From the moment Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder were hurt on the first two offensive plays of the second half, the Minnesota Vikings seemed doomed to their longest single-season losing streak since they were a baby NFL franchise 50 years ago.
But wait a minute. Or a half, actually. Toby Gerhart and Joe Webb answered the call.
Gerhart set up a touchdown with a 67-yard run, and Webb threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as the Vikings snapped a six-game skid Saturday with a 33-26 win over the Washington Redskins.
Webb completed 4 of 5 passes for 84 yards and ran five times for 34 yards. Gerhart had 109 yards on 11 carries as the Vikings (3-12) kept alive their hopes to not finish with the worst record in team history. A win next week against Chicago would put them ahead of the dubious 1984 Minnesota team that went 3-13.
The Vikings hadn't lost seven in a row in the same season since their expansion year of 1961, and their win extended a streak of misery for the Redskins (5-10). Washington has lost six straight at home, which hadn't happened since 1994.
Webb's 8-yard pass to Percy Harvin broke a 23-23 tie early in the fourth quarter, and rookie Mistral Raymond's first career interception set up Ryan Longwell's 23-yard field goal. That gave the Vikings a 10-point lead with 4:05 to play. Minnesota had gone nine games without a pick before Raymond's big play.
The Redskins pulled within a touchdown on Graham Gano's 47-yard field goal with 1:25 remaining. They got the ball back after a punt, but Grossman's final long fling to the end zone fell incomplete.
Grossman completed 26 of 41 passes for 284 yards with two touchdowns. He also had two more giveaways—a lost fumble and the interception—to put his total at 24 for the season. He was already tied for the most in the NFL entering the game.
Evan Royster, getting the start with fellow rookie Roy Helu out with an injury, ran for 132 yards on 19 carries for the Redskins.
The Vikings' attention now turns to the health of Peterson and Ponder.
Peterson took a direct hit to the left knee from Redskins safety Dejon Gomes on a 3-yard gain. Peterson lay on the ground for a couple of minutes and did not put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the field. He was later taken on a cart to the locker room.
On the next play, Ponder was sacked by Adam Carriker and London Fletcher. Ponder remained in the game for one more play—a third-down incomplete pass— before heading to the locker room.
Peterson had 12 carries for 38 yards when he left. He also had a 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Ponder was 8 for 13 for 68 yards.
The Vikings were also short-handed along the offensive line, with guard Steve Hutchinson inactive with a concussion, and guard Anthony Herrera sidelined in the first half with a lower back injury. Rookie Brandon Fusco, playing his second NFL game, entered at right guard and committed a personal foul with a late shove in the final minute of the first half.
Webb, Gerhart answer call in 33-26 win
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