2013 NFL Grades, Week 10: Redskins loss turns up Washington heat

RG3's Redskins see their dim playoff hopes all but extinguished after the Vikings' rally. (USATSI)
RG3's Redskins see their dim playoff hopes all but extinguished after the Vikings' rally. (USATSI)

Once again, Mike Shanahan finds himself in a fairly uncomfortable place. (No, not the back of a Volkswagen.) His Redskins are 3-6 for the second straight year, except this time it doesn't look like a seven-game winning streak is waiting on the other side.

Up 24-14 at the half (and eventually 27-14) the Redskins somehow took their foot off the gas. The offense was unstoppable in the first half and looked ready to pile up the rushing yards on down the stretch. Instead Christian Ponder -- who looked quite good until he left with an injury -- made plays all over the Redskins defense. Adrian Peterson ran like a man possessed for stretches and Matt Cassel was effective in relief. 

Meanwhile the Washington offense completely stagnated. Kevin Williams and Everson Griffen swarmed Robert Griffin III and it looked like the Redskins offense fell apart after the break.

"We got fussed at pretty hard at halftime," the Vikings' Williams said after the game. "We didn't want to come out and lay an egg. All the coaches got after us on defense."

Good on the Vikings for stepping it up and getting it done. But the heat is going to come down on Washington for this loss. This was a must-win game for them at 3-5, a chance to jump right back into the playoff race by virtue of a weak NFC East. Instead of being a game back, they're looking a long ways up at the Cowboys.

This year was supposed to build off last season's playoff berth. But RG3's injury made things slow out of the gates and just when Washington grabbed some momentum, the Skins gave it right back with the second half Thursday.

Knee-jerk reactions are unnecessary because of how quickly things can change in the NFL. But let's not forget that last year at this time -- with Washington sitting at 3-6 and heading into the bye -- Mike Shanahan gave up on the season. He doesn't have that luxury this year. 

Something almost certainly has to change. And it's hard to imagine, frankly, the Redskins ripping off another seven-game win streak down the stretch. They're not sitting on a last-place schedule this time around.

An utter collapse by Washington feels like something that will get the heat turned up in DC pretty quickly.

Vikings 34, Redskins 27
D This would be a great grade on the strength of their first half. But there's 60 minutes in a football game and the Redskins looked lost for the final 30. The offensive line stopped protecting, the play-calling wasn't trying to put Minnesota away and the defense couldn't stop the Vikings.
C+ What a comeback win. Twenty unanswered points gave the Vikings a shocking victory after a 13-point deficit. Adrian Peterson was a beast, Christian Ponder looked pretty damn good until his injury and the defense stepped up big in the second half.
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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