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5 Takeaways From Washington's Game Against the Arizona Cardinals

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)
Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson (24) scores a touchdown as Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (21) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Darryl Webb)

The Washington Football Team traveled to play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday afternoon and lost, 30-15. Here are five takeaways from the game:

1. Antonio Gibson scores his first-career touchdown.

Washington was in desperate need of a score, as it trailed, 27-9, with fewer than seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Facing a 1st-and-10 at the Cardinals' 11-yard line, Antonio Gibson took the hand-off and scampered towards the goal line. He met a group of Arizona defenders at the goal line, but they were not enough to keep him from diving into the end zone for his first-career touchdown.

Gibson has been expected to be a big part of Washington's offense. After getting nine carries for 36 yards against the Eagles, Gibson's load increased to 13 carries for a team-leading 55 rushing yards.

Gibson was not an active piece in Washington's passing game; he was targeted just two times, resulting in negative three yards. But offensive coordinator Scott Turner said during the week that Gibson's role would continue to grow, so there is a good chance he will be able to use his experience as a receiver later in the season.

2. Washington sacks Kyler Murray three times.

Washington's defense had another strong day in terms of rushing the passer. It followed up eight sacks in Week 1 with three sacks on Kyler Murray, resulting in a combined loss of eight yards.

Jon Bostic got the days started with a sack in the first quarter for a seven-yard loss. Bostic now has two sacks this season -- a feat he has only reached twice in his seven-year career. That was followed up by a sack from Landon Collins, who forced Murray out of bounds. Collins also had an interception -- his first since 2017.

Chase Young got the final sack of the day by bringing down Murray for a one-yard loss. Young, who finished Sunday's game with four tackles, now leads the team with 2.5 sacks.

3. Washington's defense improves after going down, 14-0, in first quarter.

With the help of two turnovers from Washington, Murray and Arizona's offense got off to a fast start and jumped out to a 14-0 lead. The first score came at the end of a 10-play drive with a four-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins. That was followed by a 14-yard run from Murray as time expired in the first quarter.

But after Murray's scramble, Washington's defense only allowed 16 points for the rest of the game.

The defense allowed a combined 121 yards on the Cardinals' final two scoring drives of the first half, but both ended in field goals. The unit also held the Cardinals scoreless in the third quarter, forcing two punts and holding the offense to just two yards.

Washington allowed only 10 points in the fourth quarter, allowing Washington to attempt a comeback with two touchdowns of its own. However, Arizona's final drive, which ended in a 28-yard field goal, took six minutes off the clock and sealed the game.

4. Gibson, McKissic combine for 100-plus rushing yards.

Washington's running backs struggled against the Eagles in Week 1. The group played a pivotal role in winning the game with two touchdowns from Peyton Barber, but it couldn't gain steam. The trio of Barber, Gibson and J.D. McKissic accounted for just 63 yards.

Sunday's game was much better, as Gibson and McKissic fueled a 117-yard performance on 23 carries. The team averaged 5.1 yards per attempt, which is improved from its 2.1 average in Week 1.

McKissic, who had negative two rushing yards in Week 1, showed the biggest improvement against the Cardinals. Thirty-four of his 53 rushing yards came in the second half, and he had runs of 13, 11 and nine yards.

Together, Gibson and McKissic finished with 108 rushing yards and a touchdown.

5. Terry McLaurin puts together a strong game against Arizona's secondary.

Terry McLaurin had a quiet first half with just three catches for 47 yards. But as Washington's offense started to come alive in the fourth quarter, so too did its No. 1 receiver.

With Washington trailing, 20-0, to start the second half, McLaurin hauled in an 18-yard catch. He followed that up in the fourth quarter with a 26-yard reception that put the offense at Arizona's 49-yard line. He was targeted two more times in the next four plays, the last of which was a 24-yard touchdown that made the score 27-9.

"He definitely does a great job of getting open and understanding situational football," Dwayne Haskins Jr. said after the game. "Definitely going to Terry helped us out."

McLaurin finished the game with 125 yards on seven receptions, giving him 186 yards in the past two games. He now has four 100-yard receiving games in his career, three of which were at least 125 yards.

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