Adrian Peterson wore a hard expression that betrayed what he expressed verbally about the Vikings' lack of red-zone urgency during the first quarter of their 38-26 loss to the Redskins.
Three times they drove inside Washington's 20-yard line only to settle for three Blair Walsh field goals and a meager 9-0 lead the Redskins obliterated. The Vikings to that point had scored all 18 times in the red zone this season, but only six touchdowns, an annoying trend Peterson said finally caught up to them this week.
But Peterson also offered harsh criticism of his performance, which featured just 79 yards on 17 attempts. Despite playing with a sore left ankle, Peterson said his hesitancy was mental and he was visibly frustrated to leave more yards on the table.
"I don't feel like I did well. I feel like I left the offensive line out to dry," he said Sunday, Oct. 14. "Should have been more aggressive. That's what it boils down to. I can tell you it won't happen again."
After driving 70 yards on their opening drive to set up first-and-goal from Washington's 10, the Vikings stalled. Moreover, Peterson was not in the backfield on second and third downs as quarterback Christian Ponder failed to punch in a touchdown on two pass attempts from the shotgun.
"I got confidence in the guys they put out there," Peterson said when asked whether he was surprised to be on the sideline. "We all practice hard to execute on each play. Yes, I want to be out there on the field, but I'm riding with whatever we do. Unfortunately, we didn't get in but we've got to correct it."
Peterson had a potential fourth-quarter touchdown negated by a holding call, ruining a small chance at redemption in his return to FedEx Field after suffering a career-threatening knee injury last Dec. 24. He was too upset at the outcome to weigh the impact of his remarkable recovery from reconstructive surgery.
"There's a lot of plays I wish I could have back but I can't. I'm going to learn from it and make sure it doesn't happen again," he said.
Follow Brian Murphy on twitter.com/bmurphPiPress