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Defensive lapses hurt Redskins in 31-23 loss to Cardinals

Defensive lapses hurt Redskins in 31-23 loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ— The Redskins went into Arizona looking to improve their playoff status but they ended up taking one on the chin. A cold start by the offense, an inability of the defense to get third-down stops, and a key third-quarter turnover that the Cardinals turned into a touchdown proved to be too much to overcome and they left University of Phoenix Stadium with a 31-23 loss.

Kirk Cousins had a rough first half, passing for just 89 yards. When his passes weren’t getting batted at the line he was throwing off the mark. The Redskins trailed 10-6 at intermission. But on the second play of the half Cousins hit DeSean Jackson in stride with a 59-yard bomb down to the Cardinals five. Three play later the Redskins scored a touchdown to take the lead for the first time at 13-10.

The Cardinals missed a long field goal and it looked like the Redskins had a chance to take control. But a play after left tackle Ty Nsekhe left the game with an ankle injury, Cousins was sacked and fumbled. The Cardinals recovered and returned the ball to the 10. Three plays later they were in the end zone and the Redskins trailed again.

But Washington fought back, driving to a touchdown pass from Cousins to Jamison Crowder and they had a 20-17 lead going into the fourth quarter. Washington answered a Cardinals touchdown with a field goal and it was 24-23 with 6:01 to go.

The Redskins had a chance to make a huge play when the Cardinals went for it with half a yard to go but David Johnson bolted for 14 yards. A few plays later the Redskins had a chance on third down but defensive holding negated an incompletion and Arizona kept possession. They wrapped it up two plays later on a deep Palmer touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

The Redskins had one last chance to tie it up with a TD and a two-point conversion but after they drove down to the Arizona 34 Cousins was hit while throwing and Patrick Peterson made a diving interception.

The loss dropped the Redskins' record to 6-5-1. They travel to Philadelphia to play the Eagles next Sunday.

Injury Updates:

C Spencer Long left the game to be evaluated for a concussion in the second quarter. He was cleared but was held out for a shoulder injury, return questionable. However, Long was reevaluated at halftime and was found to have a concussion. John Sullivan took his place at center.

OT Ty Nsekhe left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. His return was announced as questionable. He returned the next series.

S Will Blackmon left the game in the fourth quarter with an undisclosed injury.

Scoring drives:  

First quarter           

Johnson 1 run (Catanzaro kick)

Drive: The Cardinals took the opening kickoff and moved right in for a score. They got their main offensive weapons going early, with David Johnson gaining 10 yards on a run and then Larry Fitzgerald picked up 12 on a wide receiver screen. Carson Palmer converted a third and 11 with a pass to Johnson for 13 yards into Redskins territory. Another third down was converted on a pass from Palmer to Jermaine Gresham that set up first and goal at the one. Two plays later, Jonson went up the middle for the touchdown.

Drive summary: 15 plays, 75 yards, 8:17

Cardinals 7, Redskins 0 6:43

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Second quarter

FG Hopkins 47

Drive: 7 plays, 40 yards, 3:33

Drive summary: The Redskins offense had been sputtering but they got it going to this drive. First Cousins flipped a short pass that Chris Thompson turned into a 21-yard gain into Arizona territory. On the next play Rob Kelley bolted up the middle for 19 yards. But the drive stalled and Hopkins came in to boot the field goal.

Cardinals 7, Redskins 3 9:48

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FG Hopkins 20

Drive: 11 plays, 47 yards, 5:26

Drive summary: The Redskins got good field position after a poor punt, starting at the Arizona 48. Cousins converted a third and four with a pass to Pierre Garçon for nine yards. Then a Cousins to Ryan Grant pass picked up another first down at the 18. Two plays later it was Cousins to Grant again for 13 yards to the one-yard line. But they couldn’t punch it in and had to settle for another field goal.  

Cardinals 7, Redskins 6 1:52

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FG Catanzaro 28

Drive: 12 plays, 65 yards, 1:45

Drive summary: The Cardinals got this late drive going with a pass from Palmer to Fitzgerald for 23 yards. Later on third and 12 from the Redskins 41, Palmer found David Johnson over the middle for 23 yards to the 18. The Cardinals ran out of time and had to settle for the field goal.

Cardinals 10, Redskins 6 1:45

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Third quarter

Cousins 1 run (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 5 plays, 74 yards, 2:24

Drive summary: The Redskins got this one started when Cousins dodged a rusher and fired to Garçon for a gain of 10. On the next play Cousins launched a deep pass to DeSean Jackson, who tracked it down for 59 yards to the Arizona five. Three plays later Cousins snuck it into the end zone from the one and Washington had the lead for the first time.

Redskins 13, Cardinals 10 12:36

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Floyd 6 pass from Palmer (Catanzaro kick)

Drive: 3 plays, 10 yards, 0:51

Drive summary: A sack and strip of Cousins sent the ball flying. Arizona linebacker Markus Golden scooped up the loose ball and returned it 20 yards to the Washington 10. On third down from the six, Palmer went to Floyd for the touchdown.

Cardinals 17, Redskins 13

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Crowder 26 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 3:04

Drive summary: After the sudden change with the sack and strip, the Redskins’ offense got going again. A 28-yard pass from Cousins to Pierre Garçon got the Redskins into Arizona territory and then a nimble 16-yard Chris Thompson run got a first down at the 26. Three plays later Cousins found Jamison Crowder open for the touchdown.

Redskins 20, Cardinals 17 1:06

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Fourth quarter

Johnson 25 pass from Palmer (Catanzaro kick)

Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards, 4:57

Drive summary: The Cardinals sustained their knack for converting third downs on this one. First Palmer went to Fitzgerald for three yards on third and three and then to Gresham for nine on third and eight. Another Gresham pass and a 13-yard Johnson run moved the Cardinals to a first down in Washington territory at the 43. A few plays later, Johnson took a short pass from Palmer and picked his way 25 yards for the touchdown.

Cardinals 24, Redskins 20 11:09

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FG Hopkins 53

Drive: 10 plays, 40 yards, 5:08

Drive summary: The Redskins again answered an Arizona TD with a scoring drive. Rob Kelly got it started with a 10-yard run up the middle and then Cousins went to Crowder for 14. They converted a third and two with a seven-yard connection between Cousins and Vernon Davis. The drive stalled and Hopkins came in a boomed a 53-yard field goal to make it a one-point game.

Cardinals 24, Redskins 23 6:01

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Kelley 4 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards, 4:05

Drive summary: The Cardinals converted a fourth down with a Johnson run and a third down on a penalty. That set up the Cardinals’ chance to end it and they did when Palmer hit J.J. Nelson on a 42-yard touchdown pass.

Cardinals 31, Redskins 23 1:56

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

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NFL players react to news that Andrew Luck is retiring

NFL players took to Twitter on Saturday to send well-wishes to Andrew Luck after news broke that he is retiring from the NFL. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Luck was 'mentally worn out' after years of battling injuries. Luck confirmed the news in an emotional press conference on Saturday night.

"Andrew luck I understand you 100% brotha," wrote Dez Bryant. "... take your time ... I wish you the best."

Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins reacted to the news with emojis.

Former player turned ESPN analyst Emmanuel Acho posted video of Colts fans booing Luck as he walked into the locker room. "Coach always said, 'the pats on the back eventually turn into stabs,'" he wrote.  

"That's bad to boo that man," added former Redskins player Chris Baker.

Former Ravens and current Carolina player Torrey Smith tweeted that anyone in the sport understands.

Jaguars long snapper Matt Overton wrote he was "shook."

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Falcons safety Keanu Neal says no 'ill intent' for big hit on Jordan Reed

Falcons safety Keanu Neal says no 'ill intent' for big hit on Jordan Reed

Jordan Reed took a major blow to the head in the Redskins third preseason game in Atlanta, and the blow eventually landed Washington's stud tight end in the NFL's concussion protocol. 

Falcons safety Keanu Neal delivered the hit, and while it was clearly illegal and resulted in a penalty on the field, he took to Twitter to defend his play. 

It's hard to judge intent under the incredible speed that plays happen during pro football. When a player goes in for a tackle, ball carriers can also move, and plays that look dirty in slow motion can look reasonable in full speed. Still, it's undeniable that Reed took a major shot in the helmet from Neal, and it definitely seemed unnecessary. And it's not a secret that Reed has dealt with serious head injuries throughout his NFL career. 

There has been no update on Reed's condition beyond that he's in the NFL concussion protocol. Reed also stayed in the game after the big hit from Neal before his concussion symptoms showed up at halftime. 

Neal is a fifth-year safety out of the University of Florida. He missed most of the 2018 season with an ACL injury. Reed also attended the University of Florida.

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