The 5th Quarter: Vikings 34 Redskins 27
THE GAME CHANGED WHEN… The second half began. Washington racked up 288 yards and 24 points in the first half, scoring on their first five possessions for the first time since 1985. After that, the Redskins were outscored 20-3 and managed only 153 in the second half, with 76 coming on the final drive, which came up four yards short. Washington just never came out of the tunnel for the second half.
THE GAME WAS OVER WHEN… QB Robert Griffin III threw to WR Santana Moss in the far left corner of the end zone on fourth and goal from Minnesota’s four yard line. Moss only got one foot in before going out of bounds and he didn’t have control of the pass anyway. Washington had first and goal from the four yard line and couldn’t get a yard. It was reminiscent of the Redskins have first and goal from the one on their first drive of the game. Washington couldn’t get a yard and had to kick a field goal, thus giving up four points. They lost by four points. Draw your own conclusions.
THE GOOD… 288 yards of offense in the first half.
7-8 on third downs in first half.
Touchdown drives of 77, 78 and 80 yards in the first half.
RB Alfred Morris ran 26 times for 139 yards [5.3], but never got in the end zone.
WR Pierre Garcon caught 7 passes on 10 targets for 119 yards and 1 TD.
RG3 completed 24 of 37 passes for 281 yards [7.6] and 3 TD. That’s a passer rating of 114.8. Griffin also ran for 44 yards on 7 carries [6.3].
The Redskins defense did a solid job against Adrian Peterson, giving him only 75 yards on 20 carries [3.8].
THE BAD… The Vikings had only 8 real possessions tonight [not counting two kneel-down possessions at the end of the half and game] and scored on 6 of them. The defense was just terrible. Awful.
Redskins got shredded by TE John Carlson, a backup who was only starting because starter Kyle Rudolph was injured. Carlson led the Vikes with 7 receptions for 98 yards and 1 TD.
QB Christian Ponder easily had the best game of his season, completing 17 of 21 for 174 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT for a passer rating of 113.1.
The Vikings committed one penalty for seven yards. The Redskins committed eight penalties for 63 yards, including three personal foul penalties. Washington is a dumb and undisciplined team.
RG3 was only 8-16 for 102 yards in the second half, with many of those yards coming on the last drive when the Vikes defense was playing prevent.
The Redskins gave up four sacks tonight, the most this season. DL Kevin Williams destroyed the interior of the Washington line, getting 2.5 sacks and repeatedly collapsing the pocket in the second half.
The Redskins were not beaten tonight by star RB Adrian Peterson. They were beaten by QB Christian Ponder and backup QB Matt Cassel. Vikings passers were 21 of 27 for 216 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT.
However, when the Vikings needed to run the ball, chew up the clock and get 3 points to force the Redskins to score a touchdown to tie the game, Peterson did his part. The Vikings got the ball at their own 38 yard line with 8:33 left in regulation. Peterson had runs of 14 and 5 yards and also picked up a tough 3rd and 1 to extend the drive. Oh, and he also ran for 2 TD earlier in the game.
The Redskins dominated time of possession [36:01], outgained the Vikings 433 to 307 and converted 9 of 16 on third down. And still lost by a touchdown to a banged up team that came in 1-7.
THE UGLY… The special teams continued its meltdown tonight, when they ran a fake punt, but screwed it up in two different ways, First, TE Niles Paul had no idea punter Sav Rocca was throwing the ball to him. However, Washington lucked out when they committed a penalty before the ball was snapped, so the play never counted and they got a second chance to punt the ball. But it neatly encapsulated the complete failure of the special teams this year to do anything correctly. It makes me wonder why Head Coach Mike Shanahan would ask his special teams to do something unusual when they struggle to do ordinary things.
THE STUDS… Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon combined for 258 yards of offense and 1 TD. TE Jordan Reed had another 62 yards on 6 receptions and 1 TD.
THE DUDS… OLB Ryan Kerrigan has had a very good year, but he should have dominated tonight. He was facing a backup RT in Jamarcus Webb and failed to take advantage of it. Kerrigan finished with no sacks and no tackles for loss.
AND WHAT IT ALL MEANS… The Redskins are 3-6 and done. Don’t talk to me about how bad the NFC LEast is. The Redskins are a bad team and are no threat to the Cowboys and Eagles, the two teams vying for control of the league’s weakest division. They may be better than the Vikings, but they couldn’t prove it tonight. When the Vikings had their backs to the wall, they fought back and landed some big haymakers. The Redskins had no answer and completely collapsed in the second half. This loss means nothing the Redskins did last week matters. They have not won two games in a row this season, which is a classic sign of a bad team. They are now 3-6 for the third straight season. Don’t believe anything the Redskins say about re-creating what they did last year. There is no sign whatsoever that they can do that. This team is not as good as that team. They are not as good on offense. They are not as good on defense. And they’re not even close on special teams. What’s more, that 2012 team was a resilient team, a tougher team. The 2013 Redskins are weak and this game is a classic example of it. Repeat: they were outscored 20-3 in the second half by a team with a bad quarterback and missing two starters on the offensive line. Washington will keep playing because they have 7 games left. But 7 is all they will get. The important part of Washington’s season is over. At this point, it’s just about winning as many games as possible before being eliminated from the playoffs so that first round draft pick the Rams will be getting from Washington isn’t a very, very high pick.