Justin Jefferson takes blame for key third-quarter interception

USA TODAY Sports

As we learned on Sunday, in at least three different games, a 17-point lead after 30 minutes of football isn’t safe. And so the Vikings, down 24-7 through two quarters of football, had a full and fair chance to try to turn things around in Philadelphia.

Minnesota came out fast and furious in the third quarter, shifting into a no-huddle offense and moving the ball right down the field. Then came second and 10 from the Philadelphia 19. Receiver Justin Jefferson ran a post, cornerback Darius Slay squatted at the top of the route, and Jefferson didn’t try to run in front of Slay (cross the face, in football jargon) but went behind him.

Slay made the interception of the Kirk Cousins pass, killing the drive and taking much of the remaining air out of the Minnesota balloon.

ESPN’s Troy Aikman put the blame on Jefferson for not cutting in front of Slay. After the game, Jefferson took the blame.

“That’s honestly on me,” Jefferson told reporters. “I’ll take that one. I’ve got to be flatter if Slay’s going to sit on that type of route. I’ve got to come flatter and be in front of [Slay] instead of going behind him. So, that one’s on me.”

Cousins basically said the same thing, in more concise fashion.

“I was just hoping he was going to come flat there and so that was really what happened,” Cousins told reporters.

If Jefferson had finished the route by running at Slay, Jefferson could have made the catch — or possibly drawn a penatly. The outcome isn’t certain, but the chances of an interception would have been significantly diminished.

After the pick, the Eagles were able to chew more than six minutes of clock time, and a blocked field goal ended up being a non-issue after Cousins threw his second interception in Eagles territory. That one pretty much ended the game. Even though more than a quarter remained, it felt as if the Vikings wouldn’t score 17 more points if they played another full 60 minutes following that second interception.

15 responses to “Justin Jefferson takes blame for key third-quarter interception

  1. During the week Jefferson said he was Happier as a Viking and that Philly didn’t draft him. Wondering if that sentiment is still true after last nights beating?

  2. cousins had no similar excuse for the two throws from the 9 yard line with 7 minutes left after the ill fated screen pass by hurts. two blitzes and two flinches and two i don’t care who catches it just throw it up for grabs. and there were at least two or three other dropped interceptions. the same as he ever was. a stat collector without wins.

  3. When the pass is thrown to a spot in the field, chances are the QB knows where the spot on the field is supposed to be (except for Kayla Murray, Lame from Baltimore, Carson Yutz in Washington, and Jayleen Hurts from Philthy). That is how the offense is played. The players I named either are too stupid to know the playbook or use their legs to open things up because they can’t read defenses.

  4. stuvian says:
    September 20, 2022 at 7:02 am
    Cousins should have been benched
    /////////
    Knowledgeable people know the defensive game plan lost that game from the word go. Bringing in a backup QB for the Vikings would have only produced more punts, not points. Yes, Cousins was pressing. He had to, knowing the run game was garbage and the defense was even worse.

  5. This was a key moment, no doubt, but if Irv Smith makes his catch on a perfect pass from Cousins (who was under pressure) it’s 21-14 going in, and the team is jazzed in the locker room, and they come out roaring.

  6. I don’t think finishing the route would’ve drawn a penalty, the Philly DBs were draped all over the receivers and grabbing/slapping their arms all night without any calls.

  7. KnowsMoreThanYou says:

    Knowledgeable people know the defensive game plan lost that game from the word go.
    ++++++
    With all the coaching turnover you’d think the Vikings would have chosen one to employ.

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