1. We asked: Can the Redskins stop Adrian Peterson?
Based on how the
season has gone for the Vikings, we thought this would be difficult. It
wasn't. The Redskins stopped Peterson and the ground game by using lots
of eight-man fronts, sometimes with a safety and other times with an
extra linebacker. They also used some five-man lines. And to help, the
Redskins switched ends Phillip Daniels and Andre Carter, creating
better matchups on both sides.
2. We asked: What else must they do against Peterson?
We thought they
had to avoid one-on-one situations because of his cutback ability. We
also thought the Vikes would run straight at Carter, who would have
been punished by Bryant McKinnie. But playing on the other side, Carter
was more effective. The Redskins did a good job limiting their
one-on-one chances against Peterson by playing fast and always having a
lot of guys around the ball.
3. We asked: Can Tarvaris Jackson hurt them?
Only by being efficient,
we said. He had been more efficient until lately. He looked anything
but efficient early in the game and his coaches took too long to adjust
to Washington's defense. They needed to use more three-receiver sets
early to open up running lanes. Instead, they got stuffed on early
downs and forced Jackson into tough passing situations. He didn't hurt
them; instead, he helped them with two ugly throws under duress.
4. We asked: Will the Vikes always run left?
No, they would – and did –
not. But it didn't really matter; the Redskins stopped both sides.
5. We asked: How will Todd Collins fare?
We thought: Better than he did
against the Giants, where a gusty wind coupled with his squirtgun arm
made for a bad combination. However, the receivers were getting open.
And they did so again last night. This time, in ideal conditions, he
didn't miss. We thought Collins would take what was available and he
did; often taking it downfield. We thought he would be fine and he was
better than that.
6. We asked: Can the Redskins run the ball?
They haven't proven they
can run the ball consistently at all this season, we said. They didn't
sting Minnesota on the ground, but they did prove their point with a
very effective ground game. It helped that they could pass the ball
well – and that Antoine Winfield did not play. We also thought Clinton Portis looked much fresher and that they could run on the edges against
them. They did.
7. We asked: Who will have a big game?
We thought: Tight end Chris Cooley. He wasn't a huge part of the offensive package, but he did have
a long touchdown grab on a play in which Collins rolled right, taking
safety Darren Sharper with him, and then threw back to a wide-open
Cooley on a post.
8. We asked: What's the mood of the locker room?
We thought it was very
relaxed. Their demeanor is conducive to playing well late in the
season. If playing loose helps, this team had a major edge and it
9. We asked: Will the Pro Bowl snubs serve as motivation?
think it would and, really, I doubt it had any effect. Besides, no one
was snubbed that badly. The major motivator is making the playoffs and
dedicating the season to Sean Taylor.
10. We asked: Will the Redskins win?
Once again, we picked incorrect.
In the past, I've picked them to win road games and they lay a major
egg. Fool me once, you know. But this is a different team with Collins
in control and it showed again last night. Funny, but I picked
Minnesota after thinking all week that Washington would win. But the
injuries scared the heck out of me. At some point, they have to catch
up, right? Maybe, but not now. On my shaky behalf, I did think if they
won the turnover battle, the game would tilt to their favor and that's
what happened. But I blew the pick. I'll file that one with all the
others I've blown. Still, the surprise isn't that Washington won, it's
how much the Redskins dominated.
Ten Spot Review: Redskins 32, Vikings 21
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