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Redskins Defense Collapses against Cardinals

Will Fairfax
The Redskins offense needed some help from their defense in the second half. They did not get any as the Cardinals ran rampant. | Photo Credit: Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Redskins defense allowed the Cardinals to convert on 10 of 16 third down attempts. The Cardinals scored three touchdowns on their final three possessions of the game. The Cardinals took advantage of a poor Redskins defense on their way to a 31-23 win.  

The Cardinals marched down the field with ease on their opening drive going 75 yards in 15 plays. The drive was capped off with a one-yard touchdown run by Arizona running back David Johnson.

The Redskins offense meanwhile punted on their opening two possessions. They finally got something going on their third possession, which resulted in a field goal.

On Washington’s final meaningful possession of the first half (not counting a kneel down) they drove the ball to Arizona’s one-yard line. On first down they called a pass that resulted in an offensive penalty. They made up for it on the next play getting back to the one-yard line.

On third down the Redskins threw a fade pass to DeSean Jackson. It was a terrible call as Jackson, who is 5’10”, was going up against one the best corners in the NFL in Patrick Peterson. Jackson is also not known for his leaping ability. The Redskins continually call fade passes in the red zone that rarely work.

The Cardinals went into halftime with a 10-6 lead.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a 59-yard pass to Jackson on the opening possession of the second half. The completion took the ball to the Cardinals 5 yard line. Cousins later scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak to help give the Redskins a 13-10 lead.

On Washington’s following possession left guard Shawn Lauvao got manhandled which resulted in Cousins fumbling the ball. The Cardinals recovered the loose ball. The Cardinals offense took advantage of great field position and scored a touchdown to retake the lead.

Down 17-13 the Redskins offense responded again. Cousins lead the Redskins on an eight-play 75-yard touchdown drive. Washington wide receiver Jamison Crowder caught a 26-yard touchdown to help the Redskins take a 20-17 lead.

The Cardinals came right back and scored a touchdown. Washington was only able to respond with a field goal.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians made a gutsy call with his team facing fourth and one at their own 34-yard line. Arizona went for it and picked up the first down. The Cardinals ended up scoring a touchdown later in the drive to take a 31-23 lead.

The Redskins offense needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to force overtime. Cousins could not come through as he threw an interception under pressure to end the game.

The offensive line hindered the Redskins offense at times. Center Spencer Long left the game with a concussion. Left tackle Trent Williams missed the game due to a suspension. His replacement Ty Nsekhe came out for part of the game due to an injury. Lauvao had a terrible game and was consistently driven back in pass protection. He continues to be the weak link on the Redskins offensive line.

Cousins had a decent game considering that he was under intense pressure throughout the game.

The Redskins defense cost them the game. They could not get off the field on third down. The Cardinals scored touchdowns on their final three possessions of the game. Washington was down by one point and needed a big stop by their defense. The Redskins defense collapsed and allowed a touchdown.

Future Hall of Fame Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and running back David Johnson accounted for most of Arizona’s offense. They were continually given the ball and yet the Redskins could not even slow them down.

The defense may ultimately be the undoing of the Redskins team. The defense cost the Redskins on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys and again against the Cardinals.

Washington is now on the outside looking in as the Buccaneers took the Redskins projected sixth playoff spot.

The only good news may be that the Redskins face a struggling Eagles team next week. The Redskins also welcome back Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams from his four-game suspension.

Will Fairfax is a Washington Redskins staff writer for Pro Football Spot. You can follow him on Twitter @WillFairfax1.  You can also follow Redskins content on PFS on Twitter @spot_redskins.

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