Posted: 11:32 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013
By Louis Bien
The Minnesota Vikings flipped the script on Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, overcoming a 10-point deficit to score their second win of the season, 34-27. Redskins had a chance to tie the game at the 4-yard line inside 40 seconds to-go in regulation, but the Vikings' defense forced three straight incompletions to hold on for victory.
Griffin was outstanding in the first half, throwing three touchdown passes on 16-for-21 passing for 179 yards. Alfred Morris had 88 yards rushing and the Redskins appeared to be on their way to an easy victory with a 24-14 halftime lead over a 1-7 Vikings squad.
The Vikings weren't ready to quit, however.
Christian Ponder shook off an interception on his second pass of the game to turn in a strong performance. He hit tight end John Carlson, who was starting in place of the injured Kyle Rudolph, for a 28-yard touchdown pass to bring the Vikings within six points. He then led the Vikings to the 1-yard line on the next offensive possession.
Ponder took a hard hit on his left shoulder that forced him out of the game, but Matt Cassel took over and aptly handed the ball off to Adrian Peterson, who ran in for a 1-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 28-27 lead.
The Vikings held the lead for good from that point on. Cassel was much-maligned in Kansas City last season, but he played capably, leading the Vikings to two field goals in the fourth quarter.
Griffin, meanwhile, was unable to get back on track. Sacks poured in during the fourth quarter. Several players got in on the fun. Vikings defensive tackle Kyle Williams led the way with 2.5 sacks, Everson Griffen had one and Jared Allen added a half-sack.
Ultimately, the same problems that have bit the Redskins all season came back to bite them again. The offensive line failed to keep Griffin upright in key situations and the secondary was picked apart by Ponder and Cassel.
For the Vikings, the win is a shot in the arm for what had been moribund season. For the now 3-6 Redskins, the loss pushes them even more firmly to the edges of the NFC playoff picture.
John Carlson stepped in for Kyle Rudolph and had seven receptions for 98 yards and a score. Adrian Peterson had a great day on the ground, with 75 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Alfred Morris starred for the Redskins, rushing for 139 yards on 26 carries.
Robert Griffin III's three touchdown passes made him a solid starter, though an iffy second half kept him from putting up monster numbers like many owners hoped.
Christian Ponder was knocked out of Thursday's game after taking a big hit on his left shoulder late in the third quarter.
The Redskins were 3-point favorites, according to Odds Shark, so they did not cover the spread.
Washington at Philadelphia, Sunday, Nov. 17, 1 p.m. ET
Minnesota at Seattle, Sunday, Nov. 17, 4:25 p.m. ET