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Preston Smith's big second half seals Redskins' close win over Vikings

Preston Smith's big second half seals Redskins' close win over Vikings

LANDOVER, MD— The Redskins returned home to FedEx Field and had a typical, heart-pounding game against the Vikings.

They went up 14-0, watched the Vikings scored 20 unanswered points in the second quarter to take a halftime lead. But the defense stiffened in the second half and Washington regained the lead on four Dustin Hopkins field goals and left with a 26-20 win.

The play of the game came midway through the fourth quarter with the Vikings down by three and driving. Preston Smith tipped a Sam Bradford pass and gathered it in for his first career interception. He returned it 22 yards into Vikings territory at the 42. The Redskins got a drive going but it stalled and Hopkins gave the Redskins a 26-20 lead with a 28-yard field goal with 2:31 left.

Minnesota had one last chance to win it with a touchdown. They moved downfield with Sam Bradford going to his favorite target, Stefon Diggs. It came down to a fourth and 17 play at the Washington 28 with 11 seconds left. Bradford never had a chance as Smith got the sack to seal the game.

The win moved the Redskins to 5-3-1 on the season. They host the Packers next Sunday night at 8 p.m.

Injury Updates:

OT Morgan Moses left the third quarter with an ankle injury. He returned to the game shortly after leaving.

First Quarter:     

— Drive: 10 plays, 68 yards, 4:19. Crowder 4 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

— Drive summary: After forcing a Vikings three and out, the Redskins got moving downfield in a hurry. After Cousins went to Pierre Garçon for 12 yards he found Jordan Reed deep on the right side for 25 yards to the Vikings 31. Two plays later Jamison Crowder book an end around and got nine yards to the 20. Chris Thompson fought for four yards up the middle on third and one to set up first and goal at the seven. On third down at the four, Cousins threw a low pass to Crowder, who scooped the ball up just over the goal line.

Redskins 7, Vikings 0 9:04


Second Quarter:

— Drive: 9 plays, 91 yards, 4:58. Davis 35 pass from Cousins (Hopkins kick)

— Drive summary: The Redskins added to their lead with a 91-yard drive. Cousins went to Vernon Davis for 13 yards and then again for 15 to get out of the hole. They converted a third and six when receiver Maurice Harris made a nice catch on the sideline for a gain of eight. On the next play, Cousins rolled right and went back to the left to Davis for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Redskins 14, Vikings 0 14:18


— Drive: 8 plays, 67 yards, 3:52. Asiata 1 run (Walsh kick)

— Drive summary: The Vikings were listless on offense until Sam Bradford found Stefon Diggs for 36 yards to the Washington 31. Then end Adam Thielen ran for 11 yards to the 14. On the next play Bradford found Kyle Rudolph wide open and he got pushed out of bounds at the one. On third down, Matt Asiata used second effort to push across the goal line for the touchdown.

Redskins 14, Vikings 7 5:39


— Drive: 7 plays, 75 yards, 2:40. Rudolph 20 pass from Bradford (Walsh kick)

— Drive summary: The Vikings got going with time running out in the half. After Cordarrelle Patterson caught a nine-yard pass for a first down, Bradford found Stefon Diggs, who scooted for 23 yards to the Washington 38. Then Jarius Wright turned a short pass into nine yards to set up second and one. On third and two, it was Bradford to Diggs again, this time for 10 and a first down at the 20. On the next play Bradford went to Rudolph with a short pass on the right side. The big tight end rolled into the end zone for the touchdown to tie the game.

Redskins 14, Vikings 14


— Drive: 4 plays, 33 yards, 0:50. Theielen 3 pass from Bradford (kick failed)

— Drive summary: The Vikings got a break when Chris Thompson fumbled at the Washington 33 and Everson Griffen recovered for the Vikings. On the first play, Bradford threw to Diggs, who made a diving catch at the five. On third and goal at the three, Bradford threw a quick pass to Adam Thielen for the touchdown to give the Vikings the lead going into halftime.

Vikings 20, Redskins 14 0:00


Third Quarter

— Drive: 12 plays, 55 yards, 6:07. FG Hopkins 30

— Drive summary: The drive got started with Jordan Reed making a diving catch for a first down at the Washington 44. Then it was Cousins to Garçon twice for 14 and 13 yards to get to the Vikings 28. On third and four at the 22 Cousins found Crower open for 12 yards and another first down at the 10. On third and goal from the 12, Cousins threw incomplete for Garçon and Hopkins came in and booted the field goal.

Vikings 20, Redskins 17 8:53


— Drive: 11 plays, 49 yards, 5:16. FG Hopkins 37

— Drive summary: The running backs got this one going. Rob Kelly bolted up the middle for 14 and the Chris Thompson caught a pass for four yards and a first down in Vikings territory. Washington faced third and eight and Cousins found Maurice Harris, who made a nifty catch on the sideline for a gain of 15 to the 25. But the drive fizzled and Hopkins came in and tied the game.

Redskins 20, Vikings 20 0:38


Fourth Quarter

— Drive: 7 plays, 60 yards, 3:21. FG Hopkins 50

— Drive summary: The Redskins drove from their own eight. They moved quickly with a 21-yard run by Kelley and then passes of 17 to Garçon and 14 to Crowder moved them to the Minnesota 40. A third and two pass was off the mark and Hopkins came in and booted the long field goal.

Redskins 23, Vikings 20 9:33


— Drive: 8 plays, 32 yards, 3:13. FG Hopkins 28

— Drive summary: The first career interception for Preston Smith and a 22-yard return got the Redskins the ball at the Vikings 42. On second and six, Cousins threw to Crowder for seven. One play later, Cousins found Garçon for 16 yards to the 12. On third and six at the eight, Cousins was sacked and Hopkins came in for his fourth field goal of the game.

Redskins 26, Vikings 20

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

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Eagles' Michael Bennett allegedly injured elderly worker; arrest warrant issued

Philadelphia Eagles lineman Michael Bennett has been indicted on felony abuse for allegedly pushing an elderly NRG Stadium worker during Super Bowl LI.

Bennett was indicted by the Harris County, Texas district attorney's office for injury to the elderly — which is intentionally and knowingly causing injury to a person 65 years or older, according to a press release from the Harris County Sheriffs' Office.

A warrant has been issued for Bennett's arrest.

The 66-year-old paraplegic stadium worker was attempting to control field access when Bennett allegedly pushed her. 

The maximum penalty Bennett faces is ten years in prison in addition to a $10,000 fine.


Bennett — whose brother Martellus played in that Super Bowl for New England — was a member of the Seattle Seahawks during the incident and was in attendance as a noncompetitive player.

The NFL has been made aware of the situation and is looking into the matter, according to Pro Football Talk.

The 32-year-old 10-year NFL veteran could potentially face NFL discipline under the league's personal conduct policy.