Cardinals fall to Commanders in Jonathan Gannon’s coaching debut, Joshua Dobbs’ start

Sep 10, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: 6:42 pm

Budda Baker and Jonathan Gannon (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...

Budda Baker and Jonathan Gannon (Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)

Jonathan Gannon’s Arizona Cardinals showed fight but fell 20-16 to the Washington Commanders in the head coach’s debut Sunday at FedEx Field.

Gannon, the former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator who took over for Kliff Kingsbury, got competitive play from a number of contributors on defense and turned to a recent addition to lead his offense.

Quarterback Joshua Dobbs was acquired via trade with the Cleveland Browns on Aug. 24 but on his 17th day on the job started for the Cardinals.

Late mistakes cost Dobbs and Arizona, who led 16-10 at the end of the third quarter.

The quarterback went 21-for-30 for 133 yards without a touchdown or an interception. He did have two key turnovers in the second half.

Dobbs lost a ball with a strip sack by Washington’s Montez Sweat, and the Commanders pieced together a 29-yard scoring drive to go ahead, 17-16, with 12 minutes left in the game via a scramble by young Commanders quarterback Sam Howell.

With 4:38 left in the fourth quarter and the score holding, Dobbs juggled a snap exchange and gave it up again deep in Arizona territory at the Cardinals’ 22-yard line.

Before Sunday, Dobbs had completed 50 of 85 passes for 456 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions between stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans. His only two starts, to end last season for the Titans, saw him pile up 68 of those attempts and 411 of those yards.

Dobbs had a combined four fumbles and two lost in those key starts for the Titans.

For the Commanders, Howell, a 2022 fifth-round draft pick, earned his second career start and went 19 of 31 for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception along with his rushing score.

Washington finished with 248 total yards to Arizona’s 210.

The Cardinals went ahead and made it competitive with three turnovers forced, two by outside linebacker Zaven Collins.

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