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Posted at 01:33 PM ET, 12/24/2011

Vikings beat Redskins 33-26

Fourth quarter: Vikings 33, Redskins 26

The Redskins’ 33-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings was their 10th loss of the season, meaning a loss in Philadelphia next week would leave Coach Mike Shanahan with his worst record as a head coach. This defeat, though, wasn’t determined until the final seven minutes.

The Redskins pushed the ball deep into the red zone on their first possession of the quarter, one that began on the Vikings’ 14 yard line at the end of the third quarter. After gaining a first down at the Minnesota 11, though, they couldn’t push the ball in. Rex Grossman’s third-down pass to Evan Royster fell incomplete, and Washington settled for Graham Gano’s 25-yard field goal, which tied the score at 23-23.

Joe Webb, the Vikings’ backup quarterback, came right back with a scoring drive of his own. On third and 10 from his own 28, Webb found receiver Percy Harvin – who beat cornerback Josh Wilson – for a 36-yard pass down the middle. Webb then found Devin Aromashodu for 19 more yards, and a play later, he hit Harvin for the eight-yard touchdown pass that gave the Vikings a 30-23 lead.

The Redskins were a whisker away from tying the game on one of their most electrifying plays of the season. They brought in kick returner Brandon Banks and ran an end around. Banks scampered down the left sideline for what might have been a 59-yard touchdown run, but fullback Darrel Young was called for holding Vikings sack master Jared Allen.

On the very next play, Grossman looked for receiver Santana Moss, but badly overthrew him. Vikings safety Mistral Raymond was there waiting for an easy interception, Minnesota’s first in 10 games. Raymond returned the ball to Washington 24 yard line, and the Vikings eventually converted Ryan Longwell’s 23-yard field goal for a 33-23 lead.

The Redskins used the hurry-up offense to work the ball into Vikings’ territory, and Gano hit a 47-yard field goal with 1:25 remaining to pull Washington within a touchdown. And with all three timeouts, the Redskins kicked away.

That turned out to be a wise decision. They called all three timeouts, the last after Webb inexplicably went to the ground on third down. When the Redskins took over at their own 36 with 55 seconds left.

On first down, Grossman found Donte Stallworth for 16 yards. But with the clock running, the Redskins couldn’t get properly set for their next play. They were called for a five-yard penalty because Grossman was moving forward on the snap. That left them with just 23 seconds, with the ball on their own 47.

Grossman threw an incompletion to Jabar Gaffney, then completed a 10-yard pass to Stallworth that left just eight seconds on the clock. Grossman’s last-second heave to the end zone fell incomplete, and the Redskins lost.

Fourth quarter scoring summary:

12:41 — Redskins get 25-yard field goal from Gano

10:06 — Percy Harvin’s 8-yard touchdown puts Vikings up 30-23.

4:05 — Vikings add to their lead with a 23-yard field goal from Longwell.

1:25 — Redskins answer with a 47-yard field goal from Gano.

Third quarter:

The Vikings carried a slim 23-20 lead over the Redskins into the final quarter, scoring two touchdowns after losing their top two offensive players -- running back Adrian Peterson and quarterback Christian Ponder -- to injury on the same series.

Peterson suffered his knee injury on the Vikings’ first offensive play of the second half when he took a nasty hit to his left leg fromWashington safety DeJon Gomes. He was eventually carted into the locker room, and the Vikings ruled him out for the remainder of the game.

Minnesota lost Ponder on the same series. One play after Peterson wasknocked out, Ponder was wrapped up by Adam Carriker and hit by London Fletcher. He suffered a concussion on the hit, even though he stayed in the game for one final play. He was also ruled out for the rest of the game.

While the Vikings were shuffling their lineup, Washington benefited from good field position, starting its next drive on the Vikings’39-yard line. Washington kicker Graham Gano hit a 53-yard field goal to give the Redskins a 13-10 advantage, their first lead of the day.

The Vikings’ new quarterback and running back both came up big on Minnesota’s next possession. On first-and-10 from the Vikings’ 25, Toby Gerhart ran 67 yards down the Washington 8. Two plays later, quarterback Joe Webb ran in a nine-yard touchdown, giving Minnesota a 17-13 lead.

The Redskins responded on their next drive, though, as Rex Grossman hooked up with Jabar Gaffney for four catches, including the final three plays of the drive. The last one was a four-yard pass, which Gaffney speared out of the air with one hand in the end zone. The touchdown gave Washington a 20-17 lead. On the drive, Gaffney topped his previous career-high of 875 yards in a single season. He had 890 yards on the season as the two teams entered the fourth quarter.

But the Vikings engineered yet another scoring drive of their own. Webb’s first pass of the game was a good one. It hit tight end Kyle Rudolph in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown. Ryan Longwell missed the extra point, and the Vikings carried a 23-20 lead into the final quarter.

Third quarter scoring summary:

10:40 — Graham Gano kicks a 53 yard touchdown for Washington

9:23 — Minnesota’s Joe Webb runs for a 9-yard touchdown. Ryan Longwell adds the extra point.

5:57 — Jabar Gaffney’s 4-yard touchdown and Graham Gano’s extra point put the Redskins up by three points.

2:41 — Minnesota quarterback Joe Webb connects with Kyle Rudolph from 17 yards out. Longwell misses on the extra point.

Second quarter:

Washington kicker Graham Gano hit a 26-yard field goal in the closing minutes of the first half to send the Redskins and Vikings into the locker room tied at 10-apiece.

The second quarter opened with Adrian Peterson’s 1-yard touchdown run,which gave the Vikings a 10-0 lead. But the Redskins responded with an eight-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by Rex Grossman’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Donte Stallworth, who spun his way into the end zone for Washington’s first score.

Minnesota threatened on its next drive and got as far as the Redskins’ 26-yard line. But Ryan Longwell missed a 49-yard field goal attempt.

The Redskins and Gano tied the game on their final possession of the

half. Rookie Evan Royster led the Redskins with 48 rushing yards on nine carries in the first half. The only two Redskins who had more than one reception were fullback Darrel Young, who had 33 yards on two catches, and Stallworth, who had 24 yards on a pair of receptions.

Grossman finished the half 9 of 16 passing for 118 yards and a touchdown. He also ws sacked twice and fumbled once.

Second quarter scoring summary:

14:56 — Adrian Peterson 1 yard TD run (Ryan Longwell extra point is GOOD)

10:46 — Donte’ Stallworth 5 yard TD pass from Rex Grossman

1:02 — Graham Gano kicks a 26 yard field goal

First quarter:

The first quarter ended with the Washington Redskins down 3-0. One play into the second, Minnesota extended its lead to 10.

The Vikings got on the board first thanks to Rex Grossman’s 23rd turnover of the season. After trading punts on the first two possessions of the game, Washington had the ball at its own 28-yard line following back-to-back runs by Evan Royster.

Grossman dropped back to pass, but Vikings defensive end Brian Robison stripped him of the ball on a blitz and recovered it at the Washington 20.

The Vikings managed to pick up only two yards thanks largely to Ryan Kerrigan, who tackled Adrian Peterson for a 2-yard loss, and fellow linebacker Perry Riley, who on third down drilled Peterson to prevent him from making a catch in the flat. Ryan Longwell made a 36-yard punt to put his team up 3-0 with 7:11 left in the quarter.

The Redskins went three-and-out on the next possession, and the Vikings marched downfield and into scoring position thanks to two crucial penalties by Washington.

The Redskins stopped Minnesota on third down, but on fourth-and-4 and with the Vikings getting ready to punt, Mike Sellers lined up in the neutral zone, giving the Vikings a first down. Two plays later, Christian Ponder scrambled while under pressure and went into a slide, but Reed Doughty hit the quarterback, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty. That put the ball on the Washington 14-yard line, and the quarter ended with Minnesota on the 1-yard line.

On the first play of the second quarter, Adrian Peterson scored from a yard out.

By and  |  01:33 PM ET, 12/24/2011

 
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