Kirk Cousins continues to be not ready for prime time.
On the heels of an extraordinary season-opening showing, Cousins’ longstanding shortcoming found fruition once again in Week 2.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback threw three interceptions throughout a dismal 24-7 loss to the host Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. With the defeat, Cousins fell to 2-10 in his career on Monday night — the worst record in league history, in accordance with NFL Research.
Cousins’ final stat line saw him finish 27-of-46 for 221 yards, a 2-yard second-quarter touchdown to Irv Smith, these three picks and a 51.1 QB rating. Regardless of the trials and turnovers of Cousins, Vikings rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell shouldered the blame, citing Minnesota’s insufficient offensive balance since it attempted in vain to seek out of a 17-point halftime hole.
“I thought Kirk battled tonight,” O’Connell said. “Put him in a few tough spots, and I believe our overall offensive philosophy, whenever we do not flourish in activating those ideas, it puts plenty of strain on the quarterback, and that is where I once more put that one 100 percent on me.”
Eagles counterpart Jalen Hurts was shining as Cousins and the Vikings were stumbling in the next half, scoring three total TDs as Philadelphia built its 24-7 lead. It resulted in just five Minnesota rushing plays in the next half.
“I believe that getting behind early we probably had to throw a bit more often than we’d have liked, and didn’t stay as balanced as we want to be,” Cousins said, “and it’s really probably more just the type of the way the game went, and we certainly wish to be balanced as best we are able to.”
Cousins was terrorized by Darius Slay in the next half, because the Eagles’ cornerback blanketed Vikings standout wideout Justin Jefferson and had two picks. And even though the first-half deficit may have dictated the pass-heavy approach in the next half, the Cousins-led offense was nearly as woeful in the original 30 minutes of game time. The Vikings began the overall game with back-to-back three-and-outs and finished the initial half with two more.
“Portion of the challenge is we didn’t stick to the field, we didn’t run enough plays, therefore those three-and-outs early aren’t how exactly we desire to start,” Cousins said.
As the Vikings’ offense went from the balanced approach that produced three-and-outs to a passing frenzy that produced interceptions, the Eagles defense got after Cousins through the entire game.
Cousins was pressured on 33.3% of his dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats, and sacked twice. He was 6-of-14 for 51 yards, a TD and two interceptions under great pressure.
“I believe their defense deserves credit,” Cousins said, “they did an excellent job with rush sufficient reason for coverage, and the combination managed to get tough for all of us.”
Cousins’ three interceptions gave him 11 since 2015 on Mondays, that is probably the most in the league, per NFL Research.
Whether it had been the pressure of the bright lights or the Eagles defense, Cousins floundered in familiar fashion with all the current world watching.