TEMPE, Ariz. – After Mark Brunell’s worst half of the season, the Washington Redskins went back to basics, handing off to Clinton Portis.

Portis ran for 105 yards on 26 carries, gaining 51 in the second half, when the Redskins rallied from a 10-3 deficit to beat the Arizona Cardinals 17-13 and keep their slim playoff hopes alive .

Portis ran 15 yards to tie the game at 10 in the third quarter, and Antonio Brown gave the Redskins the lead for good 17-13 with a 91-yard kickoff return with 3:29 left in the third quarter.

The Redskins (7-6), who won their second straight, needed both shots in the arm after Brunell’s horrendous first half.

Coming in with five interceptions and a strong passer rating, Brunell threw three in the first 30 minutes, going 10-for-18 for 59 yards. He finished 18-of-28 for 122 yards.

Kurt Warner passed for 255 yards and a touchdown to LeRon McCoy, but the Cardinals (4-9) couldn’t sustain their momentum after beating San Francisco, unable to win two straight for the first time all season.

They got their other points from Neil Rackers, who returned from a one-game sidelining after tearing a calf muscle and kicked field goals of 44 and 20 yards.

The Cardinals stopped Portis for minus-1 yard on two carries, Brunell threw incomplete, and Arizona got the ball back on its 41 with 4:13 left. They got one first down when Carlos Rogers interfered with Larry Fitzgerald, setting them up on the Washington 37.

But Washington’s defense swarmed Larry Fitzgerald, Ade Jimoh throwing him for a 1-yard loss when he caught a short third-down pass. The Skins buried J.J. Arrington on fourth-and-2, with Sean Taylor making the first hit.

The game turned chippy in the first half when Rackers scuffled with Washington linebacker Khary Campbell, and Washington kicker John Hall threw an elbow into the jaw of Cardinals defensive end R-Kal Truluck, forcing Truluck to sit out the second half.

Warner was sacked and fumbled on the first play of the game, but Arrington scooped up the ball and picked up positive yardage. Taylor picked off Warner’s third pass, but Antrel Rolle answered when he intercepted Brunell’s pass and returned it 29 yards while reversing direction three times.

That was in the first 7:05.

Each team gave up the ball on its next possession, Arizona when cornerback Pierson Prioleau sacked Warner and recovered his fumble, and the Redskins on an interception by David Macklin.

But when Arrington fumbled on Arizona’s second play and Marcus Washington recovered at the Cardinals 23, Washington capitalized with a 41-yard field goal by Hall early in the second quarter.

A 31-yard kickoff return by Reggie Swinton set up Arizona for a 65-yard drive – the first sustained march of the game – capped by Warner’s 2-yard scoring pass to McCoy. Arizona went up 10-3 with 1:06 left in the half on Rackers’ long field goal following Adrian Wilson’s interception and 35-yard return to the Redskins 38.

AP-ES-12-11-05 1925EST


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