Redskins cough up lead, win to Vikings

Redskins cough up lead, win to Vikings
November 7, 2013, 11:30 pm
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Brian Orakpo on Vikings loss: Things fell apart

MINNEAPOLISAfter Sunday’s overtime victory, the Redskins had a chance to make up some lost ground against a Vikings’ team that hadn’t won a game since September.

But instead of seizing the opportunity, they let it slip away at the Metrodome, where they blew another double-digit, second half lead and lost, 34-27, after a last-minute drive came up short.

Robert Griffin III (24 of 37 for 281 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions) marched the Redskins down to the four-yard line, but Pierre Garçon couldn’t secure a reception on third down. On fourth down, Griffin connected with Santana Moss on a fade route in the end zone, but Moss did not get both feet in bounds.

The loss dropped the Redskins’ record to 3-6. The Vikings, who lost starting quarterback Chris Ponder to a shoulder injury in the third quarter, improved to 2-7.

If the Redskins fail to make the postseason, they’ll be able to look back at this game as the reason for the failure.

Washington had appeared to take control early in the third quarter when they took a 27-14 lead on a 40-yard Kai Forbath field goal.

But they couldn’t make it stick. The Vikings responded with a methodical, nine-play drive that culminated with a 28-yard touchdown reception by John Carlson, trimming Washington’s lead to 27-21.

Then the Redskins’ struggling special teams struck again. A failed fake punt attempt—Sav Rocca badly under-threw Niles Paul—was called back because of a false start on Jerome Murphy. On the re-punt, missed tackles and a personal foul on Darrel Young put the ball on the Redskins’ 41.

Five plays later, the Vikings had lost Ponder to injury but Peterson was celebrating in the end zone, putting the Vikings were ahead 28-27.  

After another stalled drive that included back-to-back sacks of Griffin, the Vikings took a 31-27 edge on a 39-yard field goal.

The Redskins never fully recovered from the sudden turn of events.

Key Moment: After falling behind 28-27, the Redskins needed to respond. Instead, Griffin’s protection broke down and he was sacked for consecutive 10-yard losses by Kevin Williams and Everson Griffen, forcing Washington to punt. 

Player of the Game: Pierre Garçon hauled in seven passes for 119 yards and a touchdown, four days after the wide receiver racked up 172 yards on seven receptions against the Chargers. Garçon posted back-to-back 100-plus yard games for the first time as a Redskin.

Roster Update: Tight end Fred Davis was inactive for a four straight game and the fifth time this season. Because of that, he cannot achieve a $500,000 bonus for appearing in 12 regular season games. Davis is a set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season. …Niles Paul replaced Josh Morgan as the Redskins’ kickoff returner. Paul finished last season as the primary returner but temporarily lost that job under new special teams coach Keith Burns.

From the Locker Room: 

--Griffin on back-to-back sacks in third quarter: “We had some misfires. We had some things happen for us that can’t happen in those situations with the way the game was going. We had taken the crowd out of the game for most of the game. That brought them back into it. We can’t have those things happen.”

--Griffin on getting sacked four times and hit eight times: “I definitely got hit a lot. But it’s football. Teams are going do that. They’re going to try to come at you, hit you, try to test you, see if you’re okay.” 

--The Redskins were assessed eight penalties for 63 yards, while the Vikings took just one for seven. “That’s unacceptable,” Coach Mike Shanahan said. “You can’t do that. You have to keep your poise and you make mistakes like that so often it’ll cost you the game.”

--One the failed fake punt, Niles Paul didn’t know the fake was on. “It was miscommunication. [Special teams] Keith [Burns] has to tell us that the call was alerted. It wasn’t alerted so it wasn’t supposed to be called.”

--Brian Orakpo on the experience of bouncing back from 3-6 last year: “It doesn’t matter, man. I don’t care about that. We can’t keep relaying on the past. We let this one slip. It was right there for the taking. It would have been a perfect situation to get this game. This one hurts.”