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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Cardinals' surging confidence shouldn't suffer much following a hard-fought defeat to the Redskins at FedEx Field.
Arizona validated what it already knew about life on the road against a competent opponent, namely that the margin for error shrinks for everyone, notably the quarterback.
Kurt Warner had been nearly flawless for Arizona this season. He reached statistical perfection with a 158.3 passer rating during a blowout victory over the Dolphins in Week 2.
The interception Warner threw against the Redskins on an underthrown deep ball to Steve Breaston marked the first surrendered by the Cardinals all season. The play also turned the momentum toward Washington, which converted the gift into a touchdown for a 24-17 lead. Edgerrin James also lost a fumble for the Cardinals, who entered the game without a single turnover.
The Cardinals' improved defense held the Redskins' Clinton Portis to a 3.2-yard average on 21 carries even though a knee injury continued to sideline starting nose tackle Gabe Watson.
There's no shame in this loss for Arizona. The Cardinals played aggressively -- receiver Jerheme Urban completed an 18-yard pass for a key first down -- and they ran the ball effectively (18 carries for 93 yards from James). The Cardinals' next chance for a victory on the East Coast comes in Week 4 against the Jets. I think they'll be ready.