REPORT CARD VS. REDSKINS
PASSING OFFENSE: B - Savvy veteran Brad Johnson threw for 223 yards (16 of 30) with one touchdown and no interceptions. He registered an 88.6 quarterback rating. Johnson could have had a second touchdown pass but Troy Williamson dropped a deep ball that was nearly perfectly thrown in the second quarter. As expected, Johnson spread the ball around, completing passes to seven receivers. Tight end Jermaine Wiggins led the way with five catches; Williamson hauled in four balls for a game-high 77 yards. His 46-yard catch on the opening drive set up the Vikings' first touchdown.
RUSHING OFFENSE: C - The jury remains out on the Vikings' run game. Chester Taylor had 31 carries but gained only 88 yards, putting him with a 2.8-yard average. Taylor did score on a 4-yard run. The Vikings' offensive line is continuing to jell so it might take a while for the run game to hit its stride. It's clear that Taylor, who got big bucks as a free-agent pick up, is going to get every chance to prove he's a marquee back. If the Washington game is any indication, he's certainly going to take a pounding doing it.
PASS DEFENSE: C-plus - The Vikings did not get to Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell and did not pick off a ball. Keep in mind the strategy for success in the Tampa-2 defense is to do very limited blitzing and have confidence that the front four can get to the quarterback. Ends Erasmus James and Kenechi Udeze will be counted on to get much of this pressure but they did not do it against the Redskins. Defensive tackle Kevin Williams showed flashes of his old self after struggling for much of 2005. As a whole, Brunell was held to 163 yards passing and no touchdowns, so defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin had to see this as a positive first step. However, the Vikings are going to want to force turnovers and they did not do it Monday.
RUSH DEFENSE: C-plus - The Vikings gave up 103 yards on the ground and a banged-up Clinton Portis accounted for 39 of those yards on 10 carries. Tackles Pat Williams and Kevin Williams did an adequate job plugging up the middle but if Portis had been healthy it could have been ugly. Washington nearly broke several more long runs only to have members of the secondary make nice plays.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C - Kicker Ryan Longwell hit the winning field goal and overall made two of three kicks, coming up short on a 54-yard attempt. But punter Chris Kluwe struggled, averaging only 28.4 net yards on five punts. Kluwe also dropped the ball while holding for an extra point. Troy Williamson averaged 24.5 yards on four kick returns and appears to be getting slightly more comfortable in that role. Williamson's great speed makes him attractive in this role but it's unclear if he will hold it long term. Punt returner Mewlede Moore averaged 13.5 yards on two returns, including a long of 20 yards. The Vikings' kick coverage gave up a 27-yard return to Ladell Betts but held Antwaan Randle El to a 9.3-yard average on three punt returns.
COACHING: B - Brad Childress won in his head coaching debut with the Vikings, but there is plenty of work to be done. Among other things, the Vikings took too many penalties (nine) and need to get their run game on track (Childress calls the plays) for the coach to start to feel the least bit satisfied. Credit Childress for being willing to go back to receiver Troy Williamson time and time again even after he had dropped three passes.
Grading the Game: Redskins
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