TEMPE,ARIZONIA — TEMPE, Ariz. -- Stan Humphries passed his first test and Gerald Riggs had a successful homecoming last night.
The result was a satisfying 38-10 victory for the Washington Redskins over the Phoenix Cardinals before 49,303 fans at Sun Devil Stadium.
The Redskins had two objectives coming in. They wanted to show Humphries can be an effective quarterback, and they wanted to prove they still have a running game.
They accomplished that mission in the second half after they got off to a slow start in the first half and trailed 10-7 at halftime.
Humphries, who completed 11 of 12 for 183 yards in the second half, wound up completing 20 of 25 passes for 257 yards. He twice hit Gary Clark for 42-yard touchdown passes down the right sideline.
Riggs, who said it was "sort of like old times" to be running at Sun Devil Stadium where he played his college ball for Arizona State, picked up 95 yards in 19 carries to spearhead a running game that produced 179 yards in 39 carries. Earnest Byner chipped in with 56 yards in 16 carries.
For the first time this season, the Redskins started out with a two-tight -end,two-wide receiver set that was their traditional running formation instead of the three-wide-receiver set they used at the end of last year and continued this season
"We've got to mix it up.I think if we mix,we can beat anybody in this league ,"running back Kelvin Bryant said.
The victory boosted their record to 3-1 for the first quarter of the season, and now,they have a bye week before they play the New York Giants twice sandwiched around a game with the Philadelphia Eagles in a 15-day span that is likely to make or break their season.
- Coach Joe Gibbs summed up the second half in which they had the ball five times and produced a field goal and four touchdowns, "That's the best we've played. It seemed like everything kind of started going for us. That was our best operation."
Gibbs also liked the work of Humphries, who did what Mark Rypien couldn't do in his regular season start in 1988: Beat Phoenix. The Cardinals had upset the Redskins, 30-21, in Rypien's first start.
"I think Stan had a solid game for the first time out," he said. "He was a little shaky starting off, but I felt he got going and had a real good second half."
Coach Joe Bugel, the former Redskins assistant coach who has now lost two of his first four game as a head coach to the Redskins, said, "It was a game of big plays and they made some big plays."
Bugel also praised Humphries, "He's an excellent quarterback."
The Cardinals actually dominated the first half when rookie running back Johnny Johnson ran for 91 yards in 13 carries.
But he got a chance to carry only three times in the second half because the Redskins were controlling the ball and finished with 93 yards in 16 carries.
"We fizzled out in the second half and we didn't respond. The offensive line did a great job in the first half," he said.
Humphries, meanwhile, gave credit to the Redskins' offensive line for the four touchdown drives of 55, 84, 60 and 53 yards that put the game away in the second half.But Humphries called the game a "real confidence booster for me.
I think I knew I could play up here. It's just a matter of getting out there and showing you can play."He said, "I felt pretty confident at the start (even though ) I had some nerves going through me."
Although Clark caught eight passes for 162 yards, Humphries said he wasn't looing for him.
" The reason our passing game worked so well tonight was that our offensive line was opening some holes.
They were bringing guys up trying o stop the run and left Gary out there one-on-one and he got open,"he said.
After he hit Clark twice for touuchdowns.Humphries was able to relax.
" I think I started really having a lot of fun out there,I feel great",he said.
Humphries also impresss his teammates.
Guard Russ Grimm said: "He was real calm in the huddle. It's not like he was rookie.He had everything under control". Bryant said: "I knew he could do it. It was just a matter of him coming out and relaxing. He came out and show the people he could play." Byner said: He was cool and calm.It's like he's been out there since day one.
Humphries broke a 10-10 tie in the third period with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Gary Clark, who beat Cedric Mack.
The Redskins then put together an 11-play,84-yard drive that Humphries climaxed with a 1 yard quarterback sneak that boosted the Redskins'lead to 24-10.
On the Redskins' next possession, it took only three plays before Humphries threw another 42-yard touchdown pass to Clark, who again beat Mack. That gave the Redskins 31-10 lead with 11:12 left in the game.
The Redskins then added a nine-play, 53-minute drive climaxed by Byner's one-yard run with 3:10 left in the game that made it 38-10 and wrapped it up.
For Riggs,who was plagued with injuries last year and lost the starting to Byner,it meant something to, play well in his college jTC stadium. He carried the ball only 21 times in the first three games before he carried 19 times lastnight."It makes it a little sweeter to come back and play a game here. It was something special.It was a plus for me. My parents were here.It was great to give the people a few memories of what happened when I was here."Riggs said. Riggs came out before the game to savorthe memories he has of this stadium.
"I thought about some of the guys I played with and some ofthe things that happned on the field when I was here . A lot of things come to mind. It always a great feeling to come back to,your old place where it all got started,"he said. The Redskins also like to think they started a new era - the Stan Humphries era- last night.