ST. LOUIS — Comebacks are getting to be Jay Schroeder's specialty, and this time he delivered a division title.
"We had to change a few things, but most of all we had to get our heads back on," Schroeder said after keying a 21-point third-quarter explosion as the Washington Redskins defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 34-17, and clinched the NFC Eastern Division title Sunday.
Schroeder ran for one touchdown and passed for another as Washington (9-3) erased a 17-10 third-quarter deficit. George Rogers also ran for a score in the third quarter to help Schroeder produce his 10th comeback victory in three seasons--and second in two weeks.
The Redskins rebounded from a 16-0 deficit to beat the New York Giants, 23-19, last week.
"Football can be a frustrating game," said Schroeder, who credited halftime adjustments to the Cardinals' defense for the victory. "You just need to try to relax and do your thing."
Schroeder was 4 for 13 at the half and troubled by the Cardinals' game plan of double-teaming the Washington wide receivers. He went to his backs and tight ends in the second half and completed 9 of 12 the rest of the way.
Schroeder ran 7 yards for a touchdown, Rogers ran in from 6 yards and Schroeder connected with tight end Clint Didier on a 19-yard score in a span of 5:58 in the third quarter.
"In the first half we couldn't get started," Redskin Coach Joe Gibbs said. "We still have some smoothing out to do, and I'm glad we have three more games to get it done."
Gibbs was encouraged, however, by the performance of Rogers, who staged a personal comeback with 133 yards in 29 attempts. Rogers netted just 19 yards in 21 carries the previous two weeks.
Schroeder, who also connected with Gary Clark on an 84-yard play for the game's first score in the first quarter, completed 13 of 25 passes for 235 yards.
The Cardinals, who had won three of their last four games, dropped to 5-7.
St. Louis took a 14-10 halftime lead on a pair of touchdown passes by Neil Lomax and added a 48-yard field goal by Jim Gallery early in the third quarter before Washington took over.
Lomax completed 21 of 39 passes for 241 yards.
Cardinal Coach Gene Stallings said his team was hurt by a couple of plays in the second half. Defensive end Freddie Joe Nunn had a personal-foul penalty for slapping the helmet of a Redskin to keep Washington's first touchdown drive of the third quarter alive.
After Schroeder's touchdown, Derrick McAdoo fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, and Dennis Woodberry recovered at the St. Louis 17. Three plays later, Rogers ran in untouched to put the Redskins ahead, 24-17, with 4:28 remaining.