PASSING OFFENSE: D — QB Daunte Culpepper finished with 299 yards passing and two touchdowns, but that included a meaningless 38-yard touchdown pass to Marcus Robinson with two seconds left. In the fourth quarter, WR Nate Burleson dropped what would have been a 54-yard touchdown pass, and WR Randy Moss' 62-yard touchdown catch was negated by a holding penalty on RT Adam Goldberg. Culpepper was sacked four times and pressured on numerous other plays. The Redskins overwhelmed the Vikings with perfectly timed blitzes and tight coverage downfield. TE Jermaine Wiggins had a team-high seven catches because Culpepper had to keep dumping the ball off to him.
RUSHING OFFENSE: D — What rushing offense? The Vikings had just 52 yards on 18 carries (2.9). Michael Bennett started and rushed for 19 yards on eight carries (2.4). Onterrio Smith, who had missed the Packers game a week ago, had five carries for five yards. Moe Williams had four yards on three carries. Culpepper led the team with 24 yards on two scrambles.
PASS DEFENSE: D — The Vikings' weak pass defense showed up on the sixth play of the game when Patrick Ramsey, the second-worst passer in the NFC (rating: 72.0), easily completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-9. The Redskins went on to score a touchdown and never trailed. Ramsey was 5 of 7 passing on third down for 50 yards and a touchdown. He completed passes to five different receivers on third down. The Redskins' clinching touchdown was set up by a 45-yard pass to the Vikings 1 early in the fourth quarter. The play happened because CB Antoine Winfield lined up on the wrong side of the field. He lined up on the wrong side because the coaches put him in the game on a tender left ankle because CB Terrance Shaw was getting destroyed. Winfield, who has battled a high left ankle sprain the last four weeks, started out playing only third downs in the nickel. His injury has been a major blow to the Vikings defense.
RUSH DEFENSE: C — The Vikings should have dominated this area — Redskins RB Clinton Portis (1,315 yards rushing) was out because of a torn pectoral muscle. But Portis' backup, Ladell Betts, hammered away at the Vikings for 118 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (4.5). One of the carries was a 27-yard gain on third-and-4 with the Vikings scrambling to get the ball back with 4:55 left in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F — The Vikings' 32nd-ranked kickoff coverage unit set the tone for Sunday's game when it allowed Antonio Brown to return the opening kickoff 66 yards to the Vikings 32. James Thrash later returned a kickoff 36 yards. While other areas of the special teams have improved, kickoff coverage remains a trouble spot.
COACHING: F -- The Vikings got lucky by making the playoffs despite an 8-8 record. For the second consecutive season, they finished off a 3-7 slide with a loss on the road against a non-playoff team. The Redskins were without Clinton Portis, LaVar Arrington and Fred Smoot, among others. Patrick Ramsey entered the game with a 72.0 passer rating but posted a 100.8 rating against the Vikings. Coach Mike Tice and his players have insisted all season that this season wasn't the same as last season. Actually, it was worse than last year, when they missed the playoffs at 9-7. Last year, the Vikings beat playoff teams such as Green Bay, Kansas City and Seattle. This year, the only team with a winning record that the Vikings beat was Jacksonville (9-7).
Grading The Game: Redskins
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