In a back-and-forth affair that lasted four quarters, the Arizona Cardinals were able to hang on to beat the Washington Redskins, 31-23.
With the win, the Cardinals improved to 4-5-1 on the season with sights still set on postseason play. The loss brings the to Redskins to 6-5-1, and they now sit behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for second place in the NFC Wild Card race.
The Cardinals snapped their two-game losing streak today against the Redskins thanks to outstanding performances from David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald. Johnson lead the team in rushing and receiving yards, racking up 84 yards on the ground with a touchdown and nine receptions, 91 yards, and another touchdown. Fitzgerald hauled in ten catches for 78 yards.
Arizona’s defense managed to hold off another epic Kirk Cousins’ moment with the game on the line. With under a minute to play, Cousins lead the offense down the field and marched into Cardinals’ territory. But, his pass intended for Jamison Crowder was intercepted by Patrick Peterson at the 28-yard line with :48 left on the clock.
Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense then lined up in victory formation, capping off a much-needed win the keep their playoff hopes intact.
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Johnson was responsible for the game’s only points in the first quarter with his 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Cardinals an early lead. The Redskins responded in the second quarter with two-straight possessions resulting in field goals, but trailed 7-6. Chandler Catanzaro chipped in a 28-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half to give the Cards a 10-6 lead.
The second half started with a bang just as much as it ended in one. Cousins punched in a touchdown from the 1-yard line, Palmer connected with Michael Floyd for a touchdown, and Cousins found Crowder for a 26-yard score thanks to poor coverage from the Arizona defense. Both teams traded blows in the third quarter with Washington ahead 20-17 entering the final fifteen minutes of play.
The back-and-forth pattern of the third quarter translated into the fourth quarter, but this time it was the Cardinals scoring first. Palmer found Johnson on a screen play for a 25-yard touchdown that gave Arizona a slim 24-20 lead.
Washington answered courtesy of a 53-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins. Despite the scoring, the Cardinals still had a 24-23 advantage. With under two minutes to play, Palmer delivered the final dagger when he found J.J. Nelson in the end zone from 42-yards out. The offense padded their lead, up 31-23 with 1:56 to play.
Cousins’ rally in the dwindling moments of the fourth quarter had some life to it, but ultimately fell short as Peterson recorded his third interception of the season.
Bruce Arians and his team are still a long-shot to make their third-straight playoff appearance, but a win against the Redskins was crucial. It may not look pretty, but for the time being, the Arizona Cardinals are still alive.