Redskins

Cardinals beat Lions 38-10 to end 9-game skid

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Cardinals beat Lions 38-10 to end 9-game skid

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Not many NFL teams have accumulated fewer than 200 yards and still scored 38 points.

The embattled Arizona Cardinals managed just that on Sunday, turning three interceptions of Matthew Stafford's passes into touchdowns and converting another turnover into a TD in a 38-10 victory over the Detroit Lions.

Greg Toler brought one pick back a franchise-record 102 yards for a score after the Lions were threatening to cut the lead to a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Rashad Johnson returned another 53 yards for a score and Patrick Peterson's interception set up yet another TD.

Asked when the last time he'd run that far, Toler said, ``Oh man, probably in track in high school.''

The Cardinals (5-9) ended a nine-game losing streak.

``I'm just happy for everybody,'' he said. ``Everybody had everyone's back and we just played our scheme of defense.''

Arizona's first victory in 2 1/2 months came a week after a 58-0 loss in Seattle, the most one-sided defeat in the long history of the Cardinals franchise.

It was Arizona's first win since beating Miami on Sept. 30, and it sent the Lions (4-10) to their sixth straight loss.

``That's about as bad as I can play,'' Stafford said.

Detroit's Calvin Johnson became the first player in NFL history with consecutive 1,600-yard receiving seasons and tied an NFL record with his seventh straight 100-yard receiving game.

Johnson caught 10 passes for 121 yards. With two games to play, he needs 182 yards to break Jerry Rice's NFL single-season record of 1,848 set 17 years ago. Johnson's 3,348 yards receiving in the past two seasons are NFL record for consecutive years, one more than Rice's total in 1994-95.

But Johnson's big numbers were the only bright spots on an afternoon when the Lions' season turned from bad to worse.

Coach Jim Schwartz, whose team made the playoffs a year ago, was ``as mad as I've been for a long time.''

``This team, the Cardinals, they lost a game last week because of turnovers, because of eight turnovers,'' Schwartz said. ``We went into the game wanting to take care of the football, wanting to establish the run. We did a poor job of both of those.''

Arizona's Beanie Wells had touchdown runs of 5, 1 and 31 yards.

The Cardinals, who avoided tying the franchise record for consecutive losses in the season, had gone 11 quarters without a touchdown before getting three of them in the second quarter Sunday.

``There was a lot of talk about if our team had quit,'' Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. ``When it was 7-0 (Detroit) and we were punting the ball there, I didn't see any quit in our guys.''

On that punt, the return man Stefan Logan, trying to make a fair catch, had his feet knocked out from under him by teammate Pat Lee, who was trying to block Michael Adams. Adams chased the ball down at the Detroit 5, and Wells scored on the next play up the middle to tie it at 7 with 9:18 left in the half.

Two possessions later, a pair of false-start penalties pushed the Lions back to their 2-yard line. Stafford overthrew Johnson, and Peterson made a leaping interception, falling to his backside after he caught the ball. He scrambled to his feet and returned 29 yards to the Detroit 3. Two plays later, Wells scored from the 1 and the Lions led 14-7.

After a pair of incompletions and a false start, the Lions had it third-and-15 from their 43 when Stafford threw in the direction of Tony Scheffler. Rashad Johnson saw it all the way, intercepting it and running down the right sideline for the score to make it 21-7 with 30 seconds left in the half.

Jay Feely's 51-yard field goal that made it 24-7 with 9:19 left in the third quarter, then five minutes later Jason Hanson's 41-yarder cut the lead to 24-10.

A 30-yard pass to Calvin Johnson highlighted a drive that had Detroit threatening to cut the lead to a touchdown in the final quarter. A delay of game penalty negated a TD pass, then on fourth-and-2 from the 4, Stafford's pass into the end zone went right into the arms of Toler, who with a brigade of blockers ran the length of the field for the score that made it 31-10 with 5:07 to play.

``I knew Greg was going to make it all the way,'' Peterson said, laughing. ``He had no one in front of him but Matthew Stafford and five Cardinals, so if he didn't make it, that definitely would have been a shame.''

The Cardinals added a final touchdown on Wells' 31-yard run after the Lions had given the ball up on downs.

NOTES: Peterson has an interception in each of the last four games and seven for the season. ... With a fourth-quarter sack, Arizona's Adrian Wilson became the sixth player in NFL history with 25 sacks and 25 interceptions. ... Hanson tied Morten Andersen for most field goals of at least 40 yards (187). ... Ninety-one-year-old Charley Trippi, a star on the Cardinals' 1947 NFL championship team, was honored at halftime. Trippi, who played for the Cardinals from 1947 to 1955, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1968. ... Detroit cornerback Jacob Lacy left in the first quarter with a knee injury. ... Arizona improved to 4-3 at home.

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Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

Redskins' schedule "rest disparity" is very fair in 2018

The NFL started taking into account a new factor when putting together its schedule this year. The concept is called rest disparity. It stems from a complaint made by the Giants last year. And, of course, when the Giants have a cold, the NFL sneezes and immediately does whatever it takes to cure the cold. 

Here is how Peter King laid it out this morning on the MMQB:

Last year, I heard the Giants were not pleased with their schedule because they felt they were too often playing teams more rested than they were. In consecutive October weeks, they played teams coming off byes, for instance. The NFL calculated a figure for every team based on the number of combined days of rest for their foes or for the team, calculating, for instance, in those two weeks, the Giants were a minus-14 (minus-seven for each of the foes, Seattle and Denver, coming off byes). In all, by my math, the Giants were a league-worst minus-22 in “rest disparity.”

So the schedule makers worked to minimize the rest disparity this year. According to King, the worst rest disparity in the league this year is minus-11. The Giants are minus-eight. 

The question that Redskins fans will have immediately here is if the Giants’ rest disparity was reduced at the expense of the team in burgundy and gold. The answer that will surprise many is no. 

The Redskins rest disparity in 2018 will be either minus-one or zero. The variance is due to the possibility that their Week 16 game in Tennessee will be flexed to a Saturday game (see details here). If the game stays on Sunday, they will be at minus-one in rest disparity. If it gets moved, they will have had exactly as much rest over the course of the season as did their opponents, in aggregate. 

If you're interested in the nitty-gritty, here is how it breaks down. In eight or nine of their games, they will have had the same amount of rest as their opponents. They play one game coming off of their bye, a Monday night game in New Orleans. The Saints play the previous Sunday, giving Washington a plus-seven in days of rest. That is canceled out when they play the Falcons in Week 9 after Atlanta’s bye. 

Due to their Thanksgiving game, they get three extra days off going into their Week 13 Monday night game in Philadelphia. Two weeks later the Jaguars will have those three extra days of rest when they host the Redskins, having played on Thursday in Week 14.

They lose a day relative to their opponents coming off of those Monday night games against the Saints and Eagles. The Redskins get an extra day prior to visiting the Giants in Week 8 as New York has a Monday night game in Week 7. 

So far, that comes to minus-one in rest disparity. That will remain in place if they play the Titans on Sunday, December 23. If the game is flexed to Saturday, they will gain a day of rest on the Eagles in Week 17, zeroing out the rest disparity for the season. 

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

Will the Caps be able to take advantage of home ice in Game 5?

There's a saying in sports that goes, "A series doesn't start until a team loses at home." For the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, their series won't start until someone wins at home.

Four games into the series, the road team has won every game. Columbus took Game 1 and Game 2 from Capital One Arena and the Caps answered back by winning Game 3 and Game 4 in Ohio.

"We came [to Columbus] to try to get the first one," Barry Trotz said after Thursday's win. "Did that. We came here to get the second one. Did that. All we've done is just got on even terms."

Now the series is a best of three with two of those final three games in Washington, but how much of an advantage does that really give the Caps?

"We've got to make sure that we're ready to go," Trotz said. "I think we have been since we got here. We've just got to do it at home."

The various playoff struggles the Caps have suffered in the Alex Ovechkin era have been well-documented to this point. One particularly maddening issue is the team's struggles to win at home. Since 2008, the first year the Ovechkin-led Caps made the playoffs, the team is just 28-25 in home playoff games. Since 2015, Trotz's first season as head coach, the Caps are 12-10 in Washington.

Part of that is just the nature of hockey. Upsets are prevalent in the playoffs in the NHL and home-ice advantage does not mean as much as it does in other sports. But it should mean more than 28-25.

Besides having the crowd on your side, home ice also provides matchup advantages. The home team gets the second line change at home, meaning during a stoppage in play the home coach gets the opportunity to see who the opponent puts on the ice before making his own change. For the Caps, this means getting Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the ice against Artemi Panarin.

Trotz has matched his top shutdown pair against Columbus' top line all series long. According to Natural Stat Trick, when Niskanen was on the ice in Game 4 he held Panarin's Corsi For percentage to 36.36. When Niskanen was not on the ice, Panarin's percentage shot up to 71.43. 

Theoretically, it should be much easier for Trotz to get those favorable matchups at home. Now all the Caps have to do is take advantage.

"Our home record hasn't been really great in the last little stretch at the end of the season here and obviously the first two games of the playoffs," Trotz said. "We owe it to our fans, we owe it to ourselves to take advantage of that."

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