The Redskins dropped their '06 regular season opener to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, losing 19-16 at FedExField before a record-setting crowd of 90,608. John Hall's 48-yard field goal attempt with 17 seconds left--which would have tied the game--was wide left.
"It's never one play that cost us a game like that," head coach Joe Gibbs said in his post-game remarks. "In a game like this, there are many things that cost you. There were costly penalties and we had a tough time getting the ball downfield."
After the Vikings took a 19-16 lead on a 31-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell late in the fourth quarter, Mark Brunell led a late drive downfield to put the Redskins in field goal range.
Brunell completed passes to Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El to get the Redskins to the Vikings' 35-yard line. Then Brunell found Randle El again on a short pass in the right flat; Randle El raced for the first-down marker, but he was forced out of bounds one yard short.
The Redskins were forced to send in Hall to tie the game. Hall had the distance on the kick, but he kicked it far left.
Brunell finished the game 17-of-28 for 163 yards and a QB rating of 76.9. Randle El led the offense in receptions with five catches for 34 yards, while Moss had three catches for a team-high 69 yards.
Clinton Portis, returning from a shoulder injury, had 39 rushing yards on 10 carries, plus a 5-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. His return inspired the offense and the capacity crowd. Ladell Betts started, but Portis saw plenty of action in the game.
"We really wanted to come out and show what we're all about this year," right tackle Jon Jansen said. "We just came up short."
The defense was led by Lemar Marshall, who logged a team-high 13 tackles, and Warrick Holdman, who had six tackles. Also, Adam Archuleta logged nine tackles and Demetric Evans recorded a sack.
To go along with Hall's critical miss, special teams struggled in kickoff and punt return coverage. Troy Williamson had a 44-yard kickoff return and Mewelde Moore had a 20-yard punt return. Both returns led to Vikings scores.
The game began in somewhat ominous fashion. On the opening kickoff, safety Pierson Prioleau injured his right leg and was carted off the field. Prioleau's status will be updated by team officials on Tuesday, but the injury appeared serious.
The Vikings struck first on their opening drive, going 80 yards on 10 plays. The key play was a 46-yard pass from quarterback Brad Johnson to wide receiver Troy Williamson, who had a step on nickel cornerback Mike Rumph.
Minnesota running back Chester Taylor capped the Vikings' drive with a 4-yard touchdown run up the middle. The extra-point attempt was muffed by Vikings holder Chris Kluwe, however, and the Vikings' lead was 6-0.
Before the Redskins' offense took the field for the first time, there was a brief time out on the field. Cleverly, Washington kept its skill position players off the field until the last minute, keeping the Vikings guessing about how they would line up. Betts took the field along with wide receivers Santana Moss, Brandon Lloyd and Antwaan Randle El.
The first play? A wide receiver lateral from Brunell to Moss, who turned up-field for a 23-yard gain.
Shaking a disappointing preseason from memory, the Redskins' offense drove downfield in impressive fashion, moving to the Vikings' 9-yard line. After Portis was stopped short three yards short of a first down, the Redskins were forced to settle for a 27-yard field goal by John Hall.
Midway through the second quarter, the Redskins took the lead on their first touchdown of the regular season. Brunell guided the offense downfield on a 7-play, 51-yard drive that included a 25-yard pass to Betts to the Vikings' 5-yard line.
On the next play, Portis raced around left end into the corner of the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown run.
With the Redskins leading 13-9 coming out of halftime, the Minnesota defense forced a quick 3-and-out. Johnson then led the Redskins on an 8-play, 56-yard drive, capped by a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marcus Robinson.
Robinson used his 6-3 frame to catch the ball in the end zone, one step ahead of the 6-foot Carlos Rogers.
The Redskins responded with a scoring drive, capped by a 22-yard field goal by Hall. On the drive, Portis had his best run of the game, a 15-yard scamper behind Randy Thomas and Jansen. Brunell found wide receiver James Thrash for a 19-yard pickup.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Redskins had two opportunities to put together a game-winning scoring drive. But the offense could not convert and the Redskins were forced to punt.
"We didn't capitalize on those opportunities and in a big game like this against a team like that, you have to take advantage of all the opportunities you have," Jansen said.
#### -- PRE-GAME COVERAGE
The Redskins host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night, Sept. 11, at FedExField, in the regular season opener for both teams. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
ESPN's Monday Night Football will televise the game to a national audience. Mike Tirico will provide the play-by-play with former Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann and Tony Kornheiser adding analysis and color commentary. Suzy Kolber and Michele Tafoya will serve as sideline reporters.
The game will be broadcast locally on Triple X ESPN Radio (94.3, 92.7 FM and 730 AM).
#### -- PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
|WR||89 Santana Moss||82 Troy Williamson|
|LT||60 Chris Samuels||74 Bryant McKinnie|
|LG||66 Derrick Dockery||76 Steve Hutchinson|
|C||61 Casey Rabach||78 Matt Birk|
|RG||77 Randy Thomas||79 Artis Hicks|
|RT||76 Jon Jansen||72 Marcus Johnson|
|TE||47 Chris Cooley||40 Jim Kleinsasser|
|WR||85 Brandon Lloyd||89 Travis Taylor|
|QB||8 Mark Brunell||14 Brad Johnson|
|FB||45 Mike Sellers||49 Tony Richardson|
|RB||26 Clinton Portis||29 Chester Taylor|
|DE||99 Andre Carter||95 Kenechi Udeze|
|DT||96 Cornelius Griffin||93 Kevin Williams|
|DT||95 Joe Salave'a||94 Pat Williams|
|DE||93 Phillip Daniels||99 Erasmus James|
|SLB||53 M. Washington||51 Ben Leber|
|MLB||98 Lemar Marshall||58 Napoleon Harris|
|WLB||57 W. Holdman||56 E.J. Henderson|
|LCB||22 Carlos Rogers||26 Antoine Winfield|
|RCB||24 Shawn Springs||27 Fred Smoot|
|SS||40 Adam Archuleta||42 Darren Sharper|
|FS||21 Sean Taylor||24 Dwight Smith|
|P||4 Derrick Frost||5 Chris Kluwe|
|K||10 John Hall||8 Ryan Longwell|
|H||4 Derrick Frost||5 Chris Kluwe|
|LS||71 Ethan Albright||46 Cullen Loeffler|
|KOR||46 Ladell Betts||30 Mewelde Moore|
|PR||83 James Thrash||30 Mewelde Moore|
|REDSKINS 2005 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|
|VIKINGS 2005 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|
-- NEWS & NOTES
The Redskins are 36-34-4 in season-opening games, while the Vikings are 25-19-1.
A Redskins' win over the Vikings would:
- Give the Redskins four consecutive season-opening victories.
- Give the Redskins five consecutive season-opening victories at FedExField.
- Give the Redskins three consecutive wins at FedExField.
- Give head coach Joe Gibbs an opening-day record of 8-7.
- Give head coach Joe Gibbs his 141st all-time win.
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