Smith, Lanier handle Gabbert; Redskins beat Cardinals 20-15

Washington Redskins outside linebacker Preston Smith (94) celebrates after recovering a fumble by Arizona Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 17, 2017. (Mark Tenally/Associated Press)

By STEPHEN WHYNO
AP Sports Writer

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – Anthony Lanier sacked Blaine Gabbert and forced a fumble that Preston Smith recovered and the Washington Redskins held on to beat the Arizona Cardinals 20-15 Sunday in a game that was a comedy of errors for each team.

Smith also intercepted Gabbert and Lanier batted down three passes and had two sacks as they gave the Redskins (6-8) a glimpse of their potential as significant pieces of the defense for years to come.

Gabbert was 16 of 41 for 189 yards with the interception and a fumble he recovered himself in the fourth quarter. Arizona (6-8), which got all its points on field goals by Phil Dawson, went 0 for 6 in the red zone and 4 for 19 on third down as it was eliminated from playoff contention.

Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins was 18 of 26 for 196 yards with touchdown passes to Jamison Crowder and new running back Kapri Bibbs. The Redskins were booed at times in the second half by fans in the announced crowd of 71,026.

Gabbert led the Cardinals to the Washington 21-yard line before an incomplete pass on fourth down ended their chances.

DRIVE FOR FIVE

Dawson made all five of his field goal attempts, connecting from 40, 35, 19, 34 and 32 yards. He was good from 54 early in the fourth quarter, though that was wiped out when Washington’s A.J. Francis was given a 15-yard penalty for leverage.

Dawson has scored the Cardinals’ past 30 points going back to their Dec. 3 game against the Los Angeles Rams.

SACKMASTER JONES

Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones earned his NFL-leading 15th sack of the season during the first half as he continued to make a case to be NFL Defensive Player of the Year. With two games remaining, he’s two shy of setting the franchise record for sacks in a season.

RECOVERED KICK

Even though coach Bruce Arians didn’t call for an onside kick to start the second half, the Cardinals got the ball back in excellent field position. Dawson’s kickoff bounced deep in Washington territory and when no Redskins player fielded it, Budda Baker recovered at the 22.

INJURIES

Cardinals: DL Robert Nkemdiche left with a wrist injury. … LB Karlos Dansby suffered a calf injury. … DL Josh Mauro was inactive with an ankle injury.

Redskins: CB Bashaud Breeland left with a shoulder injury. … Rookie LB Ryan Anderson suffered a knee injury in punt coverage. Anderson came in dealing with an ankle injury. … LT Trent Williams missed his fourth game of the season with a knee injury.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Host the New York Giants next Sunday afternoon.

Redskins: Host the Denver Broncos next Sunday afternoon.