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MINNESOTA 19, WASHINGTON 16

Vikings Savor Fresh Start

September 12, 2006|From the Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. — Two days before his 38th birthday, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson was the one handing out a present, giving the game ball to new head Coach Brad Childress after a 19-16 victory over the host Washington Redskins Monday night.

Ryan Longwell's 31-yard field goal with one minute left accounted for the winning margin, as the Redskins lost their chance to tie when kicker Joe Hall missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt with 12 seconds left.

"I am tremendously humbled and was a little emotional after the game," said Childress, who won his debut over Joe Gibbs, a Hall of Fame coach. "I'm just happy for those guys in the locker room.... They faced a lot of adversity tonight. It was an away game, a Monday night, Hall of Fame coach, I'm just pleased with what they accomplished."

Johnson deserved much of the credit. He completed 16 of 30 passes for 223 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass play to Marcus Robinson, and he kept bailing out his offense, completing 10 of 15 passes on third down.

"That's Brad," center Matt Birk said. "He's just so smart, and he's obviously crafty to have played in the league this long."

The loss subdued a stadium-record crowd of 90,608 that turned FedExField into a sea of red, white and blue as fans waved American flags to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Nothing helped the Redskins.

"There were some plays, yards and even some touchdowns that we left on the field," said Mark Brunell, who was 17 for 28 for 163 yards. "How far off we are I'm not quite sure yet, but I do know that we were a throw away, a block away and a run away from really doing some good things tonight."

Chester Taylor, the Vikings' free-agent signing from Baltimore, rushed 31 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, upstaging Clinton Portis' surprise return for Washington. Portis, who spent the week downplaying his chances to play because of a shoulder injury, entered the game late during the Redskins' first drive and finished with 39 yards in 10 carries and scored his team's only touchdown.

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