here's where you might say, "But Murphy was already trying to hit Cam when he started to slide!" But that doesn't matter in this case. Here's why:

Murphy's hit unquestionably constitutes forcible contact into the head or neck area with helmet, shoulder, or forearm.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera took referee Walt Coleman to task for it after the commercial break, but at that point, there was nothing to be done. The penalty had already been called, and for the retaliation rather than the obviously illegal hit. This issue is not going away; and when you consider that a personal foul was called on a totally legal hit on Kirk Cousins later in the game, it becomes rather easy to see where Newton and the Panthers are coming from.