Defense was the order of the day as the Washington Redskins broke a two-game losing streak and defeated the Arizona Cardinals 20-15 at FedEx Field on Sunday.
The Washington defense kept Arizona out of the end zone throughout the contest. The Cardinals could only score on five Phil Dawson field goals, while the Redskins defensive unit came up with enough big plays to secure the victory.
Washington started quickly, forcing a fumble on Arizona’s first possession that was recovered by linebacker Preston Smith at the Arizona 6-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Kirk Cousins found wide receiver Jamison Crowder in the end zone to give Washington a 7-0 lead.
The Cardinals would hold onto to the football for almost 10 minutes on the next possession but could only manage a Dawson 40-yard field goal. Washington would lead 7-3 after one quarter.
The second quarter saw Washington use a little trickery to score on their first possession of the quarter. Cousins faked a double reverse then found newly-acquired running back Kapri Biggs, who would take the ball 36 yards into the end zone for a 14-3 score.
The game would become a battle of field goals as Dawson would hit four more while Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins, who just returned to the team, added two. Washington needed one more defensive stand late in the fourth, which they got as defensive back DJ Swearinger batted down the pass to secure the victory.
Both teams were anemic on third-down conversion attempts. Washington was 1-9 while Arizona was 4 for 19. The home team only ran 47 offensive plays in the game, compared to 80 for the visitors.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden was proud of his defensive unit and happy to get a much-needed victory.
“The defense was the story of the day,” Gruden said. “They did a great job in the red zone. I’m really proud of them.”
Washington (6-8) plays their final home game of the year on Christmas Eve when they host the Denver Broncos (5-9) at 1 p.m.