TEMPE, Ariz. -- It had the makings of a heartwarming story.
Stan Gelbaugh, the former Maryland quarterback who was selling copying machines in suburban Maryland a year ago before becoming the most valuable player in the World League of American Football, was within 30 minutes of the highlight of his short NFL career.
Completing nine of 16 passes for 105 yards, Gelbaugh drove the Phoenix Cardinals to a 14-0 halftime lead over the Washington Redskins. He had the shot at pulling off the biggest upset of the season.
But it all unraveled in the second half for Gelbaugh.
In his first three series of the second half, he got a net of 7 total yards and no first downs.
On his fourth series, he was intercepted by Brad Edwards, a play that set up Chip Lohmiller's second field goal that gave the Redskins a 20-14 lead.
Coach Joe Bugel then yanked Gelbaugh for Chris Chandler, who produced two first downs and 33 yards in his only series.
Gelbaugh was so frustrated by the move that he got out of the locker room before any reporters could talk to him. That's unusual for Gelbaugh, who's noted for being cooperative with the media.
But Gelbaugh has been around long enough to know the way the game works.
Although Bugel said he'd make a decision later in the week on his starter, he did say that Chandler will "get some shots in the next two weeks."
"We want to get settled on the quarterbacks. That's the big thing," Bugel said.
Which means Chandler is likely to start the final two games. Gelbaugh probably won't start again until the Monarchs play their first WLAF game.
It was a bitter ending to a day that started on such a good note for Gelbaugh.
* Chandler, who was picked up off waivers after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cut him, said: "The guys were fighting all game whether I was in there or Stan. I had some fun out there today. I can't speculate about playing more the rest of the season."
* Lohmiller said he aggravated his sore back on his first kickoff, but said that wasn't a factor on his 42-yard field-goal try that was wide left in the first quarter.
He came back to make 42- and 27-yard field goals in the fourth quarter to win the game and put all four second-half kickoffs deep into the end zone -- one hit the crossbar -- for touchbacks.
"It only hurts after the kicks," Lohmiller said of his ailing back.
* Brian Mitchell fumbled a Phoenix punt early in the second quarter that Steve Hyche recovered on the Redskins' 40 to set up the Cardinals' first touchdown.
"I never touched the ball with my hands," Mitchell said. "I misjudged the ball and it hit me in my face mask and bounced off. I never touched it."
Mitchell, who ran a punt back for a touchdown in the first Cardinals game that was called back by what the Redskins said was a phantom penalty, gave the credit to punter Rich Camarillo for forcing him to fair catch twice. He said Camarillo kept kicking to the sidelines.
"He more or less kept the excitement of me from coming out. I really hate it when people kick to the sidelines," he said.
* The Redskins gave up their first sack in nine games when Freddie Joe Nunn knocked the ball out of Mark Rypien's hands late in the second quarter. The Redskins didn't even realize the fumble was ruled a sack.
Guard Mark Schlereth said: "They called that [a sack]? We don't want to give up any sacks, especially kind of a goofy one like that."
* Rypien was knocked to the ground by cornerback Lorenzo Lynch as he released his 17-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Sanders in the third period. He seemed woozy as he got up and stumbled to the sidelines.
"I just got dinged. He [Lorenzo] kind of caught me after I released it. It was a pretty good little pop. But that's part of the game," Rypien said.
* Bugel, who has been criticized to the point where players are questioning his coaching tactics, said, "I learned a lot from my days in Washington. I learned not to panic, not to give in to outside pressure. We're going to stay with the program we've got now. I saw some kids maturing out there today. We just have to keep it going."
They didn't get much going in the third period when Washington had a 155-0 edge in yardage. The Cardinals got a total of 40 net yards in five possessions in the second half.
* The Redskins had two injured players. Safety Alvoid Mays sprained an ankle, and linebacker Kurt Gouveia bruised a shoulder.