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Closing Statement

Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Gibbs conceded that this season was a learning experience.

Perhaps the area Gibbs struggled with most was getting the ball downfield -- his club entered the game with only three receptions of 40 yards or more. Yesterday, the Redskins exploited Minnesota's 30th-ranked passing defense, and Ramsey threw his first completion of more than 40 yards as a starter this season.


Tailback Ladell Betts, starting in place of the injured Clinton Portis, bursts through the Minnesota defense on the way to career highs of 118 yards on 26 carries. "I just tried to do my best," Betts said. (Jonathan Newton -- The Washington Post)

Game Day: Redskins 21, Vikings 18
 Redskins
One area in which the Redskins may make some changes is at the receiver position.
Coach Joe Gibbs does not expect the team to make major personnel changes in the offseason.
Notebook: Several Redskins are visiting the doctor to get some lingering injuries treated.
The Redskins end a frustrating season on a positive note, getting their second win in three games.
Thomas Boswell: As the season ends, order has been restored and hope revived.
Lackluster season has a sobering effect on fans who expected miracles from Joe Gibbs.
Relentless pressure eliminates the Vikings' deep passing game.
The Vikings turn attention to making most of playoff chance.
 Redskins
Notebook: Walt Harris gets second start at corner, may get a lot more.
Play of the Game: Patrick Ramsey hits Taylor Jacobs with a 45-yard pass four minues into the fourth quarter.
Best & Worst
Sunday's Post: The aura around Joe Gibbs has all but dissipated.

____ On Our Site ____
 Postgame Quiz
Photos
Grade the Redskins.
Talk about the game.
Sit down. Take a deep breath. There's only mere months until the NFL draft. In the meantime, try our postgame quiz.

_____ Multimedia _____
Video: Gibbs reflects on Sunday's win and what's next for Redskins.
Video: Ramsey talks about how the Redskins kept motivated.
Video: Marcus Washington says adversity brought team together.

_____ The Chat House _____
Get Michael Wilbon's take on the game at 1:15 p.m. EST Monday.
Submit questions.

_____ E-mail Newsletter _____
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_____ NFL Insider _____
Post's Mark Maske on all things NFL -- only on washingtonpost.com.


____ The Road to Jacksonville ____
 NFL Playoffs
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At a Glance
Rams at Seahawks
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. EST; ABC
Jets at Chargers
Saturday, 8 p.m. EST; ABC
Broncos at Colts
Sunday, 1 p.m. EST; CBS
Vikings at Packers
Sunday, 4:30 p.m. EST, FOX

_____  Week 17 Results _____
Sunday
Washington 21, Minnesota 18
Baltimore 30, Miami 23
Tennessee 24, Detroit 19
St. Louis 32, N.Y. Jets 29 (OT)
Cincinnati 38, Philadelphia 10
New England 21, San Fran. 7
Cleveland 22, Houston 14
Green Bay 31, Chicago 14
New Orleans 21, Carolina 18
Pittsburgh 29, Buffalo 24
Arizona 12, Tampa Bay 7
Seattle 28, Atlanta 26
Jacksonville 13, Oakland 6
San Diego 24, Kansas City 17
Denver 33, Indianapolis 14
N.Y. Giants 28, Dallas 24

Two-Minute Drill
Stars and stats from Week 17

_____ MVP Vote _____
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Peyton Manning
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Terrell Owens
Ben Roethlisberger

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The Redskins had the ball early in the fourth quarter on the Minnesota 46-yard line when Ramsey arched a pass to Taylor Jacobs, who caught it, then sidestepped a defensive back for extra yards at the end of a 45-yard reception. On Washington's next play Betts drove his head into a pile of burly bodies, barely nudging the ball into the end zone to give the Redskins a 21-10 lead.

"The offensive line played hard and I definitely didn't want to let them down," said Betts, who had 79 rushing yards in the second half. "So I just tried to do my best."

Because cornerback Fred Smoot was out of the game with an injured back, Wilds -- making only his second appearance of the year -- assumed the nickel back spot with Walt Harris starting at cornerback. But Wilds moved into the first unit for the second half, when cornerback Shawn Springs was forced out with an upset stomach. Wilds, who attended Virginia Tech, immediately took on the personality of Washington's defense despite being lined up against Moss.

"It's the team I'm playing on but it's also my personality," Wilds said. "We had a lot to fight for. We were trying to be the number one defense and trying to get things jump-started for next year."

Moss produced a third-quarter touchdown, a trademark acrobatic grab over rookie safety Sean Taylor, to cut Washington's lead to 14-10. But Moss was held to only five catches for 66 yards.

"Last night in the meeting, our guys were almost disappointed that the meeting was over," Williams said. "They've had this attitude today that they're disappointed that they are not coming in and preparing for the next opponent."


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