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Thielen, Vikings keep North lead, sail past Redskins

*The Minnesota Vikings (7-2) scored 21 straight points on the road in Washington to power their way to a 38-30 win over the Redskins (4-5) and kept a two-game lead in the NFC North race. Here is what you need to know: *

  1. Teddy Bridgewater was active for the first time in 672 days. The quarterback got to watch the Case Keenum show early. Keenum dive-bombed the Redskins secondary throughout the first half, hitting Stefon Diggs for a 51-yard strike and two 38-yarders to Adam Thielen. The Vikings QB ended the half with a perfect passer rating (158.3), 13.4 yards per attempt on 14 passes and three touchdowns. Minnesota took control of the game late in the second quarter and early in the third. After Washington snagged a 17-14 lead with under five minutes left in the first half, Keenum threw three TDs on three straight possessions. The Redskins ran two plays (an INT and end-of-half-kneel) in that span. Keenum cooled off as the game wore on, tossing two interceptions that kept the Redskins in the game. He finished 21-of-29 passing for 304 yards, 10.5 yards per attempt, four touchdown passes and two picks. Keenum continues to prove he can be a serviceable quarterback when surrounded by talent.
  1. Speaking of that talent: Adam Thielen tortured the Redskins' secondary, burning them deep and with runs after the catch. The wideout earned receptions of 49, 38, 38 and 17 yards, finishing with eight receptions for 166 yards and a touchdown. The shifty receiver runs pristine routes that get him wide open wherever he lines up in the formation. His in-cut on a beautiful touchdown dart from Keenum crossed up Josh Norman. Thielen wasn't the only one to burn Norman. Diggs torched the Pro Bowler on the first drive and ran away from the corner on a big catch-and-jaunt later. With Thielen and Diggs, the top receiver duo in the NFL, consistently getting wide open, Keenum's job becomes easier.
  1. Kirk Cousins carried his team once again against a good defense and almost pulled off another comeback. The Redskins have no semblance of a running game (Rob Kelley once again got injured early), putting everything on Cousins' shoulders. The quarterback got solid protection from an offensive line that finally got healthy and diced up a good secondary. Cousins tossed 45 passes, completing 26 for 327 yards, one touchdown and one interception and tallying two rushing scores to keep the game close.

Whereas Keenum is playing with studly receivers, Cousins isn't getting similar help from his pass-catchers. With Jordan Reed out, Vernon Davis was again the go-to target as the Redskins attempted to come back (7 catches for 76 yards). Jamison Crowder had a big catch-and-run, but Josh Doctson was mostly quiet. Cousins' pick turned the tide of the game, but the loss wasn't on the quarterback, who did his best to keep the game within reach.

  1. The Vikings' defense missed Everson Griffen, who sat out with back and foot injuries. Minnesota lacked a pass rush much of the game, allowing Cousins time to take shots down the field. With Griffen, who has 10 sacks on the season, on the sideline, the Vikings didn't have a sack until the last defensive play of the game and earned just five QB hits. With games against the Rams, Lions, and Falcons on deck for the NFC North leaders, Minnesota hopes it's just a one-game absence for the All-Pro candidate pass rusher.
  1. Washington called up Maurice Harris from the practice squad on Saturday. On Sunday, the second-year undrafted receiver made a ridiculous one-handed, 36-yard TD catch on the first drive of the game. Harris' first catch of the season will be in the discussion for best of the year.
  1. The loss dropped the Redskins to 4-5, a deep hole in the NFC East, and behind the eight ball in a stiff conference with a trip to red-hot New Orleans next week.
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