The word of the day was turnover, as the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals combined for 4 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles, yet the ‘skins pulled out the win, keeping their slim playoff chances alive.
Mark Brunell came into this weekend leading the league in touchdown-to-interception ratio. That is likely no longer the case, as Brunell throws 3 picks on the day. While the Cardinals secondary played well, two of the interceptions were on the Redskin receivers who failed to pull in passes they would normally catch.
Chris Cooley had a fairly quiet afternoon, hauling in 2 catches for just 25 yards. Cooley also lost a pass off his finger tips resulting in an interception that killed the first drive.
Santana Moss led the Redskins in catches once again, with 7 catches for 56 yards. Moss continues to fight off double teams in the secondary to contribute every week. If the Skins can find another receiver to play with Moss, this will be a dangerous offense.
Several weeks ago, the Washington offensive line went to the coaching staff and pleaded with them to let them run block. Since that meeting, the Washington running game has carried the team to victory two weeks in a row.
Clinton Portis led the way with 26 carries for 105 yards, including a 15 yard scamper in the third quarter in which Mike Sellers literally pulled CP to the end zone. In the fourth quarter, Portis answered his critics, by dragging 6 defenders 6 yards for the game-sealing first down.
The offensive line has been spectacular of late and Sunday was no different. The team has really found something with the right-side sweep in which Jansen, Thomas, Sellers and Royal destroy the defense, allowing Portis to pick up huge chunks of real estate.
The defense stepped up big, keeping the game within reach in the first quarter. Every time the Cardinals forced a turnover, the defense answered with a takeaway of their own.
The Washington secondary played an excellent game against the top-ranked passing offense. Sean Taylor had a spectacular game with the exception of one drive in the second half in which he missed two tackles and dropped an interception he had in his hands as he hit the ground. With 6 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble, Taylor more than made up for his transgressions.
Carlos Rogers also had a big day, leading the team with 7 tackles and making a big stop in the fourth quarter at the goal line. Also in the running for top defensive performer is Pierson Prioleau, who had 6 tackles, 1 sack, and a forced fumble that he also recovered. Prioleau also stepped up in man-to-man coverage in Walt Harris’ absence.
What a great day for Antonio Brown. Coming into the regular season, the Washington coaching staff had spent weeks praising the diminutive Brown, but after a poor showing in week 1, Brown was unceremoniously released.
Brown got a second chance three weeks ago when Ladell Betts went down with an injury and Brown has made the most of it. In the third quarter of Sunday’s game, Brown took a Nick Novak kickoff 90 yards for a score. From the moment Brown caught the ball, the seam up the middle of the field was wide open and Brown did not disappoint.
John Hall made his opportunities and his kickoffs were decent, but his fellow specialist Derrick Frost continued to struggle. His 43 yard punt average is a testament to Danny Smith and the Redskins coverage unit. Their play has been outstanding this season in spite of poor punting.
Coach Gibbs improves to 21-4 lifetime against the Cardinals. Now that the Arizona game is out of the way, IT’S DALLAS WEEK!