Many people probably saw this coming. Thursday night games are usually good for an unexpected results on this night was no different. The Vikings, who trailed by 13 points at home against the Redskins in the second half, rattled off 20 unanswered points to stun the playoff-hopeful Redskins 34-27.
It’s just the second win for Minnesota this season and wow, did the Vikings (2-7) need this one as they put their four-game losing streak to bed. For the Redskins, this loss will have them scratching their heads for a while.
That being said, let’s find out what we can take away from this game.
Poor Christian Ponder can’t catch a break
You have to feel for the young Vikings quarterback. Ponder was having a solid outing, completing 17 of 21 throws for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. But then in the third quarter, disaster struck.
Ponder scrambled out of the pocket and while running down the sideline, dove for the end zone pylon:
Do you see how he landed on his left arm? Yeah, that wasn’t good. Ponder immediately started clutching his left arm and soon went to the locker room and didn’t return. The news, of course, was grim:
Leslie Frazier said in post-game interview that Ponder suffered a dislocated left shoulder. More tests coming tomorrow.
Ponder was seen wearing a sling in the postgame news conference and said he still plans to play next Sunday. We’ll have to wait and see on that.
But if there’s one piece of good news, it’s that backup QB Matt Cassel came in and did an admirable job the rest of the way. Both drives he directed led to Blair Walsh field goals, which ended up being crucial points.
Do you know who didn’t get off the bench? Recently acquired quarterback Josh Freeman. Why did the Vikings get him again?
Just play defense when it counts
The Vikings D spent most of the first half on Monday getting gashed. In fact, the Redskins gained 433 total yards in this game, including 191 on the ground. But the guys wearing purple stepped up once the third quarter started.
Robert Griffin III, who looked sharp, completing 24 of 37 for 281 yards and three touchdown passes, started taking hits. The Vikings’ pass rush stepped up as Everson Griffen and Kevin Williams (2.5 sacks on the night) did a great job getting pressure. But where Minnesota earned a battle chestnut was on the last drive of the game.
The Redskins had a first-and-goal at the 8-yard line with very little time left. After allowing a four-yard run by Roy Helu, the Vikings dialed up enormous pressure on RG3, which forced three straight incompletions, the last of which was actually pulled down by Santana Moss. However, he couldn’t get both feet in bounds and actually took out a cameraman.
Ballgame. It might not have been pretty, but the Vikings defense can still smile after that final effort.
Amazingly, the Redskins still aren’t out of the playoff race
Really? Come on, they’re 3-6 now! Sure, but wait …
The division-leading Cowboys are just 5-4. Judging by how Big D has closed its last few seasons, it’s not hard to envision that the Cowboys will suffer some inexplicable losses down the stretch.
Also, the Redskins still have four division games remaining, including two against the hapless Giants. If this team can pull themselves together and sweep those four, they’ll be right in the thick of things. Their other three remaining games are against the 49ers, Chiefs and Falcons. It would be difficult, but it’s not out of the realm of imagination that the Redskins can win two of those three.
Would a 9-7 team be able to win the NFC East? You betcha. This team still controls its own destiny, as ridiculous as that sounds.
Adrian Peterson deserves a better team than this
Watch the superstar running back on this second-and-13 play in the fourth quarter.
It’s a shame really. After watching Peterson run for 75 yards and two touchdowns, it’s clear that his enormous talent is languishing on a 2-7 team. Running backs have a very finite amount of time in this game, even ones of Peterson’s unbelievable physical gifts.
Don’t you want to see Peterson hoisting a Lombardi Trophy one day? Is it fair that’s he’s on a rebuilding team? Don’t you want to see him on a team with, let’s say, Andrew Luck as quarterback?
The Vikings either need to get him a quarterback or let him go to a team that has one.
No uniform is complete without fake teeth
Nick Barnett is a Redskins linebacker who is apparently a big fan of vampires. After all, check out his mouthpiece. Oooh, that’s scary.
What’s even scarier is that he’s not the only guy on his team who does that. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon has also been known to decorate his mouth equipment with long-choppers. Some players apparently have too much time on their hands.