Sports

Washington Fumbles Away Opportunities on the Road in Arizona

Team Loses First Game of the Season

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray and his favorite receiving threat, DeAndre Hopkins, had a field day respectively against the Washington Football Team on Sept. 20. Murray accounted for 353 total yards and three touchdowns (one interception) while hooking up with Hopkins for eight receptions, 68 yards and a touchdown en route to a 30-15 blowout win in Arizona.

As the Cardinals’ leading receiver in this contest, Hopkins surpassed Earl Cooper and Eric Metcalf for the most receptions (19) in his first two games with a new team in NFL history.

Washington was on cloud nine after a huge comeback victory over the Philadelphia Eagles Week 1. However, the Washington Football Team was promptly brought back down to earth after allowing 20 unanswered points in the first half, and they never established a lead in the entire match.

Murray was sharp and in the zone on the Cardinals’ opening possession after he led a 10-play, 63-yard drive that was capped by a four-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins in the back of the end zone.

Though Washington’s defense forced a key three-and-out on the ensuing possession, Washington Football Team wide receiver Steven Sims muffed the punt and gave the ball right back to Arizona. Murray capitalized on the mistake and showed his versatility by scampering into the endzone on a 14-yard touchdown run to go up by two scores early.

Washington received a golden opportunity to strike back early in the first quarter when Murray tossed a poorly thrown ball on third down, which found the hands of safety Landon Collins to set up the Burgundy and Gold in prime scoring position on Arizona’s 19-yard line.

However, that chance was short-lived when defensive lineman Jordan Phillips stripped the ball away from Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and fellow lineman Chandler Jones recovered the fumble to regain possession just three plays later.

Despite that setback, Murray, the former NFL Rookie of the Year, bounced back, leading two more scoring drives before the end of the half by way of two successful field goals from kicker Zane Gonzalez.

Washington would not score until the 3:17 minute mark in the third quarter when kicker Dustin Hopkins chipped in a 24-yard field goal.

However, it took less than four minutes for Arizona to strike back on the following possession when Murray made multiple Washington defenders miss on a 21-yard touchdown run to go up by 24 points.

Though Haskins led a 62-yard scoring drive that finished with a 26-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Terry McLaurin, Washington had trouble up front protecting the second-year quarterback.

Haskins went 19-of-33 for 233 yards and threw a touchdown but was pressured constantly and sacked four times.

Washington would only score once more when rookie running back Antonio Gibson (13 carries, 55 yards) scored the first touchdown of his career late in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard run up the middle reducing the deficit to 12 points.

Regardless, it wasn’t enough to stop Arizona’s high-powered offense the rest of the way, and Gonzalez tacked on an insurance field goal with 30 seconds remaining after the Cardinals controlled the clock for more than six minutes.

Once again, Washington did not have a back exceed the century mark on the ground, and the only player to stand out offensively was McLaurin, who hauled in seven receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown. 

What’s next?

Washington lost the first game of the season (1-1) and will be on the road again Sunday to take on the Cleveland Browns (1-1), who recently won their first match of the year against the winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 17.

“We will all be judged on what happened,” said Rivera. “This is history; there’s nothing that we can do on what just happened other than learn from it, so if we don’t learn from this, we just wasted an opportunity.”

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