LANDOVER, Md. (AP) – Kirk Cousins threw for two touchdowns, Preston Smith had two sacks and a game-altering interception, and the Washington Redskins beat the Minnesota Vikings 26-20 on Sunday for their first victory in almost a month.
Washington (5-3-1) got all of its second-half points off the foot of Dustin Hopkins, who hit four field goals, including a 50-yarder. The Redskins shut out Minnesota (5-4) in the second half, and Smith sacked Sam Bradford in the final seconds to hand the Vikings their fourth consecutive loss.
Cousins was 22 of 33 for 262 yards with touchdown passes to Vernon Davis and Jamison Crowder. Robert Kelley ran for 97 yards, helping Washington bounce back from a rough 6-minute stretch.
Bradford was 31 of 39 for 307 yards, two touchdowns and the interception that Smith tipped and caught with 5:44 left. Stefon Diggs had 13 catches for 164 yards.
After zero targets in the first quarter, Diggs had six catches for 102 yards in the second quarter alone. The Maryland product burned rookie cornerback Kendall Fuller – a former teammate at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland – on a 26-yard gain .
Even with former No. 1 running back Matt Jones demoted and made inactive in part because of fumbles, the Redskins’ butterfingers continued. Change-of-pace back Chris Thompson fumbled at his own 32-yard line with a minute left in the second quarter, setting up the Vikings’ third touchdown.
With 5 seconds left before halftime, the Vikings opted to run a play from the Washington 3 instead of kicking a field goal. The gamble worked, with Bradford connecting with Adam Thielen on a touchdown pass that put Minnesota ahead.
WALSH MISSES AGAIN
After Thielen’s touchdown, Blair Walsh shanked his extra-point attempt wide right. Walsh, who kept his job after Minnesota brought in six free-agent kickers for workouts, fell to 15 of 19 on the season (79 percent) on extra points.
Minnesota was without rookie receiver Laquon Treadwell (hamstring) and cornerback captain Munnerlyn (ankle), while Washington didn’t have receiver DeSean Jackson (shoulder), left tackle Trent Williams (suspension) and Jones (healthy). During the game, the Vikings lost left tackle Jake Long with a left leg injury, linebacker Eric Kendricks with a hip injury and cornerback Xavier Rhodes, who was evaluated for a concussion.