Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers of Sunday's Victory

Tom NataliCorrespondent IOctober 16, 2012

Washington Redskins: Winners and Losers of Sunday's Victory

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    Sunday’s 38-26 victory was a must-win for the Washington Redskins. They were losers of eight straight at their home field. They go on the road for the next two games at difficult places to play (Giants and Steelers coming up). Robert Griffin recovered from his concussion, so on and so forth.

    More importantly, this victory gave the city of Washington something to cheer about—after the Washington Nationals suffered a historic collapse in the ninth inning of their postseason run.

    Now the Redskins' win over the Vikings is certainly minuscule in the grand scheme of things; however, after witnessing one of the most incredible runs in my life (his 76-yard touchdown run to be exact), Robert Griffin and his Washington Redskins reminded us why we are all fans in the first place.

    It was definitely an exciting game. Fact is, it didn’t need to be. With a lead of 31-12, the Redskins resorted to their old ways and the opposing team found a way to make it interesting.

    Either way, a win is a win. Does this put the Redskins in the playoff conversation? I wouldn’t say that considering how stacked the NFC is this year; however, it was important for the ballclub in the future to learn how to close out games effectively.

    Anyway, here are my winners and losers from the Redskins and Vikings matchup.

Winner: Trent Williams

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    Remember how I said that Trent Williams is capable of playing on a Pro Bowl level? Well he just shut out one of the league’s best pass-rushers on Sunday.

    Jared Allen was going nowhere all game, as Trent Williams arguably had his best game of his career. (Allen’s lone sack occurred when Logan Paulsen was attempting to block him)

    What’s even more impressive is that Williams isn’t even fully healthy, as lingering injuries have been an issue for the talented left tackle.

    Despite that dilemma, Trent Williams fought through it in what has been an impressive season thus far. Regardless of his suspension last year, he’s becoming one of the leaders of the clubhouse and performances like that will only add to his credibility.

Winner: Madieu Williams

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    Week by week, Madieu Williams is getting a better grasp of the defense. Again, he’s definitely not the long-term answer at free safety, but he’s been filling in admirably.

    Although the defense, and in particular the secondary has been poor, it has found a way to make another play.

    Williams got into the end zone on a play that was reminiscent of his younger days in Minnesota.

    Even though it was a poor pass from Christian Ponder, Williams capitalized on it, which has been a major issue for the Redskins for a long time.

Winner: Lorenzo Alexander

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    You don’t have a soul if you don’t root for a guy like Lorenzo Alexander. OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I couldn’t be happier for him.

    He’s the kind of player that coaches love. He wasn’t blessed with natural talent like some of his teammates, but he’s a company man. He’ll do whatever is asked of him, won’t make a single complaint and is a joy to have around the locker room.

    Alexander’s hard work paid off and he had the game of his life. With Brian Orakpo out for the season, Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson have filled in.

    Problem is, neither one of the guys have been doing a good job. So Mike Shanahan gave Alexander an opportunity, as he was used throughout the field.

    I can only imagine that his dedication and effective play will be rewarded with increased reps for next Sunday’s game against the Giants, as Alexander proved that he’s just not a special teams player.

Winner: Red-Zone Defense

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    It wasn’t pretty, but it was a bend, don’t break defense. The first quarter of the game was not enjoyable to watch. As the Vikings matriculated the ball down the field; however, the defense stepped up when needed when they were in the red zone.

    Now of course I’ll take a punt versus a field goal any day, but when you can keep an offense out of the end zone especially after moving the ball so effectively, then that’s a victory for defense.

    Those defensive stops proved to be vital to the Skins' victory.

Winner: Robert Griffin III

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    Had to save the best for last; he was incredible. I’m seriously going to run out of adjectives by the end of the season. (I hope.)

    Griffin appeared to learn from his mistake against the Falcons: knowing when to get out of bounds when needed or sliding.

    He got the ball out of the hands efficiently, made safe and accurate throws and clearly has ice in his veins.

    I don’t want to overreact, but can you think of a better run in recent Redskins history? There’s Clinton Portis’ first rushing attempt against Tampa Bay or…wow, I can’t think of anything else.

    Griffin’s 76-yard touchdown run put the game away, as Redskins fans were expecting the worst until that play. Come to think of it, is there any other quarterback in the league that can do that?

    Mike Vick maybe could have done that 10 years ago, but a play like that reminded everyone out there why the Redskins gave up so much to draft him. He’s a truly special talent.

    Now the Vikings defense helped him out, of course, with poor angles and just an overall bad defensive play, but to have the presence of mind to remain in bounds and confidence to outrun everybody is amazing.

Loser: Ryan Kerrigan

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    I’m a big supporter of Ryan Kerrigan. He’s definitely one of the best Redskins on the team. That said, his pass-rushing skills have certainly diminished with the absence of Brian Orakpo.

    I’ve noticed that he tends to over-pursue when he’s rushing and the quarterback easily moves up into the pocket to avoid him.

    He remains very productive in rush defense and has been a workhorse, but it doesn’t take Tom Brady to kill you if a professional quarterback has ample time to throw the ball.

    Kerrigan’s inconsistency is what needs to improve especially with the likes of Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger coming up next.

Loser: Josh Wilson

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    I hate to say it, but Josh Wilson is not having a good season. He’s struggled in pass coverage, been flagged for penalties and has missed numerous tackles.

    I’m not sure what it is, but quarterbacks are attacking Wilson at this point. There’s not going to be an easy solution either.

    Richard Crawford, Cedric Griffin and David Jones will not be supplanting Wilson from his starting role, and we can only hope he climbs out of this slump.

Loser: Alfred Morris

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    His least productive game in short career thus far. You have to give Minnesota credit, though; it has one of the best run defenses in the NFL.

    Morris has excelled with yards-after-contact this season, but that didn’t happen against the Vikings defense as it swarmed the rookie.

    Running off tackle has been the Redskins' bread and butter this year, and it appeared that Minnesota was ready for that as Morris didn’t have any room to make a play.

    I can’t blame Morris entirely for his 2.9 average per carry; his offensive line wasn’t doing him any favors nor was the predictable play-calling.

Loser: Pierre Garcon

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    I know he was inactive again. That said, Garcon’s tenure as a Redskin has been disappointing thus far. He was paid an astronomical amount to be RGIII’s go-to receiver, and he simply can’t see the field.

    What’s even more impressive is that Griffin is dominating opposing defenses without him.

    After watching the preseason and the first half of the Saints game, it appeared that a Griffin-to-Garcon combination was going to be a commonality. It makes me wonder how hurt Garcon really is.

    He needs to see the field and as soon as possible; I have a feeling that the Redskins could be playing in some shootouts in the near future.

Loser: The 4th Quarter

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    Take Griffin’s run out of the equation, and the Redskins play in the fourth quarter was a blueprint for a meltdown loss.

    They allowed Minnesota to quickly get back in the game on both offense and defense. From three-and-outs to Christian Ponder throwing over 300 yards.

    When the score was 31-12, it was time for the Redskins to make it a blowout. They’ve lacked that killer instinct (besides RGIII).

    That I put on the coaches. They need to make the proper adjustments when playing with a substantial lead, so far three teams have found a way to crawl back (Rams, Bucs and now Vikings).