Stock Report: Late penalty ends Commanders' shot at 4th straight originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
LANDOVER, Md. -- The fans at FedEx Field deserved a better final than the 20-17 loss that Washington delivered against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The loss came from a stupid penalty that ruined the chances of a fourth straight win for the Burgundy and Gold.
The penalty was awful, the call was awful, and the final result stings.
This was a full Taylor Heinicke experience game, with some daring throws, some YOLO balls and some terrible throws sprinkled in. Washington held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and then a Heinicke INT gave the Vikings new life. He finished 15 of 28 for 149 yards with two TDs against one costly interception in the fourth quarter.
In the end, Heinicke's interception and the idiotic penalty from John Ridgeway buried the Commanders.
Minnesota wasn't particularly impressive -- though wide receiver Justin Jefferson is a beast -- but the Vikings continue their ability to win narrow contests. Washington was good at that the least few weeks but its own mistakes cost them a win and a chance to get over .500 in this one. Instead, it's a 4-5 record heading into a Monday Night Football game at the NFC East-rival Philadelphia Eagles.
Curtis Samuel - The speedster had a big day against the Vikings, catching a long touchdown pass from Heinicke just after halftime to give Washington a big spark. He also showed great burst with a first down run up the middle. He finished the game with three catches for 65 yards and that wild touchdown.
Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne - This duo dominated the line of scrimmage. Just dominated. The stats don't always pop for interior defensive linemen but man these guys are just so damn good. Payne also registered a sack and Vikings QB Kirk Cousins got beat up throughout this contest. Cousins will be hurting on that flight back home.
Danny Johnson - Few players get yanked back and forth from the practice squad to the active roster like Johnson, but he made a big play intercepting a Cousins pass just before halftime.
Tress Way - For much of this game the Washington offense was ineffective, and good defense and great punting kept things close. Tress is a baller and should be in line for his second-career Pro Bowl.
Chants - The FedEx crowd was rocking on Sunday with a good mix of Commanders and Vikings fans. There were a lot of chants in the crowd, including Heinicke, You Like That, SKOL, and Sell the Team. Fun game, fun atmosphere.
Offensive line - Heinicke was pretty consistently pressured and was sacked three times. The stats show a good run game but the game flow didn't seem to support it. Right tackle Cornelius Lucas had a tough afternoon.
3rd down offense - The Commanders struggles to sustain long drives showed up again on Sunday. The team finished an ugly 3 of 10 on 3rd down.
John Ridgeway - Absolute disaster penalty on a late field goal gave Minnesota a first down and the ability to finish off the game. Terrible penalty, terrible call and it directly led to the loss.
Clock Management - The disaster penalty wiped it out, but the Commanders bungled the late game clock management when they could have had more time. They wasted two timeouts in the third quarter and that hurt. Ended up not mattering because of the incredibly bad penalty, but still.