LANDOVER, Md. — Josh Norman did not mince words when assessing how poorly he and other Washington Redskins defensive backs performed in a 38-30 loss to Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
“We played like trash in the secondary,” Norman said. “We really did.”
Right from the start, too. On Minnesota’s third offensive play, wideout Stefon Diggs got Norman to bite on an out-and-up route and wound up grabbing a 51-yard pass from Keenum that set up a touchdown.
Then, in the third quarter, Norman was beaten by Adam Thielen on a 49-yarder, a play that led to another TD .
“Just didn’t have it today. We really didn’t. We wasn’t on,” Norman said. “And I don’t know what it was. Something was going around, I guess.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden agreed with that view of things.
Gruden lamented big gains given up by Norman and the other starting cornerback, Bashaud Breeland.
He also was concerned about the lack of a pass rush: Keenum was not sacked once.
All in all, the sort of showing that allows a team that scored 30 points to figure out a way to lose and drop to 4-5 on the season.
“That was one of the worst defensive performances we’ve had since I’ve been here, in the first half. … It was whatever they wanted, basically,” Gruden said. “They had big plays. They had running plays. They had play-action. They did whatever they wanted.”
The NFC North-leading Vikings (7-2) were 8 for 12 on third downs.
And they were 5 for 5 in the red zone.
“We couldn’t get a stop on defense,” Gruden said. “They were very solid across the board. They had us guessing.”
One particular stretch really hurt Washington.
The Redskins had pulled ahead 17-14 late in the second quarter, when the Vikings put together a 21-point burst in about a five-minute section of game clock bridging halftime to go up 35-17.
That made it less harmful to Minnesota when safety D.J. Swearinger intercepted Keenum twice in the second half.
While Washington did pull within eight points with less than 1½ minutes left on rookie Nick Rose’s 55-yard field goal, the ensuing onside kick did not go as planned. Rose’s attempt traveled less than 5 yards and rolled out of bounds.
And so ended any thoughts of putting together a couple of back-to-back wins against two quality NFC opponents. Washington had been hoping to build on last week’s 17-14 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, when the Redskins played superb defense.
“We’ve got seven games left, so we’ll see what we’re going to do with them,” Norman said. “Right now, we’re back under .500. It seems like we’ve got this roller-coaster right now, where we’re up, down. We’ve just got to get over that mark. And we will do that.”
Gruden said three players would get MRI exams on Monday: CB DeAngelo Hall (knee sprain), RB Rob Kelley (ankle, knee), LB Will Compton (foot sprain). WR Ryan Grant got a concussion in the first half. The Redskins initially announced he had been cleared to return, then moments later said he was being re-evaluated.
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