CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A frustrating offensive day for the Carolina Panthers became more so on Sunday when Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen was placed in the concussion protocol after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit by Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson.
Anderson was ejected for the hit, which happened with 4:34 left in the third quarter and the Redskins leading 15-14.
Carolina went on to lose its fourth straight, 29-21, to fall to 5-7 and increase speculation that owner David Tepper will fire coach Ron Rivera after the season.
Tepper recently said he would not accept long-term mediocrity. The Panthers will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years since reaching Super Bowl 50 in 2015. This season they have bad home losses to Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Washington, all headed to losing records.
They are now 12-16 since Tepper purchased the team prior to the 2018 season for and NFL-record $2.275 billion.
"I'm not worried about my future,'' Rivera said. "I'm worried about this football team.''
Olsen was motionless on the ground for a few seconds before trainers helped him to his feet. He went to the sideline tent to be evaluated for a concussion and then walked to the locker room for further examination.
Olsen fumbled on the hit, but because of the personal foul penalty, Carolina kept the ball.
Rivera said he talked to Olsen, who said he was doing much better.
"We'll see how he is once he gets out of the protocol,'' he said.
The play left Carolina without one of its top playmakers on a day when quarterback Kyle Allen and the offense struggled after scoring touchdowns on its first two drives.
Allen began 8-for-8 with two touchdowns, but then completed only one of his next eight attempts and three of his next 13.
Olsen entered the day third on the team in receptions with 45 for 530 yards and two touchdowns. He had two catches for 14 yards against Washington.
Olsen, 34, was wooed by several networks as an analyst this past offseason, but opted to return to prove he remains one of the top tight ends in the NFL after missing much of the past two seasons with a foot injury.
He has one year left on his current deal.