Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals defeated Washington’s NFL team, 31-23, on Dec. 4 in Glendale, Ariz.

The Washington Redskins and the Arizona Cardinals line up during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 31-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

The Washington Redskins and the Arizona Cardinals line up during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 31-23. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Arizona put the first points on the board on the opening drive, as running back David Johnson scored on a 1-yard run for a 7-0 lead. Washington’s offense only managed 10 plays in the first quarter, and quarterback Kirk Cousins went 3-of-8 for 26 yards.

Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins made two field goals for 47 and 20 yards to cut Arizona’s lead to 7-6 in the second quarter. Washington’s red-zone struggles continued as Cousins was unable to complete a third-down pass from the 1-yard line to receiver DeSean Jackson, and was forced to settle for a field goal.

With 11 seconds left in the first half, Arizona kicker Chandler Catanzaro made a 28-yard field goal to extend the lead to 10-6.

Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throw as Arizona Cardinals middle linebacker Kevin Minter (51) pursues during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Just one minute into the third quarter, Cousins connected with Jackson for a 59-yard reception into the red-zone. A few plays later, Cousins scored with a quarterback keeper to give Washington a 13-10 lead. Later in the third, Arizona wide receiver caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Palmer to reclaim the lead, 17-13. Three minutes later, receiver Jamison Crowder caught a 26-yard touchdown from Cousins to retake the lead at 20-17.

The lead changes continued in the fourth quarter, starting with a Johnson 25-yard touchdown catch to put Arizona back in front, 24-20. With six minutes left in regulation, Hopkins made his third field goal—a 53-yarder—to draw Washington within one point.

Washington Redskins running back Rob Kelley (32) scores a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Palmer marched the Cardinals down the field in an eight-play, 75-yard drive in the final minutes, culminating in a 42-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver J.J. Nelson. Nelson beat Washington cornerback Quinton Dunbar over the middle on what became to be the game-winning catch, extending Arizona’s lead to 31-23.

With less than two minutes to play, Cousins and company were able to move the ball all the way to Arizona’s 28-yard line. However, with 48 seconds left, Cousins’ pass intended for Crowder was intercepted by Patrick Peterson to abruptly end the drive, and subsequently, the game.

Cousins threw 21-of-37 for 271 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also lost a fumble in the third quarter. Washington receiver Pierre Garcon led the team with seven receptions for 71 yards.

Arizona’s Johnson finished with two touchdowns, 84 rushing yards and 91 receiving yards.

Next: Washington (6-5-1) travels to Philadelphia to play the Eagles (5-7) in a NFC East showdown on Dec. 11.

Breana Pitts

Special to the AFRO