The Minnesota Vikings found a way to stop Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, showing late resolve after a series of final-minute collapses.
Adrian Peterson ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns, and the Vikings forced Griffin into three straight incompletions from the 4-yard line to hold on for a 34-27 victory Thursday night.
After losing three games this year in the final minute, the Vikings finally pulled one out.
“There were many times during the course of that game where they could’ve gone, ‘Oh, no, here we go again,'” coach Leslie Frazier said.
Christian Ponder went 17-for-21, for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Minnesota before leaving late in the third quarter with a dislocated shoulder on his non-throwing left arm. John Carlson had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson also had a scoring reception for the Vikings (2-7).
“We just played the way we were supposed to,” Ponder said. “We executed like an NFL team is supposed to, especially a 10-6 playoff team like we were last year. We really needed that, to help out with our confidence, and now that’s our expectation for the rest of the year.”
Griffin was 24-for-37 for 281 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers for the Redskins (3-6), who led 27-14 early in the third quarter. He also ran seven times for 44 yards, but the Vikings took him down for four sacks for 39 yards in the second half, including 2 1/2 by Kevin Williams.
The Redskins committed eight penalties for 63 yards.
“You can’t do that,” Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said. “You’ve got to keep your poise. You make mistakes like that and so often it will cost you the game.”
With the Redskins out of timeouts, Griffin ran for 12 yards on fourth-and-1 at his own 49, right after the 2-minute warning. After a run to the 4, the Vikings stopped the clock. Wide receiver Greg Jennings was livid on the sideline, but Frazier defended the timeout to give the drained defense a rest and allow at least a few seconds for a comeback in case the Redskins scored.
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