The Vikings came roaring back on Monday night against the Seahawks after trailing by 17 points, and after cutting the margin to four points the Vikings had the ball with plenty of time on the clock.
Facing fourth and three from their own 42, the Vikings called a play that involved a pair of “go” routes on the outside, a pair of slot outs from their tight ends on each side, and running back Alexander Mattison leaking out of the backfield. Quarterback Kirk Cousins made a quick decision, and the wrong decision, throwing to tight end Irv Smith when Mattison was wide open and in position to secure the first down.
Asked about the play by reporters on Tuesday, coach Mike Zimmer eventually said, “I’m really not concerned about that one play.” Before that, Zimmer offered this critique of Cousins’ handling of the play: “The only thing he probably could have done better was move until somebody got open. Got to make those quick decisions, and I think he played well.”
Cousins definitely got rid of the ball too quickly, throwing the ball off target to a target who was covered. And while Cousins did indeed play well, he had a chance to make a big throw with the game on the line, and he didn’t.
Until he does, he’ll continue to be haunted by concerns that he simply can’t.