The Minnesota Vikings lead the Washington Redskins, 24-14, at halftime on Thursday night. The running games have dominated for both teams so far. Adrian Peterson gave the Vikings a 7-3 lead with a bruising 18-yard run in the first quarter, and finished the half with 44 yards on seven carries. Not to be outdone, Alfred Morris had 17 carries for 88 yards in the half.
The extra attention paid to the run opened up the passing game. Robert Griffin III already has three touchdown passes, all on well-executed play calls. The first was a throwback screen pass to Pierre Garcon, who slipped through defenders for an 8-yard touchdown that briefly gave the Redskins a 10-7 lead. Then with five minutes left in the second quarter, Griffin pump-faked and froze linebacker Chad Greenway, allowing Jordan Reed to come open on a crossing route for an 11-yard score that put the Redskins up 17-14.
The Redskins took a 10-point lead with a 76-yard drive that took up nearly all of the final five minutes remaining in the half. Once again both Morris and Griffin were sharp. The Redskins worked early downs with Morris to give Griffin easy 3rd-and-manageables. Griffin found a wide open Logan Paulsen from the goal line with 15 seconds left in the half.
Christian Ponder entered Thursday's game with a gossamer grasp on the Vikings' quarterback job. He sailed a pass for an interception on his second pass of the game, but then proceeded to complete nine straight attempts. He hit rookie Cordarrelle Patterson for a 2-yard score in the second quarter that briefly put the Vikings up 14-10. For the half, Ponder is 10-for-13 passing for 85 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
So far, play on the field has been much crisper than we've come to expect from Thursday night affairs. The Redskins are clearly in the driver's seat for now, however, with 288 total yards of offense compared to 124 for the Vikings. Washington converted 7-of-8 third downs compared to 1-of-3 for Minnesota.