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Carson Palmer returns, leads Arizona Cardinals to win over Washington Redskins

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer throws a pass during the third quarter of a game against the Washington Redskins at University of Phoenix Stadium on Oct. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Norm Hall

GLENDALE, Ariz. - Carson Palmer came back after a five-week absence and has Arizona alone in first place in the NFC West.

Palmer threw two touchdown passes, and the Cardinals beat Washington 30-20 on Sunday, the Redskins' fourth straight loss and 13th in 14 games.

Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for a season-high 98 yards and his first touchdown of the year for the Cardinals(4-1), who bounced back from a 41-20 drubbing at Denver.

With Seattle's loss to Dallas, Arizona leads the division.

Kirk Cousins was 24 for 38 for 354 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson for the Redskins (1-5), but threw three fourth-quarter interceptions.

Palmer had not played since damaging a nerve in his throwing shoulder in the season-opening win over San Diego and was not announced as the starter until just before kickoff.

Palmer was 28 of 44 for 250 yards with no interceptions. The Cardinals have not thrown an INT this season.

Trailing 23-13, Washington needed just 86 seconds to go 64 yards, scoring on a five-yard TD catch by Pierre Garcon with 2:16 to play. But the onside kick was recovered by Arizona's Sam Acho.

The Redskins had one more chance, getting the ball back at their 14-yard line with 29 seconds to go. On the next play, Cousins threw the ball right to Arizona's Rashad Johnson, who made his second interception of the day and returned it 28 yards for a touchdown with 18 seconds left.

A 36-yard pass interference penalty on Washington rookie cornerback Bashaud Breeland was the big play in an eight-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that gave Arizona the lead for good in the second quarter. Palmer threw short to Fitzgerald, who dragged a would-be tackler the final five yards on a 24-yard touchdown reception to put theCardinals up 14-7 with 31 seconds left in the first half.

But a 33-yard pass-and-run play from Cousins to Roy Helu Jr. helped the Redskins go 55 yards in 29 seconds. Kai Forbath's 28-yard field goal with two seconds left sliced the Arizona lead to 14-13 at the half.

Jackson's first of two big gains came when he beat Patrick Peterson for the 64-yard touchdown on the second play of the second quarter.

On Washington's next possession, the Redskins converted on a fourth-and-inches play from their own 47, then Cousins threw short to Jackson, who evaded tacklers for 42 yards and probably would have scored a touchdown had he not banged into teammate Chris Chester. Arizona's defense held and Forbath's 28-yard field goal put Washington up 10-7.

Palmer completed his first pass — 20 yards to John Carlson — and was 8 for 10 for 59 yards in the first quarter. His 20-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Michael Floyd put Arizona up 7-0.

Washington committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter.


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