(Landover, MD) — After the Minnesota Vikings’ starting quarterback and running back got knocked out of the contest against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field, backup signal-caller Joe Webb and backup ball-carrier Toby Gerhart finished the job for Minnesota.
The Redskins matched blow for blow with the Vikings until Washington’s quarterback Rex Grossman threw an interception midway through the fourth quarter. Moreover, Webb’s big-play ability and Gerhart’s muscle was too much for the Redskins as the Vikings defeated Washington, 33-26.
“I thought [Joe] Webb came in and did some things well with the football—the counter options and keeping the ball alive, which wasn’t what they had been doing,” said Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan.
“He (Webb) made some big time plays, made some big-time throws and kept us off-balance,” he added. “It’s a credit to Webb and how he played in the second half.”
The Redskins started the contest slow and had a critical mistake midway through the first quarter, when quarterback Rex Grossman was stripped by Vikings linebacker Brian Robison. Robison recovered the ball at the Redskins’ 20. The Vikings managed to get a field goal off the possession.
Led by rookie quarterback Christian Ponder, the Vikings mastered a 13-play, 68-yard drive to take a 10-0 lead when running back Adrian Peterson capped a 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
The Redskins answered with a touchdown of their own as Grossman hooked up with veteran wide receiver Donte Stallworth, as he suspended his body to stretch the ball across the goal line for a 5-yard score.
Thanks to a missed field goal by Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell with 5:40 remaining in the second quarter, the Redskins moved the ball down the field on 11-plays to end the half at 10-10, after a 26-yard field goal by Redskins kicker Graham Gano.
Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was a terror as he punished Vikings players all afternoon, finishing with 17 tackles. The unfortunate knee injury sustained by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after being hit by Redskins rookie safety DeJon Gomes, slightly changed the Vikings’ game plan.
The blow Fletcher laid on quarterback Christian Ponder caused him to suffer a concussion on the team’s first possession of the second half.
The Vikings’ injuries completely changed the contest—for the better—as Webb took over along with Gerhart.
“They [Joe Webb and Toby Gerhardt] came in and played well,” said Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. “It’s disappointing because our offense played so well and we didn’t do our job as a defense. That game should have been in the bag.”
Shortly after the Redskins put three more points on the scoreboard to make it a 13-10 game, Gerhart sprinted the field for a 67 yard gain. Webb finished the drive with a three-yard touchdown run to take a 17-13 lead early in the third quarter.
Apparently, Washington’s offense came alive with a touchdown themselves as Grossman hit wide receiver Jabar Gaffney for a four-yard score, making it a 20-17 affair.
A week ago, Webb scored touchdowns on his first two possessions. Saturday against the Redskins, Webb scored on his first three possessions. According the Vikings’ locker room, Webb brings an air of confidence to the sideline and assurance that the team can win.
“Some of the things he does and how it affects the rest of our team you can’t ignore,” said Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. “He really lifts our team and makes them shine. Joe’s personality is so outgoing and infectious. The players like being around him.”
Washington was down by a touchdown with 10:06 remaining in the game, until Redskins return specialist Brandon Banks received a handoff and took the ball for a 59-yard touchdown. Consequently, Banks’ touchdown was nullified, due to a holding call on Redskins fullback Darrel Young.
The following play, Grossman was picked off by rookie safety Mistral Raymond.
The Vikings put the game away with another field goal.
Lastly, the Redskins added another field goal with 1:30 left in the contest. Washington elected to kick the ball deep instead of kicking an onside kick. After three career onside attempts, Gano is 0-3. The Redskins defense held, but the offense could not capitalize after receiving the ball with :55 remaining.
Game Notes: Redskins vs. Vikings via Press Release
- Attendance for the game was 68,370. The game was the Redskins’ 368th consecutive sellout, including preseason, regular season and playoffs. All 148 regular season, postseason and preseason games at FedExField have been sellouts.
Rookie running back Evan Royster received his first career start. He led the Redskins in rushing attempts (19) and rushing yards (132), both career highs. His previous high in rushes was 10 last week at the New York Giants, and he recorded a previous-high 44 yards in Week 14 against the New England Patriots.
- With Royster’s 100-plus-yard performance, the 2011 Redskins became the first squad in team history to have two different rookies rush for at least 100 yards in a single game in the same season.
- Royster became the third different Redskins running back to post 100 rushing yards in a game this season, joining Ryan Torain and Roy Helu. This marks the first time since 2002 that the Redskins have had three different running backs rush for 100 yards in a game in a single season (Ladell Betts, Kenny Watson and Stephen Davis).
- Royster’s 132 rushing yards were the most by a Redskins rookie running back since Reggie Brooks rushed for a rookie-team-record 154 yards at Philadelphia on Sept. 19, 1993, a span of 299 regular season games.
- Royster’s 132 rushing yards were the highest individual total allowed by the Vikings this season and the most allowed by the Vikings since 2006 (Steven Jackson – 142).
- Royster recorded a career-long run of 28 yards in the third quarter. His previous long was 15 yards, registered in Week 14 against the Patriots.
- Royster’s 132 rushing yards are the most registered by any player in the 21 games contested by the Redskins and Vikings.
- Kicker Graham Gano was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, tying his career high for field goals made in a single game, which he set vs. the New York Jets on Dec. 4 this season.
- Gano made a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter, his fourth field goal of 50 yards or more this season. The four field goals of 50 yards or longer ties the Redskins’ team record for 50-yard field goals in a season, held by John Hall (2003) and Mark Moseley (1977).
- With 14 points on Sunday, Gano set a season high with 114 points. That total ranks tied for 12th most in team history and is the most since kicker Shaun Suisham scored 116 points in 2007.
- Gano improved upon his single-season career high in field goals made (30), tying him with Chip Lohmiller (1990 and 1992) for third-most field goals made in a single season in team history. He is three field goals shy of tying Mark Moseley’s team record of 33 made field goals during the 1983 season.
- Receiver Jabar Gaffney led the Redskins in receptions (six) and receiving yards (77).
- Gaffney now has 919 receiving yards on the season, surpassing his previous career high of 875 yards in 2010 as a member of the Denver Broncos.
- Gaffney caught a four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rex Grossman in the fourth quarter. The touchdown reception was Gaffney’s fifth of the season, tying his single-season career high, set in 2007 as a member of the New England Patriots.
- Grossman had a 100.5 quarterback rating in the first half, which is the fifth time he has recorded more than a 100 quarterback rating in the first half of games this season.
- Grossman found Donté Stallworth for a five-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The receiving touchdown was Stallworth’s second of the season and the 34th of his career, tying him with Santonio Holmes for 30th most among active players.
- Linebacker London Fletcher played in his 223rd consecutive game, which is tied with Tampa Bay’s Ronde Barber for most among active non-specialists. It was also his 178th consecutive start, the most by any active linebacker.
- Fletcher was credited with 17 total tackles, giving him a league-leading 163 tackles for the season according to NFL GSIS. His 163 tackles surpass his previous career high of 158, set in 2005.
- Fletcher and defensive end Adam Carriker split a sack of Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder. The half-sack gives Fletcher 2.0 for the season, and the half-sack give Carriker 5.5 for the season, improving on his career high.
- Wide receiver Terrence Austin caught a 23-yard pass in the second quarter, improving on his single-season career-high totals in 2011. He tied a single-game career high in receptions with three.
- Fullback Darrel Young registered a career-high in receiving yards in a game (33). His previous high was recorded in Week 11 against the Dallas Cowboys (27).
- Return specialist Brandon Banks had three kickoff returns for 80 yards, giving him 49 returns for 1,121 yards this season, both single-season career highs. Banks leads the league in both categories.
- Banks’ 1,121 kickoff return yards currently rank as the 10th most in a single season in team history. Banks, who had 1,155 kickoff return yards last season, joins Brian Mitchell (four) and Rock Cartwright (three) as the only members of the Redskins with multiple seasons of 1,100-plus yards on kickoff returns.
- Linebacker Perry Riley recorded the first sack of his career in the fourth quarter.
- Safety Oshiomogho Atogwe appeared in the 100th game of his career.