GLENDALE http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/damien-wilson-jersey , Ariz. (AP) — Alex Smith looked like his old self. So did Adrian Peterson.
When the 34-year-old Smith wasn’t carving up the Arizona defense, the 33-year-old Peterson was running through it.
The result was a 24-6 Washington victory on Sunday, coach Jay Gruden’s first win in a season opener in five tries, and it was even more dominant than the final score would indicate.
“You guys put that monkey there. You guys kept reminding me about the dang 0-4 start,” Gruden said. “It counts as one game. I told our team we are 1-0 and now it is time we have to put back-to-back games together.”
Smith and Peterson were playing their first game as Redskins and the two veterans made an impact from the start.
“I thought the way we came out moving the ball, finishing drives in the red zone was big,” Smith said. “It certainly started with running the football. I thought our O-line was dominant.”
Smith, acquired from Kansas City in the offseason to replace Kirk Cousins, completed 21 of 30 passes without an interception and had TD throws of 13 yards to Chris Thompson and 4 yards to Jordan Reed. Peterson rushed for 96 yards on 26 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown ru n.
“The sky is the limit (for this offense),” Peterson said. “Alex is doing a great job running this offense and for the past couple of weeks I have seen these receivers go out in practice and grind. The offensive line speaks for itself and then you add C.T. (Chris Thompson) in there. That young guy got me going today.”
Peterson, who played for Arizona a year ago and signed with Washington as a free agent on Aug. 20, finished his day with a 52-yard reception Randy Gregory Jersey , but fumbled at the end of the play.
The Redskins outgained the Cardinals 429-213 and had 30 first downs to Arizona’s 14 and it was even more one-sided before the Cardinals showed some life late in the game. Washington rushed for 182 yards to Arizona’s 68.
“The nemesis right now is just stopping the run,” Wilks said. “…Tackling was an issue.”
Arizona avoided a shutout when David Johnson ran 2 yards for a touchdown with 5:47 to play.
Johnson, who signed a three-year, $39 million contract extension with Arizona on Saturday night with $30 million guaranteed, carried nine times for 37 yards and caught five passes for 30 yards.
“I’m not even thinking about the contract,” he said. “I’m thinking about the loss and what I did wrong, the mental errors, dropped catches and how bad I played.”
Sam Bradford, in his debut as Cardinals quarterback, was 20 of 34 for 153 yards and was intercepted once.
The Redskins manhandled the Arizona defense in a dominant first half to lead 21-0 at the break. And the Arizona team under the new coaching regime was booed roundly as it left the field.
The statistics were stunningly one-sided through the first two quarters: 261 yards for the Redskins to 36 yards for the Cardinals. Smith completed 17 of 20 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Bradford, meanwhile, was 3 of 7 for 11 yards. Washington had the ball for 22 minutes, 57 seconds to the Cardinals’ 7:03.
“We had three possessions in the first half and we’re down 21-0 at halftime http://www.greenbaypackersteamonline.com/montravius-adams-jersey ,” Bradford said. “It’s tough on the defense, it’s tough on the offense.”
Arizona got two first downs on its first possession and went three-and-out the only other two times it had the ball in the first half.
Washington, meanwhile, had touchdown drives of 80, 73 and 92 yards behind a powerful rushing game and the efficient management of Smith.
The first scoring drive went 80 yards in 11 plays, Smith went 13 yards to Thompson on the first play of the second quarter for the score.
After Arizona’s first three-and-out, Washington used up 9:06 in a 15-play, 73-yard drive, Peterson plowing in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-0.
The Cardinals went nowhere again and the Redskins took advantage of their last chance of the half.
Smith completed 7 of 7 passes for 77 yards in a 10-play, 92-yard drive. Smith threw 4 yards to Reed for the touchdown and it was 21-0 with 8 seconds left in the half.
Three Washington players left the game with injuries.
Rookie wide receiver Cam Sims injured an ankle in the first quarter and was carted off the field. He did not return. Washington wide receiver Trey Quinn left in the third quarter, also with an ankle injury, and didn’t return. Redskins safety Troy Apke left with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter.
Arizona right tackle Andre Smith left in the fourth quarter with an elbow injury.
Redskins: host Indianapolis next Sunday. Washington hasn’t started 2-0 since 2011.
Cardinals: play at the Los Angeles Rams next Sunday. Arizona lost at Los Angeles 33-0 last season.
— Kevin Byard no longer needs the tweet of Deion Sanders calling the All-Pro and Pro Bowl safety “a fan” as the lock screen on his cellphone.
The Tennessee Titans safety believes he squeezed all the motivation needed from that Twitter exchange, which fueled him throughout the offseason in his quest to be the NFL’s best in his third season.
“You could be All-Pro Tramon Williams Jersey , no matter what, you still have guys, you still have things to prove,” Byard said Tuesday. “You still have to keep working.”
That Twitter exchange in March started after the Hall of Fame cornerback and now NFL Network analyst tabbed Tyrann Mathieu as the NFL’s top safety. Byard tweeted at Sanders , asking how he didn’t mention either of 2017’s All-Pro safeties. Sanders responded he knew who players and former players believe is the league’s best.
“You continue to be a fan and i will continue being the man,” Sanders wrote back to Byard on Twitter . Byard answered back that neither numbers nor film added up with Sanders overlooking Minnesota’s Harrison Smith, Earl Thomas of Seattle and Kansas City’s Eric Berry.
Support flowed in on Twitter for Byard from Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey , Ravens safety Eric Weddle and Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward .
Byard’s numbers in 2017 speak for themselves.
He led the NFL with 10 total takeaways and tied for the league lead with a career-high eight interceptions and 87 total tackles to earn All-Pro honors along with his first Pro Bowl berth. He had the most interceptions by a player for this franchise since Richard Johnson had eight picks in 1990 for the then-Houston Oilers.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has coached safeties such as Ed Reed in his career. He’s not looking to compare Byard to anyone, but Pees has made clear how impressed he is by Byard’s hard work, leadership and professionalism.
“He’ll come in and tell me, we always try to keep ahead of them and let them know what’s coming in in the next day, and he’ll come back the next day and have a question on something we haven’t even covered yet, which tells me then he’s doing all the right things Kenny Clark Jersey ,” Pees said.
Byard had eight of the Titans’ 12 interceptions last season, and the secondary has been working together since March with the target of being the NFL’s best group.
Tennessee added cornerback Malcolm Butler to the group as a free agent, then lost safety Johnathan Cyprien last week with a torn ACL.
All the chemistry Byard and Cyprien had been working on over the past year and half now is gone. The Titans signed veteran Kenny Vaccaro on Saturday to replace Cyprien, and Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Byard will play a critical role in helping Vaccaro get in sync with the secondary. The Titans open the preseason Thursday night at Green Bay.
He’s already seen Byard meeting individually with Dane Cruikshank in training camp to help the rookie learn, impressive to see in a young player.
“Kevin has taken on a really nice leadership role with our team,” Vrabel said. “He started in the offseason with his ability to come in here and work and be diligent in his training, continued by his studying and learning the defense and being able to explain it to guys.”
The 5-foot-11, 212-pound Byard was the first pick of the third round in 2016 out of Middle Tennessee. Now the safety who’s always been confident in what he can do believes he can do even more in the NFL.
“I feel like I barely scratched the surface with my potential,” Byard said.
“And I just want to keep getting better. But at the end of the day, it’s all about the team and I want to be able to bring everybody along because you know I could be All-Pro and all that stuff. But we’re not winning games, we’re not winning championships, it really doesn’t matter in my opinion.”
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