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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)

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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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