The Vikings had been holding stout against the run, until they ran into a quarterback that could run like few others. Plus, 28 notes that help tell the tale of the game.
The Vikings defense has done an excellent job of bottling up an opponent's primary running back. They hadn't allowed a 100-yard rusher despite playing against the likes of Maurice Jones-Drew
, Frank Gore
and Chris Johnson
. They didn't allow Alfred Morris
much (16 carries for just 47 yards – a 2.9 yard average), but surrendered their first 100-yard rushing game of the season when Robert Griffin
III broke off his 76-yard bootleg. RG3 finished the game with 138 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
"There aren't a lot of guys who play that position that can break a 76-yard run and not get caught," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "That creates some issues for any defense. He's a heck of a young player. He can throw the ball. He can run the ball. When things break down, he can make plays."
Through five games, the Vikings defense was allowing less than 79 yards a game. Griffin almost matched that on his late touchdown run, but the Redskins ran for 183 yards on the ground Sunday – a number that was too high before RG3's 76-yard TD scamper.
Ironically, the Vikings said they were concerned with blitzing Griffin, but that's exactly what they did on his 76-yard run.
"We were very concerned about it going into the ballgame. We wanted to pick our spots when we did do it and we knew what the potential ramification would be if we did it and you didn't get there," Frazier said. "We saw what could happen."
GAME DAY NOTES
Thanks in large part to having to throw so often late in the game, the Vikings gained 421 yards of offense Sunday (60 more than Washington) and ran 80 plays (25 more than the Redskins). Sometimes, the numbers don't tell the full story.
In the first four games, Christian Ponder didn't throw an interception. In the last two games, he has thrown four picks and another that was initially ruled an interception because the ball never touched the ground but was later changed to a fumble.
The first two Vikings turnovers resulted in 14 Washington points. The third turnover allowed Griffin to kneel on the ball to end the game.
Jared Allen said earlier in the week if he gets one sack a game for the rest of his career, he would be happy. He got one sack Sunday – the fourth straight game in which he has recorded one sack.
Christian Ponder recorded the second 300-yard passing game of his career (albeit many of those yards coming late), finishing with 352 yards passing Sunday.
Ponder's 52 attempts and 35 completions both set career highs.
Percy Harvin had 11 receptions Sunday. Prior to this season, he had never caught 11 passes in a game in 45 career games. In his last five games, he has caught 11 or more passes twice.
Harvin has 49 receptions through six games – the most in franchise history through six games, passing Cris Carter (45, 1994) and Randy Moss (40, 2002). Harvin is on pace to catch 131 passes this season.
Harvin carried the ball twice, giving him 100 rushing attempts in his career.
Adrian Peterson finished the game with 17 carries for 79 yards. In the first three minutes of the game, he carried three times for 40 yards. Over the final 57 minutes, he ran 14 times for 39 yards.
Peterson led the team in rushing attempts and rushing yards for the 69th time in his career, breaking a franchise record that had been held by Robert Smith (68).
Peterson set a career high with seven receptions Sunday.
Michael Jenkins caught six passes Sunday, the second-most in any game of his Vikings career.
Kyle Rudolph also caught six passes, setting his own career high. Through six games, he has caught 25 passes, just one short of his season total from his rookie year in 2011.
Rudolph scored his fifth touchdown of the season to lead the team and he leads all NFL tight ends with five touchdowns, as well as a 2-point conversion reception Sunday.
Blair Walsh continues to do more than his part as a Vikings rookie. On Sunday, he set a franchise record with seven touchbacks. The old record was five, something done four times by Mitch Berger in the 1998 Dream Team season and twice by Walsh over the previous two weeks.
With seven touchbacks Sunday, Walsh has 24 for the year through six games. Last year, Ryan Longwell had 19 touchbacks in 16 games.
Walsh has 60 points through six games, including making good on 16 of 17 field goal attempts and is third in the league in scoring this season.
Chad Greenway had seven tackles Sunday, giving him 801 for his career and making him just the eighth Viking ever to record 800 tackles.
The Vikings likely set a franchise record Sunday by allowing just one return yard. The Vikings punted just twice and the only one that was returned was returned for one yard. None of the seven Vikings kickoffs were returned.
Washington kicker Kai Forbath had a strong game, making his only field goal and all five extra points in his Redskins debut. What made that important for him is the death sentence-style history of Redskins kickers. He is the 15th different kicker in the last 12 years to play for Washington.
Antoine Winfield had a very strong game Sunday. Not only did he lead the Vikings with 10 tackles, but he had an incredible sideline interception that could have turned the game early in the Vikings' favor.
Was the Madieu Williams that played for Washington the same safety who played for the Vikings? Not only did he bring an interception back for a touchdown, he finished the game with 11 tackles.
The game changed irreparably for the Vikings in the second quarter. In the first quarter, the Vikings held the ball for 10:31 and outgained the Redskins 148-45. That could explain how they built a 9-0 lead. In the second quarter, Washington held the ball for 12:30 of the quarter and outscored the Vikings 17-0.
Both Minnesota and Washington had three offensive drives of 10 plays or more.
Between the second and third quarters, Washington held the ball 22 of the 30 minutes.
Punt returner Marcus Sherels avoided near disaster when he tried to field a punt and was hit so hard by Washington's Niles Paul that his helmet flew off. To his credit, Sherels held onto the ball.
If it seemed like there were a lot of short dump-off passes Sunday, it may have been because both teams were without their main deep threats. Both Jerome Simpson (back/leg) and Pierre Garcon (foot) missed Sunday's game, taking away the primary home run threats for both teams.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.