LANDOVER, Md. This wasn't a football game. It was a series of unfortunate events.
The Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals seemed poised to set football back for decades Sunday with bad penalties and bonehead mistakes. Since the Redskins had the only thing resembling a normal scoring drive, it seemed appropriate they were the winner, 21-19, although they finished the day with only 160 total yards and survived a 55-yard field goal attempt that was barely wide left with two seconds remaining.
Arizona's Neil Rackers missed what would have matched the longest field goal of his career. The attempt was set up when the Cardinals recovered an onside kick following a touchdown and a failed 2-point conversion.
No one expected a classic. The Cardinals showed up with a one-armed quarterback and two backups who barely knew the play book, while the Redskins had to patch together a starting offense after injuries to three linemen last week.
That didn't do much to explain the combined 15 penalties for 128 yards. Or the blocked punt by the Cardinals. Or the blocked extra point by the Redskins. Or the fact that the Redskins let the Cardinals back into the game by committing needless dead-ball fouls after twice stopping Arizona during a long drive that resulted in a touchdown.
Oh, by the way, three of the game's six touchdowns were the product of interceptions.
The box score will show Clinton Portis had a pair of short touchdown runs for the Redskins (4-2), who, after this effort, can't be too excited about playing unbeaten New England next. The Cardinals fell to 3-4 despite pulling that wacky maneuver of using three different quarterbacks in the waning crucial seconds.
Kurt Warner, who started despite a torn elbow ligament that made it awkward to hand the ball off, drove the Cardinals from Arizona's 29 to Washington's 1. Then surprise Tim Rattay entered the game and threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Leonard Pope to pull his team within two with 21 seconds to play.
Needing a 2-point conversion, the Cardinals snapped the ball directly to receiver Anquan Boldin in shotgun formation. Boldin scrambled to the right, and with nowhere to run, threw feebly toward Larry Fitzgerald. Safety LaRon Landry broke up the pass.
Still, the Cardinals recovered the onside kick and marched to the 37 before Rackers, who ended the first half by getting into a face mask tug-of-war with cornerback Carlos Rogers after the blocked extra point, nearly ended the game with a winning kick.
Warner, wearing a bulky black brace on his elbow, was 27-of-41 for 282 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned 27 yards for a touchdown by London Fletcher.
The Redskins were outgained more than two-to-one without center Casey Rabach, out with a strained right groin, and several other linemen who weren't 100 percent. Washington even used a defensive lineman, Lorenzo Alexander, as an extra blocker near the goal line.