The Redskins found out the hard way that sometimes knocking out the starter isn’t the answer to beating a team. Where Adrian Peterson is an athletic stud who can slash and dash, Toby Gerhart is more of the ground and pound bowling ball.
For the second consecutive year, Gerhart was the Vikings’ leading rusher against the Redskins, going over 100 yards in the second half alone.
Where quarterback Christian Ponder was a passer with some elusiveness and the ability to run, Joe Webb was a runner who attempted only five second half passes.
Unfortunately, half of them were for touchdowns, and he finished with a perfect 158.3 quarterback passer rating.
When a team loses their top playmakers on offense, it’s usually a disadvantage. But in this case, it cast the Redskins defense into the unknown of facing players they didn’t prepare for. The Redskins’ defense contained Peterson and Ponder in the first half, having good anticipation of the Vikings’ game plan. Once their replacements entered the game, it was a different ball of wax.
“It was disappointing because that wasn’t us out there,” said linebacker Ryan Kerrigan after the game. “We feel like we have the capability to be one of the top defenses in the league, and to allow 240 rushing yards is disappointing.”
After last week’s win in New York, the Redskins looked to be pushing for a late-season surge. Even today, there were plenty of things to be proud of.
Roy Helu was out for today’s game, but Evan Royster rushed for 132 yards on 19 carries, good for second in the NFL after the 1 p.m. games. This was also the first time in Redskins history that two rookies running backs managed 100-yard games in the same season.
Jabar Gaffney eclipsed 900 yards receiving on the season for the first time in his career, and added another touchdown and “Landover Leap.” He needs only 81 yards to crack 1,000 yards this season, and his next touchdown will be his career-high sixth in a season.
Kicker Graham Gano, who was on the toastiest of hot seats only a month ago, has put the kicking game on ice with his fourth-consecutive perfect game of placekicking. Despite his leg strength, his lack of touchbacks this season looks to be a product of kicking the ball higher for added hang time. All-in-all, this has been quite a rebound for the young kicker.
Because of the Saturday game, the players will now have three days off for the first time since the bye week, with which to rest and recuperate before getting ready for Philadelphia. Despite a disappointing record, the Redskins have played each of their division opponents well this season, and beat the Eagles on the road last year. Given their record on the road and their level of play against division opponents, I wouldn’t discount their ability to play some of their best football next week.
For the last time this season, so long from FedExField, as the Redskins lose a tough one: Minnesota 33, Washington 26.
Tags: 2011 season, evan royster, fourth quarter, graham gano, Jabar Gaffney, minnesota vikings, roy helu, ryan kerrigan, washington redskins
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