LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- In the final 30 seconds, the Arizona Cardinals used three quarterbacks, scored a touchdown, failed on a
2-point conversion, recovered an onside kick and barely -- just
barely -- missed a 55-yard field goal.
It was only after Neil Rackers' kick sailed wide left that the
Washington Redskins could take a deep sigh, digest all that
happened and realize that, despite their effort, they had not quite
found a new way to blow a ballgame.
The Redskins beat the Cardinals 21-19 on a Sunday afternoon that
degenerated into a series of unfortunate events. The winning team
had 160 total yards and was on the wrong side of nearly every
statistic except two of the big ones: turnovers and penalties.
"Any team can come back and beat you at the end of the game if
you give them the amount of chances we gave those guys," Redskins
cornerback Fred Smoot said. "Put it like this: We're lucky to get
out of here with a victory."
The box score will show Clinton Portis with a pair of short
touchdown runs for the Redskins (4-2), who, after this effort,
can't be too excited about playing unbeaten New England next. The
Cardinals are 3-4 heading into their bye, a good piece of timing
since it will probably take two weeks to figure this one out.
"A lot of people are going to say, 'Same old Cardinals,'"
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "That to me wasn't the same old
Cardinals. Those guys didn't quit. We obviously didn't make enough
plays to win. We made too many mistakes."
To be sure, no one expected a classic. The Cardinals showed up
with a one-armed quarterback and two backups who barely knew the
play book, while the Redskins had to patch together a starting
offense after injuries to three linemen last week.
But that didn't do much to explain the combined 15 penalties for
128 yards. Or the blocked punt by the Cardinals. Or the blocked
extra point by the Redskins. Or the end-of-first-half mini-melee
that included the bizarre sight of Cardinals lineman Elton Brown
getting yanked to the ground in a wrestling-style takedown by an
Three of the game's six touchdowns were the product of
interceptions, but the Redskins actually put together a decent
drive in the third quarter to take a 21-6 lead. Safety LaRon Landry
(late hit) and linebacker London Fletcher (taunting the bench) then
let the Cardinals back in by committing dead-ball fouls on third
downs during a long drive that eventually resulted in a touchdown.
Then came the real fun. Kurt Warner, who started despite a torn
elbow ligament that made it awkward to hand the ball off, drove the
Cardinals from Arizona's 29 to Washington's 1 in the final minutes.
Then -- surprise -- Tim Rattay entered and threw a 1-yard touchdown
pass to Leonard Pope to make the score 21-19 with 21 seconds to
Whisenhunt said the Cardinals had planned all game to use Rattay
in goal-line situations because Warner's bulky brace made it
difficult to work in tight quarters. The second surprise came when
the shotgun snap on the 2-point conversion went straight to
receiver Anquan Boldin, who scrambled to the right, found nowhere
to run and threw feebly toward Larry Fitzgerald. Landry caught the
"When those plays work, they're great. When they don't work,
people are going to question them," Whisenhunt said. "Anquan is
an outstanding football player. When you put the ball in his hands,
your chances of success go up greatly."
Still, the Cardinals recovered the onside kick and marched to
the 37 before Rackers, who ended the first half by getting into a
face mask tug-of-war with cornerback Carlos Rogers after the
blocked extra point, nearly ended the game with a winning kick.
Washington's latest injury-induced line shuffle. "We all felt it
shouldn't have been that close. We always want to go out there and
put games away."Game notes
Warner went 27-of-41 for 282 yards with two touchdowns and
two interceptions, one of which was returned 27 yards for a
touchdown by Fletcher. ... The Redskins used a defensive lineman,
Lorenzo Alexander, as an extra blocker near the goal line. ...
Boldin, who had missed the previous three games with a hip injury,
caught eight passes for 29 yards. ... Injuries: Rogers (sprained
knee), Smoot (hamstring), Cartwright (quad) and Arizona T
Mike Gandy (right calf). ... Gibbs is 13-0 at home against the
Cardinals. ... Arizona's Edgerrin James (83 yards rushing) is 10
yards short of 11,000. ... Two police officers on motorcycles
collided while escorting a Cardinals bus to the game, shutting down
traffic for hours on a busy interstate. Neither officer was
- Jeff Triplette