This game was supposed to be a re-run of the last meeting between the two teams, where RGIII put on a clinic and made the Vikings look unco-ordinated and ineffective. The Vikings were so banged-up coming into this game that they had more injured players than inactive spots, so they officially had three active quarterbacks and nose tackle Letroy Guion was announced as active but didn’t even suit up for the game.
The game started in suitably inept fashion, after Washington kicked away from Cordarrelle Patterson (that’s a sign of respect for the kick returner, when you really don’t dare let him attempt a return), as Christian Ponder threw an interception to close out the first “series”. The defence didn’t show up for the first few plays of Washington’s drive, but held just enough to force a field goal. Someone must have messed with Musgrave’s playcard because he actually allowed Patterson to score a touchdown (his first receiving TD) during the first half. Amusingly, it was also Ponder’s first TD pass to a wide receiver this season.
Early in the game, the Vikings displayed a certain unfamiliarity with the exotic art of tackling:
By the end of the first half, the score was Redskins 24, Vikings 14. RGIII had had an impressive statistical line completing 16 of 21 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns (140.7 rating).
An unexpected development in this game was the emergence of tight end John Carlson. Much had been expected of Carlson when he was signed last season, but injuries kept him off the field and he didn’t make much of his limited opportunities after that. It was a running joke with the fanbase whenever Carlson got the ball, it would be for a two yard gain on third-and-five. With Kyle Rudolph out for 4-6 weeks with a broken foot, Carlson stepped up nicely, scoring his first touchdown as a Viking in the third quarter on a 28-yard reception.
Ponder was injured on what was initially ruled as a touchdown run, but overturned on review. Matt Cassel came in for the hand-off to Adrian Peterson for the go-ahead score. Aside from the early interception, Ponder had a pretty good outing, completing 17 of 21 passes and two touchdowns for a 113.1 rating. He was reported to have a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder and has an outside chance of being back for the next game.
In what many fans dreaded, the game came down to the final Washington drive … where the Vikings defence has given up scoring drives far too often this season. The Redskins moved the ball down to the eight yard line, but were unable to score. For some reason, the Vikings used two timeouts during that last drive, but Washington couldn’t capitalize on the extra chances the Vikings provided.
Despite the win, a few fans were upset that this will move the Vikings down the draft order for 2014. The Daily Norseman‘s Christopher Gates strongly disagrees with those fans:
The idea of “tanking” a season and the logic behind it, insomuch as you can call it “logic,” is something that I find to be completely idiotic. It has never made any sense, it doesn’t make any sense now, and it won’t make any sense going forward. I’m sure that we’ve had this discussion before, and I was hoping that it would be a while before we’d have to have it again, but this is the situation we’re in right now. Let me explain why the idea of “tanking” a season is stupid.
The first part of this is quite simple … you are not going to get a group of professional athletes, led by professional coaches, to simply give up and stop attempting to win football games. That’s not how it works. You’re talking about a group of individuals that have excelled at this profession their entire lives, and then asking them to do something that goes completely against the way they’ve been programmed all these years. Think about this … every single college football player in America was a star in high school. Every single professional football player in America was a star in college. They’ve built their entire lives around being the best of the best at what they do. And you really think they’re going to be receptive to someone saying, “Yeah, you know, if you could just go out there and maybe not try as hard in this game, that would be pretty awesome. We’re playing for draft position, you know.” Yeah … I have my doubts.
Yes, I understand that the consensus is that the Vikings would be looking for a quarterback. Believe me, I’ve heard all the Teddy Bridgewater blah blah Marcus Mariota yadda yadda Johnny Manziel blah blah Tajh Boyd yadda yadda and whoever else. But, as Ted touched on in his Stock Market Report, who’s the Andrew Luck-esque “lock” out of those guys to be the next big thing? As far as I can tell, there isn’t a “sure thing” in the bunch. Quite frankly, nobody in the draft is a “sure thing.” There never has been. Seriously, do you realize that there were San Diego Chargers fans back in 1998 that thought that their team got the better half of the Peyton Manning/Ryan Leaf derby? Or that there were Oakland Raiders fans in 2007 that were psyched about the idea of drafting JaMarcus Russell? Because there were.
We’ve heard all the hype about how the quarterback class of 2014 is shaping up to be a very strong one, and as I’ve said, this team probably needs to go in a different direction at quarterback. Is there anyone worth “tanking” a season for? Not that I see. And if you do “tank” for a guy, what if he comes in and ends up being more Todd Blackledge than John Elway? Well, then, you cry about it and scream for him to get benched and hope that your team “tanks” for the next alleged big thing, I guess. Then again, we treat all our quarterbacks that way in Minnesota, with the crying and the screaming for them to be benched and all … maybe my perspective is just tainted.