The Redskins were looking to string together quality wins with the Vikings at FedEx Field in Week 10.
But the Redskins ran in to a red-hot Case Keenum and Adam Thielen, and did not have enough firepower to fight back.
The end result was a dissapoiting 38-30 Loss , which moves the team to 4-5, while the Vikings improve to 7-2, having now won five games in a row.
Here are Rich Tandler's observations made during the Redskins’ loss to the Vikings, focusing on the key matchups of the game with Josh Norman against the Vikings’ trio of receivers and the Redskins’ offensive line against the stout Minnesota defensive front.
— The big news pregame was that Everson Griffen, the Vikings defensive end with 10 sacks to his name was inactive. On the other side of the ball, all of the Redskins’ first string offensive linemen were active. All started except for Spencer Long. Chase Roullier started at center in his place.
— On the first series, the line was able to open holes for both Rob Kelley (2 carries, 10 yards) and Chris Thompson (1 for 6). They also gave Cousins plenty of time to complete four of four passes to four different targets. Cousins had all day to put up a nice touch pass that Maurice Harris snagged with a diving, one-hand catch for a TD.
—On the Redskins’ third series, Spencer Long came in at center. That’s unusual, we will see if that is it for the game or if Roullier comes back in. Update: Roullier came in shortly after that and finished the game.
—Cousins stated to feel some pass pressure on the Redskins’ third possession. It was mostly from up the middle. But the drive was kept alive when tackle Linval Joseph was flagged for roughing the passer on a third-down incompletion. The protection held up well on a fourth and two play, giving Cousins plenty of time to complete a pass to Chris Thompson that was good for 27 yards to the eight. That got the Redskins a field goal.
—The Redskins got their running game going after Minnesota took a 14-10 lead. It was Samaje Perine in for the injured Rob Kelley picking up 26 yards on six carries. Chris Thompson also found some running room. A holding call nearly derailed the drive but the line gave Cousins time to find Jamison Crowder for 32 yards and first down. They finally were able to get just enough push on a QB sneak to retake the lead.
— On the Vikings’ third play, Josh Norman was in coverage on Stefon Diggs. The receiver got a step on his defender and Case Keenum had plenty of time to loft a pass that Diggs hauled in for 51 yards down to the two yard line. Two plays later, the Vikings were in the end zone. They were playing in press coverage and Diggs got past him.
— Norman nearly came up with a pick of a pass intended for Laquon Treadwell. Keenum had lots of time but no receivers open. He threw low to Treadwell down the middle and Norman nearly made the diving catch. Later in the drive on third and goal at the four, Diggs made a nice move to get free of Bashaud Breeland in the end zone and Minnesota took a 14-10 lead.
— Adam Theielen had two big catches and they weren’t necessarily on the defensive backs. It looked like they were in zone coverage in both plays and it appeared that Zach Brown was not in position to make a play on either one. It’s hard to say for sure but don’t automatically assign responsibility for wide receiver catches to the defensive back who was the closest.
— Thielen got the touchdown on that drive, getting a well-thrown pass just out of the reach of Norman, who nearly batted the pass down.
— Down 35-17, the Redskins got moving in the third quarter. Again the line opened running room for Perine and Thompson and Cousins had time to throw. On third a four a 36-yard pass to Crowder he had plenty of time. He also had time to throw after the first and goal but the Turf Monster got Josh Doctson on what would have been an easy touchdown and Crowder dropped one in the end zone on third down.
—The Redskins got into the end zone on a two-yard drive following a Swearinger interception. It was a little scary as the Vikings defense got some push on first down and batted down Cousins’ first-down pass. Then Cousins made it into the end zone on a read option. He lost the ball after he scored and it was originally called a Vikings TD the other way. It was adventurous but the Redskins manage to make it a one-score game.
— The line was holding up well as the Redskins drove into Vikings territory. But on third and one at the 33, Chris Thompson was stuffed going up the middle. On fourth and one they tried to send Thompson wide right but Linval Joseph busted through the line and dropped the runner for a loss. That seemed to end the competitive phase of the game.
— The interior offensive line was an issue all day. In particular, nose tackle Joseph was a play killer, with some tipped passes and that key stop at the end. On the plus side, they allowed only one sack in the late going and the Redskins did get a bit of a running game going.
— The Adam Thielen show continued in the second half. On the first series of the half Norman had tight coverage on a first and 10 play but he backed off just before the snap. Thielen got open deep anyway and Keenum lofted a perfect pass for a gain of 49. The Redskins have a killer combination of loose coverage and no pass rush going on right now.
— If you had D.J. Swearinger as the Redskins defender who was going to make a play, you win. Keenum threw his first bad pass of the day, off of his back foot under pressure from Ziggy Hood. The ball looped downfield and Swearinger got the pick at the 19.
— Double your money on that Swearinger bet. He jumped a pass intended for Kyle Rudolph at the Vikings 33 and returned it to the two. Two plays later Kirk Cousins scored on a read option and the Redskins were back within a score.
—In the end, it was Thielen who torched the Redskins, although Diggs did have his moments. Thielen had eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. Norman got burned his share of times but he also got to the Redskins when they were in zone defense. A lack of pass rush didn’t help. The Redskins rushed Keenum on occasion but they got no sacks and few hits or hurries. That’s not going to get it done.