Arizona Cardinals In The Rear-View Mirror

If you play your Cards right, you always come out on top.

Following the 22-21 victory on Sunday, the Redskins can now chalk up their eighth consecutive win against the Cardinals, a streak that began on Christmas Eve, 2000, and stretches for over a decade.

How much has changed since then?  Check out the line-up card from the last time the Cardinals beat the Redskins (Nov. 5, 2000):

I think it’s safe to say that this team has a little bit different flavor than the Redskins of 2000.  One notable Cardinal in that game was safety Pat Tillman.  For those of you who don’t know his story, he’s a guy that all NFL fans–and Americans in general–can appreciate.

But getting back to the game from yesterday, the Redskins also secured their first 2-0 start since 2007, which also happened to be the last time that the Redskins made the playoffs.  Too soon?  Circumstantial?  Yes, and yes, but it’s worthy of recognition, especially for this franchise.

Prior to 2011, the Redskins had started seasons 2-0 a total of 15 times, including 11 since the NFL merger. The team has qualified for the playoffs 10 times when starting 2-0 and reached the Super Bowl three times, winning two (XVII following 1982 season, XXVI following 1991 season).

According to a stat on ESPN last week, more than 60 percent of teams that start 2-0 make the playoffs each year.  The numbers fall off sharply for teams that stumble out of the gate, and the Redskins stand as one of only seven teams with a 2-0 record right now.

More importantly, they’re the only undefeated team in the NFC East.

Head coach Mike Shanahan earned his 162nd career victory, good for sole possession of 15th place all-time, surpassing the mighty Chin of Bill Cowher.  He also remained undefeated against the Cardinals, improving to 5-0.

Here are stats on individual performances:

  • Graham Gano connected on a 34-yard field goal with 1:50 remaining in the game to give the Redskins’ a 22-21 lead. The game-winning field goal was the fourth of his career and his first since hitting an overtime game-winner at Jacksonville on Dec. 26, 2010.
  • The come-from-behind win was the fourth of Rex Grossman’s career as a starter. His last fourth-quarter comeback came on Nov. 25, 2007, when Grossman led the Chicago Bears to a 37-34 overtime win against the Shanahan-coached Denver Broncos.
  • Santana Moss caught his 600th career reception in the first quarter. Moss is the 14th active player to reach 600 receptions.
  • Moss caught his 53rd career touchdown, pushing him past Anquan Boldin for sole possession of 13th most by an active receiver.
  • Helu’s 33-yard reception in the second quarter was the longest by a rookie running back since Reggie Brooks’ 43-yard reception vs. Indianapolis on Nov. 7, 1993.
  • Brian Orakpo’s second-quarter sack gave him 20.5 for his career. On the play, Orakpo forced his third career fumble.
  • Fred Davis finished the game with 86 yards, one game after posting a career-high 105 yards against the New York Giants last week. His 191 combined yards are his most in a two-game stretch in his career.
  • Ryan Kerrigan notched his first career sack, dropping Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb for a four-yard loss in the second quarter.
  • Linebacker London Fletcher secured the 17th interception of his career, picking off Kolb in the third quarter.
  • Sav Rocca placed two of his punts inside the 20-yard-line. Rocca has placed six of his nine punts as a Redskin inside the 20.

A pretty impressive day for individual performances, but another great team win.  There’s no way that the offense or defense could have won yesterday without the performance of the other unit, and special teams looks to be rounding into form.

One week until Dallas on Monday Night Football.

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