"There were many times during the course of that game where they could've gone, 'Oh, no, here we go again," coach Leslie Frazier said.
Christian Ponder went 17 for 21 for 174 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Minnesota before leaving late in the third quarter with a dislocated shoulder on his non-throwing left arm. John Carlson had seven catches for 98 yards and a touchdown and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson also had a scoring reception for the Vikings (2-7).
"We just played the way we were supposed to," Ponder said. "We executed like an NFL team is supposed to, especially a 10-6 playoff team like we were last year. We really needed that, to help out with our confidence, and now that's our expectation for the rest of the year."
With the Redskins out of timeouts, Griffin ran for 12 yards on fourth-and-1 at his own 49 right after the 2-minute warning. After a run to the 4, the Vikings stopped the clock. Wide receiver Greg Jennings was livid on the sideline, but Frazier defended the timeout to give the drained defense a rest and allow at least a few seconds for a comeback in case the Redskins scored.
"It felt like we were in control and when you walk off the field with a loss, it's very disheartening," Griffin said, "but I don't think anyone on this team is going to quit."
"That was an awesome feeling," Peterson said, adding: "Through the adversity we've been through, guys just continued to fight."
That drive started at the Washington 41, thanks to an unnecessary roughness call. Ponder scrambled and slung a third-and-12 laser to Jarius Wright for a first down at the sideline and later said Wright was so wide open he laughed as he threw the ball. Then, Ponder took off for the 14-yard run that knocked him out of the game, and an official replay reversed the touchdown call after he dived at the pylon and rolled out of bounds.
"Nothing seems to faze him," Carlson said, adding: "He showed a lot of heart."
"We can't let a team like that score that many points. It's totally on us. We were sleepwalking at times," linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
The Redskins scored on their first five possessions with broken tackle after broken tackle. They converted seven of eight third downs in the first half and held the ball for more than two-thirds of the elapsed game time.
That all changed after the break.
"You always want to be able to rush the passer with the game on the line," Williams said. "It was nice to finish it this time."
NOTES: Carlson scored for the first time since 2010. In his first 1½ seasons with the Vikings, he had a total of 19 catches for 104 yards. ... Alfred Morris ran 26 times for 139 yards for the Redskins, who outgained the Vikings 433-307 in total yards. ... Williams had his first multi-sack game for the Vikings since Oct. 18, 2009. ... Garcon had his second straight 100-yard receiving game and has 803 yards this season. Garcon, Reed and Logan Paulsen had TD catches.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press