With some late-game heroics by their defense and place kicker Graham Gano , the Redskins scored nine points in the final 10 minutes to pull off the victory in front of a FedEx Field crowd announced at 76,330.
On the first play from scrimmage after Gano’s go-ahead 34-yard field goal, cornerback Byron Westbrook delivered a ball-rattling tackle on Arizona wide receiver Chansi Stuckey following a 12-yard reception. Safety Reed Doughty, who acknowledged a couple of mistakes in last week’s game, pounced on the loose ball, giving the Redskins possession at Arizona’s 32-yard line with 1 minute 39 seconds left.
With the home crowd chanting, “We want Dallas,” whom Washington faces next week at Cowboys Stadium, Rex Grossman and an offense that struggled much of the second half ran out the clock.
“You’ve got to find a way to win,” Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said. “We had our opportunities in the first half, and when you stub your toe, sometimes it’s hard to move the ball the way we did and to not get into the end zone and get behind by eight points and still find a way to come from behind in the fourth quarter.”
In the first half, two interceptions and a blocked field goal prevented Washington from building a comfortable lead despite a stingy defensive effort, five trips inside the Cardinals 40-yard line and four trips into the red zone.
With 10:58 left in the game, it appeared as if the Redskins were headed toward defeat. The Cardinals appeared to have found their rhythm and struck quickly when quarterback Kevin Kolb hit an open Larry Fitzgerald down the right sideline for a 73-yard touchdown pass.
Washington answered with a 13-play, 73-yard drive capped by an 18-yard touchdown pass from Grossman to Santana Moss that made the score 21-19. On the scoring play, the Redskins faced fourth and three and Grossman had a receiver in the flat for what would have been a first down. But the eighth-year pro passed up that option and hit Moss in the right corner of the end zone.
“Any time you’re in that situation and they make a big play and you’re down eight points, as an offense in the huddle, you know you’ve got to get going and have a fourth-quarter comeback, and that’s what we did,” said Grossman, who has thrown for at least one touchdown in each of his last five games. “Those are the types of situations that I think build momentum and confidence as a team, knowing that throughout the course of the year, you’re going to be put in a lot of adverse situations.”
The Redskins went for two points to tie the score, but Grossman’s pass was deflected, and the Cardinals maintained the lead.
But Washington’s defense delivered again. After limiting Arizona to only three third-down conversions all game to that point, the Redskins produced another stop when rookie linebacker Ryan Kerrigan swatted a Kolb pass on third and seven.