Amazingly, losing to Minnesota didn’t wipe out Washington’s chances to win the NFC East and continue on into the playoffs.
That’s right, a 3-6 team is still in the playoff hunt! If Dallas loses to New Orleans while Philadelphia loses to Green Bay—both entirely possible—they’re just two games behind the division leader.
Minnesota is not that lucky.
This is a game which was far more entertaining than people expected even if it wasn’t Oregon-Stanford.
What else did we learn Thursday night?
- Apparently running Adrian Peterson is a good thing. Who knew? Certainly not offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave before last night. Don’t get caught up in Peterson’s 3.8 yards-per-carry fool you—he ran incredibly well despite multiple defenders in the backfield and his 18-yard touchdown run in the first was just one of a ton of incredible runs Thursday night.
- Musgrave, by the way, continues to show no inclination to adjust his offense to make things easier on his quarterbacks or take advantage of the talent around him. Aside from usually limiting Peterson to 13 carries this year, Thursday night saw the continued squandering of rookie Cordarrelle Patterson’s incredible ability after the catch. While it’s likely that Patterson is still learning the playbook and improving his route running and positioning—remember he only had a single season of FBS (formerly Division 1-A) in college— he can clearly handle simple screens, outs and slants. Yet here we are, just after Week 10′s game and the offense is just as vanilla as it was in Week 1. Last year we wrote it off because of injuries to Percy Harvin and Christian Ponder struggling. This year? Those excuses shouldn’t fly.
- Over the last four games, Washington’s defense has collapsed at some point in the second half every single time. That they are 2-2 in that stretch is a testament to Robert Griffin III and the offense, the incompetence of whomever they were playing or blind luck. Someone needs to tell the defense you play four quarters at the NFL level. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett seems to be making anti-adjustments in the second half and teams are finding ways to crack what should be a solid defense.
- It’s said in every column so you’ve heard it before but Griffin needs to stop playing like he’s Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton. He doesn’t have the build to take the hits those guys do. He’s built like a sprinter—they are built like running backs. He has been running smarter but is still far too prone to taking big hits he shouldn’t.
- The Vikings have to be frustrated with Ponder’s dislocated shoulder since they still don’t know what they have in him. That said, they spent the money on Josh Freeman so expect to see him in Week 11 so they can figure out if he’s worth keeping. He’s now been in Minnesota long enough to have a grasp of the playbook. It’s not like it’s a complex offense, right Mr. Musgrave?
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at FootballGuys.com, the NFL writer at CheeseheadTV.com and an NFL Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.