Redskins move to 2-0 with one-point win over Cards
Led by an aggressive defensive showing and a time-consuming running attack, the Redskins were able to notch their second NFC victory with a 22-21 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
The offense was able to dictate the tempo of the game thanks to the duo of Tim Hightower and rookie Roy Helu, who helped the Redskins collect 172 yards on the ground. Hightower ran for 83 yards in the first half and when he was figured out by the Cardinals defense, Washington went to Helu, who tallied 74 rushing yards and 38 receiving yards.
Another standout on offense was tight end Fred Davis, who followed up a strong week one performance with his second straight dominant outing. For the second week, he led the Redskins receivers with six receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown. Davis has 191 receiving yards on the season, good enough for second best in the NFL by a tight end.
Quarterback Rex Grossman went 25/43 for 291 yards and two touchdowns. He led the Redskins on a meticulous scoring drive that was capped off by a Santana Moss touchdown reception on a gutsy 4th and 3 play. There was less than six minutes remaining.
"Bad Rex" did have his moments, though, He tossed two interceptions (one of which bounced off of wide receiver Anthony Armstrong's fingertips) and made a lot of bad decisions throwing the football. The offensive line was less than stellar in pass protection, forcing him to make a lot of quick decisions. Several times he stepped up to throw in a collapsing pocket, resulting in passes that tipped by the Cardinals defensive line.
The offense also squandered opportunities in Arizona's red zone at times and the special teams allowed a blocked field goal in the second quarter. However, the Redskins were able to counteract those mistakes with a strong running game, dominating time of possession, an overwhelming pass rush, a lack of penalties, and a game winning drive that led to a 34-yard Graham Gano field goal.
The 2011 Redskins are a much younger team than in past years but have shown maturity by limiting the number of penalties this season. They committed only three in each of their first two games, the last of which was an intentional delay of game in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter.
The Redskins defense was led by an overpowering linebacking corps of Ryan Kerrigan, London Fletcher, Rocky McIntosh, and Brian Orakpo. Washington's last two defensive first round picks have created a disastrous pass-rushing duo for opposing offenses and that was made apparent against Arizona. Kerrigan, McIntosh and Orakpo all notched sacks and batted down passes while harassing Kevin Kolb all day along with Fletcher, who picked off his first pass of the season. All of the linebackers played a factor in the win with their hustle and constant pressure. The addition of Kerrigan has paid big dividends for the defense but especially for the linebacking corps as a whole.
After the suspense-filled ending, the Redskins are now 2-0 for the first time since 2007 when they last made a postseason appearance. This sets up a prominent Monday Night Football showdown against the Dallas Cowboys next week, who will look take control of the NFC East with a win.
With injuries affecting quarterback Tony Romo, wide receiver Miles Austin and running back Felix Jones against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, that Monday night win will be harder for Dallas to attain. Romo suffered a broken rib and a punctured lung from a hit by former Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers and left the game but returned to lead Dallas to an overtime victory. Austin re-aggravated a hamstring injury that he suffered in the preseason, and according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, could be out until October 9th. Jones seperated his shoulder on the fifth play of the 49ers game but returned, only to see less action as the game went on.
The Redskins have been aided by injuries to crucial opponents so far. That will likely be the case again as they continue their quest for their first 3-0 start since 2005.
This article was released on 2011-09-19.
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