Just when Arizona looked like the same old Cards, Jake Plummer and Joe Nedney came to the rescue.
Plummer completed four passes for 50 yards in 29 seconds to set up Nedney's winning kick. That came after Washington had scored 10 points in 56 seconds to overcome a 26-17 lead.
First Trent Green hit Leslie Shepherd for a 35-yard touchdown to cut it to 26-24. Then Stephen Davis recovered an onside kick to set up Cary Blanchard's 54-yard field goal with 35 seconds left, giving Washington a 27-26 lead.
But the Redskins' defense wilted as Plummer drove Arizona downfield to set up the winning field goal.
Arizona improved to 5-4, just the second time they've been over .500 after nine games since 1984, when they played in St. Louis.
The victory sets up one of the biggest games the Cards have played in Arizona -- a meeting next week with Dallas, which leads them by a game in the NFC East. The Cowboys beat the Cardinals 38-10 in the season opener.
The Redskins took a 17-7 halftime lead, but the Cardinals came back in the second half as the Washington offense withered under Arizona's defensive pressure, led by Simeon Rice and Ronald McKinnon.
Washington (1-8) didn't get a first down in the second half until after Nedney gave Arizona a 26-17 lead with a 26-yard field goal with 3:09 left in the game.
The defense also forced a safety, forcing Washington back 19 yards on a series early in the fourth quarter. O fourth down, the snap from center Dan Turk went through the hands of his brother Matt, the punter, and out of the end zone for two points that ended up being crucial.
Plummer, 22-of-30 for 186 yards, set a franchise record by completing 15 straight passes, including the first three of the final drive. He then threw an incomplete pass and hit Eric Metcalf for 6 yards to set up Nedney's winning kick.
Washington's early lead was built on a 34-yard field goal by Blanchard, a 2-yard run by Skip Hicks and a 6-yard run by Brian Mitchell. Mario Bates scored two 1-yard TDs for Arizona, and Plummer threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Larry Centers.
The Cardinals, who entered the game ranked 28th in rushing, ran for 187 yards. Adrian Murrell led the way with 107 yards and Plummer had a 27-yard scramble and finished with 50 yards rushing.
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