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Redskins need all of prolific offense

©Associated Press
September 9, 2002

LANDOVER, Md. -- Shane Matthews threw three touchdowns and Stephen Davis overcame a third-quarter groin strain to get 150 total yards as the Redskins held off the Cardinals 31-23 Sunday in Steve Spurrier's NFL coaching debut.

Matthews was 28-of-40 for 327 yards, and Rod Gardner had seven catches for 131 yards and a touchdown as the Redskins put up 442 yards of offense.

Davis, concerned he would be forgotten in a pass-happy offense, was the focal point with 26 carries for 104 yards and had seven catches for 46 yards. He topped 5,000 yards rushing for his career.

An injury to kicker Brett Conway let the Cardinals back into the game in the fourth quarter. Backup quarterback Danny Wuerffel's kickoff was so short that he had to make the tackle at Washington's 42-yard line.

Three plays later, Arizona scored on a 29-yard catch by David Boston to close a 15-point deficit to eight with 10:39 to go, making for a tense ending as Jake Plummer tried to engineer a comeback. His final effort ended when Champ Bailey intercepted a pass deep in Cardinals territory with 56 seconds left.

Plummer was 14-of-36 for 187 yards and ran for a touchdown against a Marvin Lewis-coached defense that is supposed to be one of the best in the league. Boston, who led the league in yards receiving last year, caught seven passes for 138 yards.

Trailing 13-10 at halftime, the Redskins ran their offense most smoothly in the third quarter and early in the fourth.

Davis scored on a 3-yard run, Gardner used his size to get position over the middle for a 43-yard touchdown reception in the end zone, and Derrius Thompson caught a 17-yard touchdown to make it 31-16.

Conway, who has been bothered by a hip injury, kicked a meager extra point before giving way to Wuerffel for the kickoff.

"What we needed was a stop, and we never did get one early in the third quarter," Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said. "I'll have a lot of time on the plane to have this thing sit in my gut. I'm very, very bitter about this loss here because I thought we had a chance coming in here."

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