December 17, 2017 / 9:54 PM / in 10 months

Cousins helps Redskins slip by Cardinals

EditorsNote: Changes Gabbert’s passing stats

Cousins helps Redskins slip by Cardinals

LANDOVER, Md. — After getting pushed around for two weeks, the Washington Redskins defense pushed back.

Kirk Cousins threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Redskins defense kept the Arizona Cardinals out of the end zone in a 20-15 win Sunday at FedEx Field.

The Redskins never trailed and stopped Arizona on downs at the Washington 21-yard line with 16 seconds left when Larry Fitzgerald couldn’t reel in a Blaine Gabbert pass inside the 10.

“Story of the day. (The Cardinals’) red zone offense against our red zone defense,” said Redskins coach Jay Gruden, whose team gave up 68 points in losses to the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers. “The ability for us not to give up the big play and keep them out of the end zone.”

Arizona went 0 for 6 in the red zone and was 4 of 19 on third down. The Cardinals haven’t scored a touchdown in their past two games and were officially eliminated from the playoff hunt.

Washington linebacker Preston Smith had an interception, fumble recovery and a sack, while defensive end Anthony Lanier had two of Washington’s five sacks.

“We all were going extra hard because we were so disappointed,” Lanier said of the back-to-back losses.”

Washington was slightly better on a day when neither offense was impressive.

Cousins was 18 of 26 for 196 yards and no interceptions. Washington (6-8) snapped a two-game losing streak and won despite rushing for just 32 yards.

The Cardinals rushed for 141 yards, but Blaine Gabbert finished 16 of 41 for 189 yards. He threw an interception and fumbled three times, losing one that led to a Redskins’ touchdown.

“Yeah, it was just a game of missed opportunities and that falls on me,” Gabbert said. “The lack of execution for me all day — that just can’t happen. We were inches away on a bunch of plays, but at the end of the day, I have to make those and we have to score touchdowns in the red zone.”

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said after the game that Gabbert would remain the starter.

Phil Dawson kicked five field goals without a miss one week after hitting four in a 12-7 win over Tennessee.

The Cardinals (6-8) haven’t won back-to-back games this season.

Arizona pooched the second-half kickoff and, when no one from the Redskins got there, Budda Baker of the Cardinals recovered at the Washington 22.

“We elected to go into the wind to start the third quarter so that we would have it in the fourth,” Dawson said. “And any time you’re going into the wind, that opens up the high short kick and so we decided to go with that and see if we couldn’t steal a possession.”

The Cardinals could not move the ball however, and Dawson’s fourth field goal pulled them within 14-12.

Later in the third quarter, Washington started on its 6-yard line and Cousins passed for 67 yards in an 88-yard drive before settling for a 24-yard field goal by Dustin Hopkins.

Dawson answered with a 54-yarder early in the fourth quarter, but a leveraging penalty on the Redskins gave the Cardinals new life on the Washington 20. Another red-zone failure resulted in Dawson kicking a 32-yarder to pull Arizona within 17-15 with 11:13 left to play.

Hopkins restored the five-point lead from 32 yards out with 4:30 remaining.

Arizona got the opening kickoff and turned the ball over three plays later when Gabbert was sacked by Lanier and fumbled. Smith recovered at the Cardinals’ 18 and made it to the 6. Cousins found Jamison Crowder on a crossing pattern for the touchdown.

The Cardinals answered with a 16-play, 60-yard drive that stalled on a pair of sacks and ended with Dawson’s 40-yard field goal.

Washington made it 14-3 early in the second quarter when Cousins threw a screen pass to running back Kapri Bibbs, who scampered 36 yards for a touchdown. Bibbs was signed off the practice squad this week after Byron Marshall was placed on injured reserve.

Trailing 14-6, the Cardinals drove to the Redskins 9 late in the half, but on first-and-goal, Gabbert’s pass was off the mark and Smith picked it off.

“It was great coverage by me and the rest of the defense and then some great rushes that pressured the quarterback to throw me that interception,” Smith said.

On first down at the Redskins 41, Cousins hit tight end Vernon Davis, but he fumbled and Arizona’s Tramon Williams returned it to the 33. The Cardinals reached the 2, but after three incomplete passes, settled for another Dawson field goal on the final play of the half.

NOTES: Arizona WR Brit Golden suffered a fractured right arm. ... Cardinals LB Chandler Jones became just the third player in franchise history with 15-plus sacks in a season. ... Arizona WR Larry Fitzgerald (five catches) reached the 90-catch plateau for the eighth time in his career. No other player in NFL history has more than six such seasons. ... Washington CB Bashaud Breeland left with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter, but returned. ... Redskins K Dustin Hopkins was activated off injured reserve on Saturday and the team waived K Nick Rose. ... Washington LB Zach Brown missed the game with multiple injuries. T Trent Williams (knee) and DL Terrell McClain (toe), listed as questionable during the week, were out. ... Arizona TE Jermaine Gresham (illness) and DT Josh Mauro (ankle) were out after being listed as questionable.

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