1. Where's AD in the red zone?
The Redskins won the coin toss but deferred to the second half. Bad move. That allowed the Vikings to unleash an obviously angry Adrian Peterson onto the field where he blew out his left knee on Christmas Eve. Peterson ran the ball on three of the team's first six snaps, piling up 40 yards, including a 32-yarder and a 5-yarder on first-and-goal from the 10. And then Peterson ... disappeared? He was taken off the field for the next two plays as the drive stalled. The Vikings settled for a field goal on that possession and their next two to lead only 9-0 in a game they were dominating. "I got confidence in the guys they put out there," Peterson said. "We all practice hard to execute on every play. So, yes I want to be out there on the field. But I'm riding with whatever we do."
2. The weapon that is Walsh
Perhaps rookie kicker Blair Walsh should arrange to have food poisoning the night before every game. It sure worked in Washington, where Walsh was 4-for-4 on field goal attempts and 7-for-7 on kickoff touchbacks. The seven touchbacks set a team record, breaking the mark of five that Walsh had tied twice in his first five games this year. Walsh knocked three kickoffs into the front row behind the goal posts and hit the crossbar on a fourth kickoff. "I'd say it's the best game I've had kicking off considering it came outdoors." Walsh has 24 touchbacks this season. That's five more than Ryan Longwell had all last season. Walsh is on pace for 64 touchbacks, which would shatter the team record of 40 set by Mitch Berger in 1998, when kickoffs were from the 30-yard line, not the 35. As for the food poisoning, Walsh said he's still not sure what happened. "It was just the food at the hotel," Walsh said. "It was really basic. Chicken and vegetables. But I had a pretty rough night."
3. Think, defenders, think
The second-quarter roughing-the -passer penalty on linebacker Erin Henderson was borderline. But at some point, defenders have to understand that officials are going to rule all borderline calls in favor of the quarterback. Henderson rushed Griffin on second-and-3 from the Vikings 13-yard line. Griffin threw incomplete and Henderson gave him a little shove. The penalty gave the Redskins the ball at the Vikings 7-yard line. Three plays later, the Redskins scored a touchdown to take a 10-9 lead they would not relinquish. "I shouldn't have touched him," Henderson said. "I wasn't trying to really. I was trying to turn to see where he threw the ball. Good acting job by the kid. The refs bought it."
4. Simpson: 'I felt great today'
Receiver Jerome Simpson, one of the Vikings' game-day inactives, could have helped out in the red zone, on deep passes and, heck, even as a decoy. But coach Leslie Frazier and the team's medical staff determined that Simpson still wasn't able to push off with the lower left leg weakness and numbness that he's been experiencing. That was news to Simpson, who said he was stunned when receivers coach George Stewart told him he wasn't playing. "I felt great today," Simpson said. "I had a great pregame workout. So I don't know what happened." Said Frazier: "I just didn't feel comfortable with what I was seeing in practice [from Simpson] in a couple different areas."
5. RG 3(rd down) a conversion killer
The Redskins failed to convert a third down in the first quarter. They were 0-for-2 with a Robert Griffin III interception. Their third-down conversion struggle reached 0-for-4 start when everything changed. The Redskins converted their next five third-down situations and finished 6-for-12. Griffin completed two of four passes for only 12 yards on third down, but he used his legs when the Redskins went to their zone blocking scheme in the final three quarters. Griffin ran five times for 108 yards, three first downs and a 76-yard game-clinching touchdown on third downs.