When the Redskins look back at this game, all they will be able to do is shake their heads. The Redskins had numerous missed opportunies and because of that, could not come back against the Minnesota Vikings, giving Washington a 5-6 record.
Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and company will be able to celebrate their first victory under the new head coach, but they can thank the Redskins for helping them out. The Redskins receivers dropped many catchable passes from Donovan McNabb, with the most costly being a pass Santana Moss batted into the air, which was then intercepted by E.J. Henderson. On a 45 yard pass to Anthony Armstrong, McNabb was not able to put enough air under the ball, forcing Armstrong to dive for the ball, instead of catching it in stride for what would have been an easy touchdown.
The Redskins also committed two huge penalties on special teams. The first was an illegal block in the back on linebacker Perry Riley which pinned the Redskins back deep in their own territory (which led to the interception). The second was the most costly mistake of the game for the Redskins, as Perry Riley was penalized for a second illegal block in the back, negating a Brandon Banks punt return for a touchdown. It would have been the go ahead score.
The Redskins knocked out Adrian Peterson from the game, and it looked like that would be a huge break for the Redskins, but it was not to be, as rookie Tony Gerhart was able to pick up the slack in key moments for the Vikings. In addition to scoring his first touchdown in the NFL, Gerhart came up big on the Vikings final drive. Gerhart was able to pick up several key first downs which led to the decisive play of the game. On a key 3rd down, Brett Favre play faked to Gerhart, and then the 41 year old quarterback scrambled for the first down to allow the Vikings to run the clock out.
For the Redskins, this is another loss where missed opportunities cost them. It may be a dropped pass here, a penalty there, but for whatever reason, the Redskins continue to struggle closing out games, particularly at home.
If they wish to be able to compete in the NFC East, the Skins must learn how to close out these types of games.