The Washington Redskins got a much-needed win against the sinking Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, beating them 26-20. After tying the Bengals in London and having last week off, the Redskins had a lot to prove to remain in the discussion for the NFC Playoffs.
The Redskins played a fantastic first quarter, jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead, converting touchdowns on their first two possessions of the game. The Skins were able to dominate time of possession, holding onto the ball for nearly 10 minutes in the first quarter. The first quarter dominance by the Washington offense showed us glimpses of their full potential, even while missing key pieces like Trent Williams and DeSean Jackson.
However, Washington’s offense was stifled for the remainder of the first half and only managed four field goals for the remainder of the game. It appears the Redskins are shifting away from Matt Jones, who was a healthy scratch, toward the tandem of Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson but Washington is still struggling to run the ball well on a consistent basis. Kelley played well against Minnesota, racking up a decent 97 yards on 22 carries, but the rushing game still lacks big play ability.
Spread the Wealth
Captain Kirk looked great at the helm of this offensive crew, completing 22/33 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. Kirk Cousins has been magical in spreading the ball around all season and was again against Minnesota. The quarterback completed at least three passes to five different receivers.
Second Half Smith
Redskins linebacker Preston Smith was the defensive MVP of the afternoon with two sacks and an interception. Coming into the game, Smith had a sack and a half.
We’re seeing some parallels between this year and Smith’s performance last season. Last year Smith had two sacks entering the bye week then tore it up in the second half with six more. Whatever Smith has been doing during his bye weeks has been working wonders for this Washington defense.
Diggs took Fuller back to high school
Stefon Diggs looked unstoppable in his DC homecoming. The young receiver racked up 13 receptions for 164 yards. Diggs exposed holes in the young Redskins secondary including his former high school teammate, rookie Kendall Fuller. Diggs was able to provide an easy safety valve for Sam Bradford. Whether it was quick slants, deep streaks or anything in between, Diggs played like a man possessed, especially during the Vikings final series where he raked in six receptions.
A huge bright spot on the defensive side was Josh Norman. The Pro-Bowl corner was as shut down as could be and was hardly heard from throughout the afternoon. Last week Norman was flagged five times and made a point about not changing the way he plays despite that. While this may have caused some worry among the burgundy and gold faithful, it appears there’s nothing to worry about after all as Norman dominated his man and got through the entirety of the game without so much as a glimpse from the officials.
Washington will be at home again next week when they take on the Green Bay Packers under the lights on Sunday Night Football. This will be a rematch of last year’s Wild Card game that saw a hot start from Washington that fizzled out as the evening progressed. If the Redskins can come out of the gates quick and sustain the momentum instead of keeping back on the ropes, Washington should be able to beat the struggling Packers and continue vying for a playoff spot.