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Washington Redskins defeat Minnesota Vikings, 26-20

The burgundy and gold win at home, picking up a valuable NFC win to stay within striking distance of the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

14 unanswered points for the Redskins.  20 unanswered points for the Vikings.  Two field goals for the Redskins.  A 26-20 lead with just over two and a half minutes on the clock.  Could Washington hold on?

They could

The Redskins looked strong to open the game.  Kirk Cousins teamed up with Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder to open up a 14 point lead against the Minnesota Vikings, and the first drive, especially, was a thing of beauty.  On that drive, the team found a perfect balance between pass and run plays, and they involved five different offensive weapons in the attack: Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed, Robert Kelley, Jamison Crowder, and Chris Thompson.

The Vikings responded, however, with three touchdowns (and one missed extra point), all in the second quarter.  In that span of time, the Redskins were forced into punting the ball twice, and Thompson fumbled the ball when the Redskins had a chance to put points on the board before the first half.

After a chance to regroup at the half, Cousins and company managed to win the time of possession battle in the second half and give their defense a little bit of a break.  They couldn't manage to find their way back into the end zone, though, and the defense was left to make the biggest stand on the final drive after Washington had to settle for a field goal with 2:31 left in the game.

The Vikings hot streak in the second quarter may have left fans on edge about the defense's ability to hold the line, but Preston Smith led the defense in making a confident stand to win the game.  Trent Murphy drew first blood with a sack on 1st and 10 with 0:40 remaining, costing Minnesota, with no timeouts, precious time on the clock.  Smith, who had an sack and fourth quarter interception, brought the game to a close with his second sack of the game, taking Sam Bradford to the ground.

Washington's win today, while it wasn't an outstanding show of consistent dominance, should give them team some confidence coming out of last week's bye as they look ahead to facing the Green Bay Packers in prime time next Sunday night.

By the numbers: Cousins (22/33, 262 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT), Kelley (22 carries, 97 yards), Garcon (6 receptions, 81 yards), Davis (3 receptions, 66 yards, 1 TD), Crowder (4 receptions, 37 yards, 1 TD), Mason Foster (9 tackles, 6 solo),  Smith (4 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 INT), Murphy (3 tackles, 1 sack), Dustin Hopkins (4/4 FG, 2/2 XP)