With the loss, Washington fell to 5-10 on the season and clinched a third consecutive 10-loss season for only the second time in franchise history. The only other time the team reached that low point was from 1993 to 1995. The Redskins, who finish their season next week at Philadelphia, closed out the home portion of their schedule with a 2-6 record — their worst mark at FedEx Field during Daniel Snyder’s 12-season tenure as owner.
The Redskins, playing in front of a crowd announced at 68,370, wasted a career day by rookie running back Evan Royster, who gained 132 yards on 19 carries in the first start of his NFL career. Royster filled in for rookie Roy Helu, who was sidelined by injury.
Washington failed to overcome eight penalties for 64 yards and a fumble and interception by quarterback Rex Grossman as its turnover streak extended to 29 consecutive games — a league high.
Instead of struggling without quarterback Christian Ponder, who left the game three plays into the third quarter with a concussion, and star running back Adrian Peterson, who suffered a serious knee injury on the first play of the second half, Minnesota received a spark from backup quarterback Joe Webb and running back Toby Gerhart.
Webb threw for 84 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown. Gerhart rushed for 109 yards on 11 carries, leading the Vikings, who racked up 241 yards on the ground.
“When Ponder and Peterson both went out, Joe Webb came in and added a different dimension for them offensively, with the bootlegs and the quarterback keeps and the option — stuff that we knew they would run,” said inside linebacker London Fletcher, who had 17 tackles and the sack that knocked Ponder out of the game. “But I guess today we weren’t able to defend it as well as we’d like to. Gerhart, he ran hard and broke some tackles.”
With the win, Minnesota improved to 3-12 on the season and snapped a six-game losing streak.
The Vikings’ chances didn’t seem good early in the third quarter. On the first play of the third quarter, with the score tied at 10, rookie safety DeJon Gomes met Peterson in the hole and delivered a low tackle to Peterson’s left knee that left the Viking writhing on the ground in pain. The back, who had 12 carries for 38 yards and a touchdown, had to be helped back to the sideline and, a short time later, headed to the locker room on a cart. The Vikings announced late Saturday night that Peterson tore his left anterior cruciate ligament.
On the very next play, Fletcher rocked Ponder on a sack for a one-yard loss. Ponder’s head snapped backward, but he remained in the game for one more play — an incompletion to Gerhart. As his team punted the ball away, the rookie quarterback headed to the locker room, where a concussion was diagnosed.