There are a lot of plays in from the Vikings 33-26 defeat of the Redskins that sum up how the game went. It was a game of mistakes for the Washington Redskins. The Redskins had a Rex Grossman fumble that led to a Vikings field goal, a off-sides call on a Vikings punt that led to a Vikings touchdown, allowing a two play scoring drive after taking the lead in the third quarter, retaking the lead and subsequently allowing another quick Vikings scoring drive, the holding call on what should have been a Brandon Banks touchdown run, and worst of all immediately following that with a Rex Grossman interception leading to a Vikings field goal.
Saturday against the Vikings was the first time in a long time the Redskins had been favored to win a game. It was a competitive match-up between two defenses that seemed completely unable to stop offenses that are not highly regarded. The biggest issue for the Redskins came when Joe Webb entered the game. All season long the Redskins have been unable to stop running quarterbacks. Two of the Redskins defense’s worst performances came against Cam Newton and Michael Vick.
Joe Webb was able to run all over the Redskins and when he needed to complete a pass he did. The Redskins secondary and linebackers were confused as to whether to come up to stop a scramble or to drop back into coverage. Too many times they were caught in-between on a either a run or a pass.
The third quarter was the decisive quarter in the game and it is where most of the Redskins breakdown’s occurred. After a Grahm Gano field goal gave the Redskins the lead the defense should have been ready for a shutdown performance. With Adrain Peterson on the sidelines Toby Gerhart was given the ball and rushed up the field for a 67 yard gain that placed the ball on the Redskins eight yard line. On the very next play Joe Webb took the ball himself and ran it in to give the Vikings the lead.
Rex Grossman was able to lead the Redskins back and completed a four yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney to cap off a six play drive for the Redskins. Once again needing to shutdown the Vikings the Redskins defense took the field and allowed Toby Gerhart, Joe Webb, Percy Harvin, and Lorenzo Booker to all run it down their throats as the Vikings scored another quick touchdown on a five play drive that featured no passes.
There were positives for the Redskins in this game. Since the season began the make-up of the offensive line has changed drastically. Rex Grossman now has time to go through his progressions and Redskins running backs have had more 100 yard rushing games in the second half of the season than the first. Evan Royster was the man carrying the ball on Saturday with Roy Helu out for precautionary reasons. Royster rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries and looked dominant at times.
In the early part of the season the Redskins would play a team that had allowed an excessive number of rushing yards and then be completely unable to run the football due to the lack of push by the offensive line. That has all seemed to change and between Helu, Royster, and a returning Hightower the Redskins running game could set-up nicely for the next few seasons.
The biggest problem the Redskins have had all season long is offensive turnovers. Even with Rex Grossman looking more competent and putting more points on the board he still turns the ball over. If Grossman doesn’t fumble or throw an interception in this game there might have been a different outcome. Those are six points that come off for the Vikings and who knows what would have happened if the Redskins had not lost those offensive opportunities.
The Redskins have shown progress as the year has gone along. The off-season is close at hand and it will be interesting to see what moves are on their horizon. Next years Redskins shouldn’t look much different from this years Redskins especially with the high probability of a new quarterback learning to run the offense and work at NFL speed. There is one more game left for the Redskins this season and it happens to be against the team they played when their season fell apart.