|(Favre's last game at FedEx)|
The game started off well as the Skins took the ball down on the opening drive and scored on a 10 yard pass from Donovan McNabb to Fred Davis. On that drive, McNabb was 8/8 with a TD. The lone sack on the drive was McNabb's fault as he fumbled the snap and fell on the ball. Outside of that the pass blocking was good. Also worth noting was that the Skins were 4/4 on 3rd down conversions. This is notable based on their struggles this season on 3rd downs and the fact that the Skins finished the game converting only three more 3rd downs for the rest of the game (7/15 total).
If you had turned off your TV then, you probably would have thought the Skins were in for a route of the Vikings. You would have thought wrong. The Vikings on the next drive took the ball right down the field and scored an easy touchdown tying the Skins. Adrian Peterson (6 carries, 36 yds; 1 TD 1 catch, 34 yards) looked unstoppable as the defense seemed unable to stop the run throughout the game.
It was a good game plan by the Vikings. The Redskins struggle against power runners and have difficulty scoring 20 or more points per game (this is the 7th game this season the Skins have scored less than 20). So, you run all game long. Eat up clock and have interception machine Brett Favre throw on occasion so the Redskins can't stack the box with eight men. The game plan was perfect and the D was kept off balance the entire game. When they expected run, Favre would bootleg be untouched and hit his WR/TE/RB in stride. When the Skins expected pass, he would run a draw to the RB. Even when Peterson was knocked out of the game, the Vikings continued to run the ball with Toby Gerhart and it worked well enough for the Vikings to move the ball, score a 2nd TD and eat enough clock to get out of DC with a win. Favre never came close to throwing an INT in this game.
That's not saying that the defense didn't have their moments. They did make a few key stops in the game. The most important being the drive that led to 3 points after a McNabb interecption on the Redskins 9 yard line. A sack by Haynesworth and Carter forced the Vikings to take the three and this kept the Skins in the ballgame until the end.
The offense and special teams had their opportunities but failed on every occasion to seal the deal and turn big plays into TD drives. The first of these opportunities came late in the 3rd quarter when Brandon Banks takes a kick off 65 yards to the Minnesota 28 yard line. The next play, Donovan McNabb is sacked for an 8 yard loss. This drive ended in a FG.
The next drive, McNabb (being pressured mind you) under throws a wide open Anthony Armstrong, who comes back for the ball and makes a beautiful 45 yard catch, putting the Skins again in Vikings territory (24 yard line). Next play, Armstrong is wide open again but this time McNabb throws the ball right to him and he drops the easy pass. It wouldn't have been a TD by any stretch but it would have been 2nd and short if he had caught it. Many drives in this game was killed by dropped passes. This led to another Gano FG.
The final opportunity came still rather early in the 4th. Brandon Banks returns a punt 77 yards for a TD. While the crowd is cheering and Banks is doing the John Wall, I see the yellow flag and knew it was coming back. Perry Riley was called for his 2nd block in the back penalty and this pretty much deflated the remainder of the game. Skins get the ball back deep in their territory, go three and out and punt it away. The Vikings never give the Skins another chance as they run out the clock to end the game.
More or less this is the Redskins folks. They have talent issues and mistake issues. If the other team makes mistakes and the Skins execute and play with less mistakes, they have a chance to win close games. If the opposing team plays like the Vikings did and the Skins make a few mistakes, the Skins will lose the close one. Expect to see this for most of the remaining games this year. The Skins are an average- to above average- to below average team right now. They have some serious injury issues and can't run the ball. They have holes in their defense and you didn't think the Skins would just keep generating multiple turnovers every game did you? Remember, this is Mike Shanahan's 1st year here. Despite the "win now" mentality the Skins are trying to portray, they are a team in a serious rebuilding mode. From the scheme to the roster. 2010 didn't give the Skins much to work with via Free Agency and the Skins only have so many draft picks. 2011 offers more in FA and hopefully the Skins will be able to acquire more picks via trade and compensatory picks. So don't be upset if this team finishes 7-9 or possibly worse (or possibly better, I still think 8-8 or 9-7 is possible).
Good, Bad, Ugly time: