Mistakes on Defense Cost Redskins in Vikings Loss
The Washington Redskins came into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings on a defensive high over the last two weeks. The Redskins swarmed the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football and had head coach Jay Gruden thinking good things were ahead, “I thought they would play a lot better,” said Gruden.
Gruden was far from impressed with his team’s ability to stop the run, “There were some holes in there that were gaping. I might have been able to rush for 48 yards in this game. Unacceptable.”
The Redskins defense put pressure on Vikings rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater in the first half sacking him twice. The second half was a different story. After throwing everything, including the kitchen sink at Dallas, Jim Haslett decided to fall back into zone protection for much of the day against the Vikings.
To add to the lessened pressure, there were multiple breakdowns in communication and mass confusion on several plays that led to wide-open Vikings receivers.
The Redskins offense was far from elite, but they did put the team in position to be ahead in the game multiple times. Leading 10-0 late in the second quarter Redskins QB Robert Griffin III made a questionable throw that was intercepted, the Vikings converted a few plays later on near wide-open pass from Bridgewater to tight end Chase Ford.
The Redskins came out after halftime leading 10-7 but gave the lead up to the Vikings on their first possession of the second half.
Twice the Redskins scored to take the lead, twice the Vikings answered with go-ahead scores of their own. The late fourth quarter, go-ahead touchdown and two-point conversion put the Redskins down three, which was the deciding deficit.
If the defense stops the Vikings on the last drive, the game would have been essentially over. It’s baffling to think that Haslett would dial up a pressure-heavy blitz package for Tony Romo (22 blitzes) but let a rookie in Bridgewater, who has had issues with holding the ball too long in the past, see zone most of the day.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III made his first start since Week 2 and looked decent completing 18-of-28 for 251 yards and one touchdown. Although his last pass of the game, that hit the ground, left something to be desired. “I put that on me,” Griffin said. “I didn’t get it done at the end of the game.” Griffin still has a lot of areas that he needs to improve on moving forward, but he was not the reason the Redskins lost this game.
DeSean Jackson had four catches for 120 yards and a touchdown.
Runningback Alfred Morris added 92 yards on 19 carries and matched his season high with two touchdowns.