Returning home to FedExField, the Washington Redskins were stout on defense and did just enough on offense to defeat the Arizona Cardinals 20-15 in Week 15 action.
Fourth Quarter: Redskins 20, Cardinals 15
It looked like the Redskins were going to hold the Cardinals to a fifth field goal early in the quarter, but a 15-yard penalty on A.J. Francis for leveraging that gave Arizona new life.
Despite the new set of downs, though, Phil Dawson would have to come out for a 32-yard field goal which he would convert.
After the Redskins were forced into a three-and-out with less than 10 minutes to play, the defense pushed the Cardinals into a three-and-out of their own after a four-yard loss on first down before Preston Smith tallied a sack.
A nine-yard punt return started Washington's ensuing drive in Arizona territory before Dustin Hopkins came out to convert a 32-yard field goal to put the Redskins ahead by five with more than four minutes left in the contest.
The Redskins, however, were held to just two yards off a Cardinals punt and Tress Way came in to punt on the final play before the two-minute warning.
Zach Vigil nearly had an interception on the first play out of the break, but the ball would be completed for a three-yard gain before Gabbert picked up a new set of downs with his legs.
Arizona would once again get a first down off a pass interference call on Kendall Fuller on a third down pass attempt that originally fell incomplete.
Anthony Lanier II, meanwhile, recorded another key pass defensed on a second down throw before a fourth down pass to Larry Fitzgerald was not completed.
Third Quarter: Redskins 17, Cardinals 12
The Cardinals added a little special teams trickery on the opening kickoff of the second half, as a squib was recovered by Arizona rookie Budda Baker.
Check out images from the Washington Redskins in their 2017 Week 15 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals Dec. 17, 2017, at FedExField.
Arizona would turn the miscue by Washington's special teams into Phil Dawson's fourth field goal of the afternoon.
After exchanging punts, the Redskins milked the clock for more than six minutes before Dustin Hopkins converted on his first field goal attempt since returning to the active roster.
On the drive, Kirk Cousins completed passes to five different receivers including a 23-yard completion to Samaje Perine.
The Redskins' third drive of the quarter was set back by a holding call on a Perine run before Ryan Grant gained 15 yards back on a reception from Cousins. However, a 14-yard loss on a reverse call by Washington set the offense back before the end of the frame.
Second Quarter: Redskins 14, Cardinals 9
The Redskins were able to extend their lead early in the second quarter, as Kirk Cousins found Kapri Bibbs for a 36-yard touchdown pass off a screen.
Cousins found multiple receivers on the drive including Bibbs, who was called up from the practice squad earlier in the week.
After the Cardinals elected to go for it on fourth down just inside Redskins territory, Arizona benefitted from a pass interference call on Josh Norman before having to kick a second field goal on the afternoon.
On a third down pass attempt by Blaine Gabbert, Preston Smith got his hands on the quarterback to force an incompletion.
Washington's ensuing drive off the made field goal immediately got a 15-yard jumpstart off a penalty to Arizona, but a sack of Kirk Cousins on a third down pass attempt thwarted the drive before Tress Way appeared for the second time on the afternoon.
The Cardinals appeared poised to cut the deficit once again, but Preston Smith picked off Gabbert inside the 10-yard line for his second career interception. A horse collar tackle call on the Cardinals tacked on 15 yard to Smith's return.
Arizona would get the ball right back, though, as Vernon Davis coughed up a reception that was recovered by the Cardinals.
The Cardinals would get down to the one-yard line before Anthony Lanier II deflected a third down pass to bring on the field goal unit.
Phil Dawson would hit his third field goal of the half to end the second quarter.
First Quarter: Redskins 7, Cardinals 3
Returning to action for the first time since Week 6, kicker Dustin Hopkins – activated from Injured Reserve on Sunday – booted the opening kickoff into the end zone for a touchback.
On third down, Anthony Lanier II sacked Blaine Gabbert before the quarterback fumbled a ball that was recovered by Preston Smith.
Smith was taken down at the six-yard line. After Samaje Perine gained one yard on a first down run, Kirk Cousins rolled out to his right to find Jamison Crowder for a five-yard touchdown.
Arizona, however, would respond with a 40-yard field goal.
On the Cardinals' second drive, Gabbert linked up with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald three times for 25 yards.
The Cardinals had momentum on their side for most of the drive, but a second down sack by Junior Galette forced the offense into a 3rd-and-12 situation it could not overcome as Lanier II recorded a second sack.
Washington's defense continued to crank up the pressure late in the quarter, forcing Arizona into a three-and-out inside its own 20-yard line.