Here's an exclusive look from the Washington Redskins' sideline during their Week 9 game with the Minnesota Vikings.
The Washington Redskins' defense made Teddy Bridgewater look like a rookie in the first half of Sunday's game, as the Vikings quarterback was unable to get anything established – and was sacked twice – as Washington took a 10-7 lead into the locker room.
But the Vikings' first-round pick matured from there, using a mix of big running plays – a couple of his own – and timely passes in the second half, as Minnesota escaped TCF Stadium with a 29-26 win over Washington in front of its home fans.
"I thought our defense would play a lot better than that," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "No turnovers again, I don't think. Just not good enough."
In all, Bridgewater completed 26-of-42 passes for 268 yards and a touchdown. He also ran it three times for 20 yards.
"Hats off to the Vikings, first off all," Gruden said. "I want to credit Coach Zimmer. He's a damn good football coach and the Vikings for coming out here and getting a win. Teddy Bridgewater did a heck of a job."
In the first half, the Redskins (3-6) held the Vikings (4-5) to 4-of-9 (44 percent) on third downs, including momentum-killing sacks by Trent Murphy and Jason Hatcher on two of those drives.
In the second half, however, the Vikings converted four of their six tries on third down. Gruden said he wasn't initially sure if that was to blame for poor conditioning or poor execution down the stretch.
"There were some holes there that were gaping," he said. "I might've been able to rush for 48 yards in this game, but we got to find out. We got to find out if we're playing too high, not getting off blocks, if the linebackers are over-playing, over-pursuing. Like I said, there's a lot of things that can go wrong when holes are that big. There could be a safety not filling. There could be a lot of things. So we got find out who it is, what it is, and make sure we get it corrected."
The Redskins also weren't able to generate much of a pass rush in the second half, as the Vikings' max protection scheme did its job in giving the rookie Bridgewater plenty of time to throw on several key downs.
"I can't believe it. We got them in some third down and longs and the guy standing back there for 10 minutes and he throws a deep out and gets a first down," Gruden said. "Then they get in positive down and distance they run an inside zone and it's like we don't have anybody there."
Gruden called the effort "unacceptable football."
"We got to look at the film and find out what's going on if it's schematic or if they just out-physcialed us, out-worked us, out-prepared us, I don't know," he said.
The Redskins have plenty of time to figure it out. Now on their bye week, the team's next game is two weeks away at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"We just got to get off blocks better," Gruden said. "I think that's the big thing. We didn't get off blocks on the defensive line, obviously we didn't cover good enough and really, I don't know what to say positively about that game."