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With all of the questions about the Cardinals' defense heading into Sunday's match up against the Carolina Panthers, the end result showed some defensive strengths that may have been overlooked.

2010 second-round pick Daryl Washington recorded seven total tackles, led the team with six solo tackles, one interception and had another one called back due to a roughing the passer penalty.

"He started playing a lot better later in the season last year," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

The last year's experience seems to be paying off for Washington, who played all 16 games in 2010.

"Once they get more playing time under their belt they play better and it carried over into this year for him." Whisenhunt said.

Washington played a key role in the Cardinals' victory and has become a reliable defensive player in only his second season.

Arizona Sports' Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report

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