In a game filled with offense, the Washington Redskins have broken their eight game losing streak at home with a 38-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Fed Ex Field thanks largely to two rushing touchdowns by rookie QB and #2 overall draft pick Robert Griffin III.
The start of the game was a back and forth defensive struggle as both teams failed to gain any real ascendency. The Vikings had the better of it in the first quarter but the Redskins red zone defense kept Minnesota confined to three field goals in the first quarter, all of them from 27 yards or less. The second quarter began much the same way until new Redskins kicker Kai Forbath came out and nailed his first field goal attempt from 50 yards to make it 9-3 .
The points seemed to spark something for Washington. The defense came out and completely shut down Minnesota who punted after a three and out. The ensuing Redskins drive, that took a full 6:36 off the clock, went for 11 plays and 90 yards. It was highlighted by a 30 yard recption for veteran WR Santana Moss and resulted in a 1 yard TD for RB Alfred Morris.
The momentum continued as Redskins linebacker Lorenzo Alexander forced a fumble from Vikings QB Christian Ponder. On the next play, FB Darrel Young ran in a short touchdown and suddenly Washington had scored 14 points in just 13 seconds of game time. On the following drive, Minnesota executed their two minute offense fairly well but couldn’t get into field goal range. Washington went into the break leading 17-9.
The third quarter began much the same way the second had ended – with the Redskins continued to move effectively down the field. 10 plays, 5:23 and 80 yards later and Robert Griffin III was running 7 yards into the end zone for his first score of the day. With Washington now up 24-9, the Vikings needed to score or they were in danger of losing touch. While they couldn’t get in for a touchdown, they did get a 37 yard field goal to get within 12 points.
The fourth quarter began with Minnesota struggling as Christian Ponder was sacked by London Fletcher. Two plays later and continued Redskins pressure led to an interception of Ponder by Redskins safety Madieu Williams who ran 78 yards downfield for a pick six, extending Washington’s lead to 31-9.
At this point, Minnesota started a comeback that almost captured them victory. With Percy Harvin giving the Washington secondary more than they could handle, Christian Ponder dominated them as he marched Minnesota 80 yards in 10 plays and finished it off with a 9 yard TD pass to WR Michael Jenkins. Following a two point conversion pass to Kyle Rudolph, the Vikings had reduced the gap to 11. They weren’t done there. After forcing a three and out, Minnesota increased the tempo of their offense and were the benefit of a favorable 27 yard defensive pass interference. Thus, in 2:42 they had gone 67 yards and topped off the drive with a 1 yard receiving touchdown for TE Kyle Rudolph. This time, they failed a two point conversion and the score was 31-26.
During the next Washington drive was the defining moment of the game and the biggest play of Robert Griffin III’s young career. Having found his offense shut down for nearly a quarter and a half, RG3 finally got the opening he’d been waiting for. On an option keeper run to the outside, Griffin saw a noticeable hole open hole and he took it, sprinting up the sideline. After around 30 yards, it was obvious that the race was over as RG3 looked over his shoulder cheekily to see how far back his chasers were – not even close as it turned out and RG3 completed a stunning 76 yard rushing TD that was all his own speed and ability.
That score was the last of the game and the Washington Redskins ended up the victors 38-26. Robert Griffin III finished up with 17/22 for 182 yards, a TD and an interception through the air and 13 carries for 138 yards and 2 TDs on the ground whilst breaking the Redskins franchise record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a season in the process. On the Vikings, Percy Harvin was the main weapon with 11 receptions for 133 yards but was kept scoreless whilst Christian Ponder went 35/52 for 352 yards, 2 TDs and 2 picks.
Next week the Minnesota Vikings will be back at home to face the 4-2 Arizona Cardinals while the Washington Redskins will go on the road for their first divisional game of the year as they face the defending Super Bowl Champions – the 4-2 New York Giants.