CHICAGO — Kirk Cousins has been given three opportunities in primetime to give the Minnesota Vikings a signature win. He’s come away 0-for-3. But he will get another opportunity in short order as the Vikings play on Sunday Night Football at US Bank Stadium next week against the Green Bay Packers.
Following Sunday night’s 25-20 loss in which Cousins threw two interceptions the Vikings’ starting quarterback said they will have to bounce back quickly from a rough game that put them 1.5 games back in the NFC North.
”I think anytime you have a game like this you come back on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday with a real sense of urgency and heightened awareness to your preparation,” Cousins said following the game.
The Vikings’ quarterback finished 30-for-46 with 262 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions. One of the picks came with the Vikings down just eight points in the fourth quarter. It was returned for a touchdown by safety Eddie Jackson to give the Bears a 22-6 lead.
“I think with the coverage the ball really should have gone to Stefon in the flat,” Cousins said. “I was trying to feel the demeanor of the defensive backs and playing fast…obviously I was wrong. I thought maybe I could put it over there to Laquon.”
Cousins and the Minnesota offense were held completely off the scoreboard in the first half, falling down by 14 points. He missed an open potential touchdown throw on the second drive of the game. The drive ended on a Dalvin Cook fumble.
“We talked about red zone and getting down in that scoring zone we needed to come away with touchdowns not field goals,” Cousins said. “Unfortunately, especially in the first three quarters of the game, we kept coming away with field goals or even worse, turnovers. That certainly put us behind the 8-ball.”
Cousins was not given much help in the form of protection or a running attack. He was routinely pressured and sacked twice and Cook finished the game with nine rushes for 12 yards. Earlier this season, the Vikings were able to mitigate some of Philadelphia’s pass rush with short throws, but they could not carry over the same success in Chicago.
”I think that was something that maybe in hindsight we could have activated,” Cousins said of the screen game. “I don’t know that they were taking away or not but we also had plays that we liked or felt good about and when you don’t execute them, it makes you go back and say, ‘well, should have run something else.’”
Head coach Mike Zimmer expressed frustration at the team’s turnovers, which he has repeatedly emphasized over the past few weeks.
”Either they are not listening or they are not paying attention or they really don’t care,” Zimmer said. “We’ll have to find out which one of the three it is.”