There were a few moments that, after a very solid outing in week one, Redskins fans may have believed they saw the return of “bad” Rex Grossman, especially in the first quarter. But in the fourth quarter, with the game on the line, Redskins fans also got themselves a healthy dose of “good” Rex Grossman as well.
After going down 21-13 with less than twelve minutes left to go in the game, Grossman lead the Redskins on scoring drives of 73 and 48 yards in the fourth quarter, netting nine points overall, and giving the Redskins a come-from-behind victory by the score of 22-21 over the Arizona Cardinals.
The Redskins thoroughly dominated the Cardinals in both statistics and time of possession in the first half, but only held a 10-7 lead at halftime, mostly because of a couple of costly interceptions thrown by Grossman in the first quarter. The Redskins opened up the game by going 87 yards on 11 plays, but the drive stalled on the six yard line of Arizona when Grossman attempted a throw to a falling Santana Moss, but ended up in the hands of Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson.
On the Redskins very next possession, a six play, 75 yard drive ended with Grossman attempting a slant pass to receiver Anthony Armstrong, which bounced of Armstrong’s hands and into the hands of Cardinals cornerback Richard Marshall. Two plays later, Cardinals quarterback hit tight end Jeff King for a 21 yard touchdown pass, putting the Cardinals up 7-0.
The Redskins responded, the next time they had the ball, with a 14 plays, 78 yard drive that took almost eight and a half minutes off the clock, and ended up with a 26 yard field goal by Graham Gano
Arizona got the ball back and put together their most promising drive in the first half (outside of the short one they scored a touchdown on), but the Redskins would put that to a halt. Linebacker Brian Orakpo sacked Kolb and forced a fumble (that was recovered by Arizona), forcing the Cardinals into a third and long, which they could not overcome.
The Redskins went right back to work on the next drive. After a few nice runs by running back Tim Hightower, Grossman hit running back Roy Helu – who saw extended work today – with a screen pass that Helu would end up taking 33 yards, thanks to some nifty open field moves and great downfield blocking from the offensive line. Three plays later, Grossman found a wide-open Fred Davis in the back of the endzone for a one yard touchdown pass.
Down 10-7 at halftime, a struggling Cardinals offense would find life in the second half. Their first drive, which went 49 yards on nine plays, ended with Kolb being intercepted by linebacker London Fletcher. The Redskins did nothing to capitalize on the turnover, and the Cardinals would pick up right where they left off. They went 90 yards on nine plays, steadily gashing the Redskins with a running attack featuring Chris “Beanie” Wells. Wells accounted for 41 of the Cardinals 90 yards on the drive, and capped it off with a two yard touchdown run, giving the Cardinals a 14-10 lead.
The Redskins offense continued to stall in the 3rd quarter, and wouldn’t find any rhythm again until the 4th quarter started. Their first drive of the fourth quarter started on Arizona’s 44 yard line, after they were set up with great field position by a Brandon Banks punt return. They would feed the Cardinals a heavy dose of runs and a screen pass from Helu, and end the drive with a 23 yard field goal from Gano.
Even with the score being cut to 14-13, it only took one play for the Cardinals to deliver what appeard to be the proverbial knockout punch. From their own 27 yard line, Kolb hit Larry Fitzgerald for a 73 yard touchdown strike, after cornerback DeAngelo Hall bit badly on Fitzgerald’s double move, and couldn’t catch up to him until Fitzgerald had crossed the goal line.
But instead of being deflated from the big play, the Redskins found swing right back. Grossman took the Redskins down to the Cardinals 18 yard line, but the drive appeared to have stalled when the Redskins only gained two yards on third and five. Down by eight, the coaching staff elected to go for it on 4th and 3, and it would pay off. Grossman, with great protection, hit Moss on a corner route in the endzone for an 18 yard touchdown pass. The two point conversion attempt was no good, however, as Grossman’s pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, so the Redskins were still down 21-19 with just under six minutes to go in the game.
The Redskins defense forced a three-and-out from the Cardinals, and Grossman would go right back to work. After a series of big completions to Davis, Moss, and Anthony Armstrong, and a couple of runs from Helu (who played a majority of the 4th quarter, filling in for a fatigued Hightower), Gano converted a 34 yard field goal (his third of the game) with 2:35 left to go in the game.
While the Cardinals could’ve won the game with a field goal of their own, their comeback attempt ended just as it got started. Kolb completed a pass to receiver Chansi Stuckey, who ended up fumbling the football while diving forward for more yardage. Safety Reed Doughty recovered the fumble, and the Redskins were able to kneel down and end the game.
Grossman finished the game going 25 of 43 for 291 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions. Tim Hightower, who made some comments essentially amounting to a guarantee that the Redskins would win this game, had a great game against the team that traded him during this past training camp. He finished with 96 yards on 20 carries, and had another 10 yards receiving as well. Helu joined in on the action as well, gaining 74 yards rushing on 10 carries, and adding in 38 more receiving yards as well.
The Redskins are now 2-0 for the first time since 2007, and will play their third home game in a row next Monday night (September 26th) against their arch rival, the Dallas Cowboys.