MINNEAPOLIS -- Be it insult, injury or even the death of one of their own, the Washington Redskins have faced just about every hardship imaginable this season.
Yet after an inspired 32-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night, here they stand -- on the cusp of the playoffs. And Clinton Portis knows why.
"Once we got our angel up situated in heaven, it gave us all the strength in the world," Portis said. "It let guys go out and play and have fun."
Playing the kind of hard-nosed, harder-hitting defense that fallen teammate Sean Taylor was famous for, the Redskins shut down Adrian Peterson and set up two early touchdowns with interceptions to take control of their playoff fate with their third win in a row.
Todd Collins was 22-for-29 for 254 yards and two touchdowns and Portis had 124 total yards, threw a TD pass and ran for another score for the Redskins (8-7), who can clinch the final NFC playoff spot with a win over Dallas next week.
Peterson had nowhere to go all night, gaining just 27 yards on nine carries. Tarvaris Jackson's rebound from a disastrous start came too little, too late for the Vikings (8-7), who could have clinched a playoff berth with a win.
With homefield advantage already locked up, the Cowboys could rest many of their key players, and a Redskins playoff berth would give Webster a new definition for resilience.
"You figure all that would take the life out of most teams," Redskins coach Joe Gibbs said. "I don't know if you can put it into words. It's been a real long journey."
The next stop on the journey is at home against the archrival Cowboys, where the Redskins hope to continue to ride an unrelenting defense and the steady play of Collins right into the postseason.
"The stage is set," cornerback Fred Smoot said. "We just have to go win that game."