Alexander, Williams provide the big plays

They sat in the right spot at, well, the right time.

A ball popped into the air, and the Redskins' Lorenzo Alexander snatched it, cradling it as he was tackled at the Minnesota 6-yard line.

A pass sailed over the head of the intended target right into Madieu Williams' arms. As he got to his feet he noticed a lot of green to his right. So he headed that way and didn't stop until he scored.

In the Redskins' 38-26 win over the Vikings, the defense was a key. Despite giving up 421 total yards, it held Minnesota to four field goals in the red zone, produced two huge turnovers and sacked Christian Ponder four times. That's more sacks than the Redskins had managed in the past three games combined.

"They kept us in the game," Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III said.

But it was Alexander and Williams who made the standout plays. Alexander's came first, with the Redskins trailing 9-3 in the second quarter. Perry Riley, rushing from the left, pushed running back Adrian Peterson back. That caused the ball to pop out of Ponder's hand as he attempted to pass, and Alexander caught it, running to the 6-yard line.

Sunday represented Alexander's most snaps on defense since 2010.

"I know I can play in this league," said Alexander, who has played outside and inside linebacker the past two seasons. "I understand my role is to be a special teams demon and fill in when needed and take advantage of my opportunities."

The Redskins moved him around, taking advantage of his multidimensional skills. He could rush as a linebacker or up on the line, tapping into his days as a defensive tackle.

"It was great to finally go out there and finally contribute on defense and win," Alexander said.

Redskins coach Mike Shanahan gave him a game ball.

"He gives everything, and we're going to have to play him some more obviously," Shanahan said.

As for Williams, the points were scored against his former team.

"I was keying the quarterback," he said. "I got up and saw my teammates do a great job of blocking. I looked to the right and saw Josh [Wilson] block two people, so I took my chances going to that side. ... It's a great feeling whenever you can get a defensive score. It changes the game."