|Vikings coach Les Frazier was not happy to watch his team take a step backward Sunday vs. the Redskins after a great start in Minnesota's first five games. (US Presswire)|
On Sunday against the Washington Redskins , the Minnesota Vikings found out that RG3 stands for Really Good for three scores. Redskins QB Robert Griffin III threw for one touchdown and ran for two more and when you couple that with three Vikings turnovers (including a pick six) the deficit becomes too great to come back from on the road. The Vikings' fast start built a nine-point lead and a harried finish resulted in two Vikings touchdowns, but their inability to score (only three points) in the middle two quarters when the Redskins scored 24 is what ultimately sank the Vikings' ship, 38-26.
The Vikings offense scored at a torrid pace in the first quarter, but unfortunately they were all field goals. The offense scored 26 points, but the touchdowns came in prevent time. QB Christian Ponder had his worst game of the season despite throwing for 352 yards. He missed receivers short, high and by a lot. He had three turnovers, one of them leading to a pick six that became the game-winning score. The offensive line didn't give him much time, but Ponder had some bad throws even when he wasn't under duress. RB Adrian Peterson and WR Percy Harvin both played well and had decent statistical games, but by not getting into the end zone in the first quarter, helped seal the Vikings' fate. Previous game's grade: B
Like the offense, the defense played well in the first quarter (shutting out the Redskins), but suddenly looked like the defense from last season. Utilizing play action, RG3 found wide open receivers in the middle of the Vikings defense and then gashed them with his feet — including the back-breaking 76-yard run that will be replayed far too many times this week for Vikings fans. A bright spot included the play of CB Antoine Winfield, who was the leading tackler (including three tackles for a loss) and made a great diving interception. But the Redskins made the Vikings defense look ordinary and in need of going back to the drawing board. Previous game's grade: A
Special teams: B+
K Blair Walsh was once again the highlight for the Vikings special teams (and the whole team, for that matter), as he made all four of his field goals and set a team record with seven touchbacks (breaking the record of five which he had already tied twice this season). Even more impressive was the fact that he was recovering from a bout of food poisoning contracted the night before. P Chris Kluwe kicked well, Harvin had three returns for 100 yards and Marcus Sherels somehow hung onto a punt even though he was hit so hard that his helmet and skullcap flew for several yards. The only thing that special teams didn't do was win the game for Minnesota like it had in the past, but they can't be expected to do that every week. Previous game's grade: A-
The Vikings coaching staff appeared to have been outcoached on Sunday. Despite an opening quarter in which the Vikings put together three scoring drives, the Redskins adjusted and completely turned the tables on Minnesota. There was curious play calling in the Vikings' three failed red zone appearances in the first quarter, as Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin weren't even on the field at times. When the Redskins then loaded the box with eight players to take Peterson out of the game, the Vikings didn't have an answer. And the defense looked lost at times trying to defend play-action calls by RG3. The coaches need to figure this out because Washington just laid out a blueprint on how to beat the Vikings. The only good new is there are no more games against RG3 on the schedule this season (unless they were to meet in the playoffs). Previous game's grade: B+
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