Before Further Review: Redskins Rebound, Rally, Fend Off Vikings

Preston Smith shows up big time as the Redskins defeat the Minnesota Vikings, 26-20.

LANDOVER, MD - The Washington Redskins (5-3-1) defeated the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, 26-20, in yet another nail-bitter for the Burgundy and Gold. For the most part, Washington controlled the contest. Their typical self-inflicted wounds and inability to slow down Maryland native Stefon Diggs kept the game close. Let's engage in a pre-film review by using our game notes.

Offense:

  • QB Kirk Cousins had some early struggles in the red zone but played a very solid game otherwise. The Vikings pretty much played to his strength, allowing a ton of between-the-numbers, intermediate passes.
  • I thought rookie RB Robert Kelley had another very stellar game. He ran for 97 yards on 22 carries and had several double-digit runs, including a 22-yarder. Kelley continues to show great balance, cutting ability and -- most importantly -- ball control. He's done nothing warrant a demotion back down the depth chart. 
  • Rookie WR Maurice Harris showed up in a big way. He had two key third-down conversions. Both were sideline grabs where he snagged the ball away from his body. The 6-foot-3 receiver also had a very nice seal block on one of Kelley's double-digit runs. 
  • WR Pierre Garcon looked like his 2012 self, running a bunch of slants and bang eights in this game. His 10 targets were most among the team's receiving corps. Jamison CrowderJ's six targets were second-best. Garcon has no fear going across the middle. 
  • I'm not sure what has happened, but left guard Shawn Lauvao has again become a weak link on the offensive line. He was playing so well early in the season. Ever since he returned from his short-term ankle injury in Week 5, he hasn't been able to regain that previous level of success.

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Defense: 

  • Another defensive player who had a really nice game was safety Duke Ihenacho. He's become the Energizer Bunny on that side of the ball. Ihenacho showed good range several times and he always finishes with a boom. 
  • LB Mason Foster led the team in tackles Sunday (nine). He had a really nice game against both the pass and run. He did have a near-interception that he should have caught. But his coverage on the play was so impressive that you really can't knock the drop. 
  • Rookie CB Kendall Fuller had a tough game against Diggs. I'll have to review the film to see how many of Diggs' 13 catches legitimately came against Fuller, but the 36-yarder Fuller gave up in the second quarter again showed a habit that the Virginia Tech alum must knock: He has to do a better job of consistently getting his head turned around while downfield in order to locate the football. As we've mentioned in the past, he apparently was taught not to turn his head downfield in college. So, it's just a habit he'll have to break with time. Otherwise, Fuller has been doing an extremely solid job. 

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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