- Mike Shanahan and the Redskins are going for their sixth win of the season. (Photo: Heather Farrell)
A costly block in the back, a failed defensive stand with less than two minutes left and more third-quarter woes for the Redskins' offense all combined for the makings of a 17-13 Minnesota Vikings victory at FedEx Field.
The Washington Redskins came up short once again in another game they should've won. A block in the back by rookie linebacker Perry Riley during an 77-yard Brandon Banks punt return nullified Banks' potentially game-winning touchdown. The offense failed for a fifth time in the second quarter to convert a third down. Then the defense let Brett Favre & Co. march downfield and milk the clock. The clincher was Favre scrambling 10 yards for a first down to put his team in victory formation with no timeouts left.
The Redskins fall to 5-6 and likely say good-bye to their playoff hopes.
Update 3:50 p.m. -- Definitely not the first full-time showing the rookie linebacker Perry Riley wanted.
Riley has been inactive for all but two games this season, and got the nod for a third appearance today with other linebackers playing with injuries.
Riley was in on special teams and has definitely had an impact -- negative that is -- for the Redskins.
First, his block in the pack on a Brandon Banks punt return backed Donovan McNabb & Co. up to the shadow of their goal line and on first-and-10 from the 5 yard line, Santana Moss let a pass go through his hands and off his facemask and Minnesota linebacker E.J. Henderson intercepted it. The Vikings scored a field goal to go up 17-7.
Washington still had hope, however. With just more than seven minutes left, Banks ripped off an 77-yard punt return for a touchdown . . . but Riley was called for yet another block in the back, taking the seven points -- seven points that would've put Washington up 20-17 -- off the board.
The Vikings went on to win 17-13.
Of course, Riley wasn't totally to blame, and yes, he'll be on the team. There were plenty of other breakdowns that also proved costly in this latest Redskins loss.
The defense let Toby Gerhart run over them for key gains, and the offense couldn't buy a second-half third-down conversion. Donovan McNabb underthrew Anthony Armstrong on what would've been a touchdown pass, but instead only set up a field goal. And the defense let Brett Favre roll out and run for 10 yards and a first down right after the two-minute warning.
The Redskins had their chances indeed. Instead of pulling out a win and keeping playoff chances alive, they're basically done for the year after falling to 5-6 thanks to this 17-13 loss.