Reviewing the four keys we identified as things to watch during the Vikings-Redskins game (won by Minnesota, 33-26):
1. ACCOUNTING FOR ALLEN
Entering the game: The Vikings were a statistical anomaly – third in the NFL with 40 sacks, but 30th in passing yards allowed and last with only six interceptions. Jared Allen was second with 17.5 sacks.
What happened: Allen had one sack – he beat rookie left tackle Willie Smith and two quarterback hits, but the Redskins didn’t let him completely disrupt the passing game. As for the interceptions, Minnesota picked off Rex Grossman in the fourth quarter for its first INT in a whopping 10 games.
2. ALL DAY ADRIAN
Entering the game: Adrian Peterson was averaging 4.8 yards per carry and despite missing three games, was nearing another 1,000-yard season. The Redskins were middle of the road against the run (15th) but have played better recently, giving up fewer big plays that skew the numbers.
What happened: Just call him Half Day Adrian. He sustained a knee injury on a hit by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes on the third quarter’s opening possession and did not return. He had 12 carries for 38 yards at the time of his departure. Unfortunately for the Redskins, that meant Toby Gerhart along with back-up quarterback Joe Webb. The Redskins allowed a season-high 241 rushing yards.
3. PRESSURING PONDER
Entering the game: Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder had been sacked 28 times, including at least three times in seven straight games. After just one sack in losses to the Jets and Patriots, the Redskins’ pass rush amped up against the Giants, taking down Eli Manning three times.
What happened: During Ponder’s one half plus one series, he was sacked one time but it was costly – he got high-lowed by Adam Carriker and London Fletcher, sustained a concussion and did not return. Too bad for the Redskins – against the mobile Webb, the only sack was a gift for Perry Riley.
4. STAYING AGGRESSIVE
Entering the game: The Redskins had traveled to the outer chapters of their play-book the last two games in an effort to make big plays.
What happened: No trickery this week, but the play calling on the first series was interesting. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan dialed up passing plays on five of the six opening-drive plays. The reverse came in the fourth quarter when Brandon Banks scooted around the left side for a 59-yard touchdown that was negated by Darrel Young’s holding penalty on Allen.
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