Everybody, cram the streets of D.C. — the streak is over!
The Washington Redskins defeated the Minnesota Vikings today 38-26 to end their eight-game home losing streak at FedExField
But this win over the NFC North leaders does more than end the home-game snide for the Redskins. It gives them a ton of confidence heading into their first NFC East game of the year next Sunday at the New York Giants.
The Vikings’ first possession of the fourth quarter ended with a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Madieu Williams. It was Williams’ second career pick-six, and the Washington’s fourth defensive touchdown of the season.
It was also the first time since 1994 the Redskins have scored on interception returns in consecutive weeks (1994 — Darrell Green and Andre Collins). Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan had an interception return for a touchdown off Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan last Sunday.
What an opportunistic defense we have here in Washington. They may give up some big plays from time to time, but you’ve got to applaud their ability to put up points — and often.
The Vikings got things rolling a bit on their next drive, getting into the red zone with just under nine minutes to go in the game. Two plays later, Ponder found wide receiver Michael Jenkins for a nine-yard touchdown pass, and earned the two-point conversion on a pass from Ponder to tight end Kyle Rudolph. It was a 10 play, 80-yard drive that took 4:38 off the clock, and cut the Redskins’ lead to 31-20.
The Redskins couldn’t get much going on their next drive and were forced to punt. On the kick, returner Marcus Sherels was blasted by Niles Paul, who made the crowd ‘Ooh’ and ‘Ahh’ at the hit, which resulted in a loss of two yards on the return. The Vikings began the drive from their own 33.
Three plays later, on 3rd and 1, Ponder was flushed out of the pocket, but gained the one yard he needed as he got out of bounds. In the hurry-up offense, the Vikings continued driving down the field, getting to the Redskins’ 28-yard line. On the next play, cornerback Josh Wilson was called for pass interference in the end zone, putting the ball at the Washington 1-yard line.
The Vikings capitalized on the next play, as Ponder found Rudolph for the 1-yard touchdown. This time, their bid at a 2-point conversion failed, as Ponder’s pass to Rudolph fell incomplete, but the damage was indeed done, as the Vikings cut the Redskins’ lead to just 31-26 with 3:36 remaining in the game.
The ensuing drive for the Redskins didn’t start off on a good note for the home team, as Vikings’ defensive end and perennial Pro Bowler Jared Allen registered a sack.
Two plays later, Washington faced a 3rd an 6 from their own 24-yard line. Griffin III took the handoff and was GONE. Seventy-six yards later — and after an impressive display of his world-class speed — Griffin III scored his second touchdown of the game via the rush to put the nail in the coffin. Griffin III was aided on the play by great blocking up front and by wide receiver Joshua Morgan. It was also the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in the NFL since 1996, when Pittsburgh quarterback Kordell Stewart had an 80-yard touchdown run.
At that point, Griffin III had 12 rushes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Wow.
On the Vikings’ next drive, linebacker Lorenzo Alexander sacked Ponder for a loss of nine yards heading into the two-minute warning, setting up a 3rd and 10 from the Minnesota 42-yard line. Though Percy Harvin converted the first down on the next pass, a 10-yard completion, time wasn’t on Minnesota’s time. On 3rd and 1 from the Washington 26-yard line, Ponder tried to find Jenkins in the corner of the end zone, but was unsuccessful.
The next play — 4th and 1 from the 26 — Ponder was able to find Jenkins this time, a 12-yard completion to the 14. That was followed by a 5-yard completion to Rudolph, who got out of bounds. Jenkins dropped the next pass, setting up a 3rd and 5 fom the 9-yard line with 54 seconds to play. Safety Jordan Pugh knocked the ball out of Jenkins’ hands with a nice hit on the play.
Ponder found Harvin on the next play, who was pounded to the ground at the 1-yard line. His next pass fell incomplete, intended for running back Adrian Peterson, who has been a non-factor since a strong first quarter. On the next play, Ponder handed it off to Peterson, who scored on the play, but Rudolph was called for a false start, nullifying the touchdown and putting the ball at the 6-yard line.
The next play was a pass from Ponder to Peterson, who was brought down immediately by safety Madieu Williams at the 3-yard line. On 3rd and Goal from the 3, Ponder was intercepted by cornerback DeAngelo Hall in the end zone, officially earning the win for the Redskins.
As Griffin III took the final snap and kneel, chants of “R-G-3!” rang throughout FedExField.
CHIME IN: What did you think of the Redskins’ performance today? Glad the home losing streak is over? Feel free to comment below.
Tags: washington redskins, minnesota vikings, 2012 regular season
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