Well, just as Vikings fans began to feel confident the season was headed in the right direction after a slow start, the men in purple and white threw the game away (figuratively and literally).
You’d think hearing the Vikings were up 9-0 early in the game sounds like a good start, but if you were watching the game or even worse, in attendance, which I happened to be, it wasn’t as satisfying a start as you’d think. Falling short in the red zone on the first three attempts, Peterson worded it well when he said, “…offensively, we need to turn those 3’s into 7’s. Period. It’s not a game if we do that.” With a 148-7 advantage at onset of the game, those 9 points should be 21, resulting in a totally different ball game from then on. “Today it finally came back and bit us.”
But unfortunately, the next 24 points came from the Redskins, flipping the advantage to 225-14 in favor of Washington. As a result of less than satisfactory offense on the Vikings part and an impressive post-concussion performance from Robert Griffin III, the game switched gears quickly and made the Vikings sorry for not capitalizing in the red zone early on. As a Vikings fan in the Fed Ex Field Stadium, I heard the “RG3” chants a few more times than I would’ve like, as the quarterback ran for two scores and threw for another, ending the Redskins’ eight-game losing streak at home.
His final run for a touchdown came late in the fourth quarter just as Minnesota brought the game within five points. Down 31-12 entering the final quarter, Ponder managed to throw for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. Instead of getting the ball back off a blitz, Griffin found a seam in the Vikings defense that not only got him a first down, but the longest touchdown run from a quarterback since 1996. The 76-yard touchdown sealed the Vikings fate just when a pinch of hope had been restored.
Individually, the Vikes players struggled with injuries and misplays that could factor in to the upsetting loss. Ponder finished 35 for 52 for 352 yards, but threw two interceptions and lost a fumble which facilitated two touchdowns within 13 seconds for Washington in the second quarter. Neither Adrian Peterson nor Percy Harvin were able to make it into the end zone and both key members of the offense sustained minor injuries during the game. Peterson aggravated a twisted ankle which briefly caused him to leave the game and Harvin, while having an impressive season thus far, also appeared to have leg issues on Sunday. He did, however, end up with 11 catches for 133 yards, but it wasn’t enough to reverse the Vikings’ undesirable outcome. WR Jerome Simpson was also inactive due to back problems that hindered his performance in the practices leading up to the game.
This afternoon, the Vikings take on the Arizona Cardinals at Mall of America Field and hope to bring themselves up to 5-2. A little fuel in the offensive fire would be nice after last week’s loss, and no offense to Walsh, but I know Vikings fans are hoping to see a little less of him on the field this time, unless it’s to complete that extra point.