LANDOVER, Md. (AP)—Even Leigh Torrence wasn’t sure how he deflected the ball. He got a piece of it with his hand, he thought. Maybe it then bounced off his helmet.
What really matters is that he was there, swinging the tide Sunday with a solid defensive play in the fourth quarter. He kept pace with Steve Breaston deep over the middle and caused Kurt Warner’s pass to bounce high into the air and into the hands of diving teammate Carlos Rogers.
“I knew I was going to deflect it,” Torrence said, “but I wasn’t sure how.”
Rogers got to his feet and took off, running 42 yards to the 15-yard line. Two plays later, Santana Moss scored on a 17-yard receiver screen with 12:10 remaining, giving the Washington Redskins a 24-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
“They got the bounce on that one,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “The momentum was kind of in our favor when that play happened. That play hurt.”
They were two teams stingy with turnovers in their first two games, and the team that kept that reputation intact came out the winner. Jason Campbell completed 23 of 31 passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns. No completion gained more than 26 yards, but hasn’t thrown an interception this season.
Clinton Portis ran 21 times for 68 yards and a touchdown for the Redskins (2-1), who have only one lost fumble in three games and have won two straight for coach Jim Zorn since a sputtering start against the New York Giants in Week 1.
“After the game against the Giants, we said that the next two games were must wins,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “This was a huge win. I think that if we continue winning, we will look back and say that this was when we became a good team.”
The Cardinals (2-1) had been looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1974, but they committed their first giveaways of the season and ended a 10-game streak in which they scored 20 or more points. They also fell to 2-15 in the eastern time zone since 2003, a major reason why they’re staying in the Washington area this week ahead of next Sunday’s game in the Meadowlands against the Jets.
Warner completed 16 of 30 passes for 192 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Larry Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 109 yards and one touchdown, but field position was the nemesis: Between the lack of takeaways and three penalties on kick and punt returns, the Cardinals didn’t start a drive beyond their 42.
“It’s a shame,” Whisenhunt said. “We were kind of behind the 8-ball all day.”
Campbell completed his first eight passes, giving him 16 straight over two games. He dinked and dunked his way down the field on the game’s opening drive, going 6-for-6, with Portis scoring on a 3-yard run.
A pair of Cardinals mistakes helped Washington extend the lead. A fourth-and-inches delay-of-game penalty—disputed by Warner, who claimed the play clock still had one second remaining—forced Arizona to punt when it had lined up to go for it.
The Cardinals tied the game with Warner’s 4-yard touchdown toss to Anquan Boldin and Neil Rackers’ 26-yard field goal. Campbell’s 2-yard pass to Todd Yoder put the Redskins back in front, but the Cardinals tied the score again on the game’s first offensive play of more than 20 yards—a 62-yard post pattern to Fitzgerald late in the third quarter.
The Cardinals then forced the Redskins to punt and were feeling good about their chances—until Torrence stuck his arm over Breaston’s shoulder and sent the ball flying.
“You feel like you play a good game and you don’t make any mistakes,” Warner said, “and then you get one that goes off a helmet and gets picked off, and it turns the game around.”
Moss has a TD catch in six straight games (including last year’s playoff game), tying Bobby Mitchell’s franchise record set in 1964. … Redskins RT Stephon Heyer sprained his left shoulder. … Both teams had a wide receiver throw a pass: Arizona’s Jerheme Urban’s completed his first NFL attempt for 18 yards to Tim Hightower, and Washington’s Antwaan Randle El hit Cooley for an 11-yard gain. … The Cardinals reported no significant injuries.