Saturday, November 19, 2016

Redskins sink Vikings to start stretch run

By Moe Murphy 
 Special to

LANDOVER, MD- It was apparent that a week off did not hurt the Redskins as they came out of the gates fast and held on to capture a 26-20 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Alumni day at FedEx Field.

The last Redskin win came on October 16 when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-20. A loss to the Detroit Lions and subsequent tie with Cincinnati left the Redskins pondering what was needed to turn things around.

With the second half of the season starting for the team they know that every game gets a little more important as the Dallas Cowboys show no signs of giving up their grip on the NFC East.

“Every game we play we have to come out with urgency, and they did today.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said.

Washington (5-3-1) jumped on the Vikings early, scoring on their first two drives. Kirk Cousins connected with Jamison Crowder on a 4 yard touchdown pass on a 10 play drive of 68 yards.

The team’s most impressive drive came at the end of the first quarter, stretching into the second quarter as Washington started on their own 9 yard line and marched 91 yards with Vernon Davis catching a 38 yard touchdown pass to put the Skins up by 14.

“It was definitely the situation that we were hoping for.” Davis said, “Came across, came down, sold it, and sold the block. It’s kind of like a wheel route up the red line. And Kirk [Cousins] found me and was able to execute.”

Just when it appeared this was going to be a cakewalk the tide turned, momentum shifted to the Vikings. Minnesota (5-4) scored 20 points in a span of five and a half minutes.

Matt Asiata plunged in from one yard out and Sam Bradford connected twice for touchdown passes of 20 yards to Kyle Rudolph and 3 yard completion to Adam Thielen and just that quick, the Redskins went into the locker room trailing 20-14.

The message from Gruden at halftime was not to panic, stay focused and do what needs to be done.

“We just had to keep our poise.” Gruden said, “Every game this year we’ve been leading and we’ve been trailing, and today’s no different. We just have to continue to handle the adversity, the adverse situations. Just stay focused, keep your poise and move on to the next play.”

The team heeded Gruden’s advice and came out and were able to overcome the deficit with four Dustin Hopkins field goals of 30, 37, 50, and 28 yards on four consecutive second half possessions.

Combined with a strong defensive performance the Redskins were able to stop a game ending rally by Bradford and company with two drive ending sacks by Trent Murphy and Preston Smith.

We locked them down in the second half. They didn’t score.” Linebacker S’ua Cravens said, “I’m proud of the defense [and] how the offense played. Game ball to Hop [Dustin Hopkins], Tress [Way] and Preston [Smith].”

Smith had his best game of the season with four tackles, 2 sacks for 16 yards loss and an interception with a 22 yard return.

"I’m just happy that we got the win. “Smith said, “The plays that I got on top of the win feel so much better than getting them in a loss. Guys fought through all the way to the end of the game. Guys played their tails off and were just playing sound when we needed it.”

Redskin reserve wide receiver Maurice Harris was able to help fill the void of DeSean Jackson’s absence and contributed with 3 receptions for 28 yards.

The most notable position change came at the offensive tackle position as Ty Nsekhe filled in for the suspended all pro Trent Williams. Nsekhe held his own in a line that gave up only one sack and helped the team to net 388 yards total offense, 128 on the ground and 260 passing.

“It was some big shoes to fill, all-pro. Just had to step in there and do my job when I’m called upon.” Nsekhe said.

Kirk Cousins 2TD's Steven Holland/VivaLoudoun
Quarterback Kirk Cousins finished the day 22 of 33 passing for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns and a QB rating of 110.9

"It was a big win, they’re all big. It took everybody, I’m very pleased with the way the team played and the way we were able to get a win.” Cousins said.

Robert Kelley led all rushers with 97 yards on 22 carries, Chris Thompson added 25 yards on 4 carries.

Pierre Garcon was the leading receiver for the Redskins with 81 yards on 6 receptions. Vernon Davis had 66 yards on 3 receptions including his touchdown.

Sam Bradford finished the game with 307 yards passing, going 31 for 40 with 2 touchdowns and an interception with a final rating of 104.9.

Stefon Diggs led all receivers with 13 receptions for 164 yards. Kyle Rudolph had 5 receptions of for 69 yards including a touchdown.

The Redskins held Minnesota to 47 yards rushing on 21 carries.

The Redskins will host the Green Bay Packers (4-5) on Sunday Night Football, while the Vikings will host the Arizona Cardinals (4-4-1).

Kickoff for the Redskins game against the Packers at FedEx Field is set for 8:30PM.
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Reprinted with permission © Copyright 2013-2016 Viva Loudoun
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