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Kirk Cousins is still not ready for prime time.
On the heels of an impressive season-opening showing, Cousins’ longstanding shortcoming came to fruition once more in Week 2.
The Minnesota Vikings quarterback threw three interceptions during 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 according to NFL Research.
Cousins’ final stat line saw him finish 27 of 46 for 221 yards, a 2-yard second-quarter touchdown to Irv Smith, the aforementioned three picks and a 51.1 QB rating. Despite the trials and turnovers of Cousins, Vikings rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell shouldered the blame, citing Minnesota’s lack of offensive balance as it attempted in vain to dig out of a 17-point halftime hole.
“I thought Kirk battled tonight,” O’Connell said. “Put him in some tough spots, and I think our overall offensive philosophy, when we do not succeed in activating those things, it puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and that’s where I once again put this one 100 percent on me.”
Eagles counterpart Jalen Hurts was shining as Cousins and the Vikings were stumbling in the second half, scoring three total TDs as Philadelphia built its 24-7 lead. It led to just five Minnesota rushing plays in the second half.
“I think that getting behind early we probably had to throw a little more often than we would have liked, and didn’t stay as balanced as we’d like to be,” Cousins said, “and it’s probably more just the nature of how the game went, and we certainly want to be balanced as best we can.”
Cousins was terrorized by Darius Slay in the second half, as the Eagles’ cornerback blanketed Vikings standout wideout Justin Jefferson and had two picks. And though the first-half deficit might well have dictated the pass-heavy approach in the second half, the Cousins-led offense was nearly as woeful in the initial 30 minutes of game time. The Vikings began the game with back-to-back three-and-outs and finished the first half with two more.
“Part of the challenge is we didn’t stay on the field, we didn’t run enough plays, and so those three-and-outs early aren’t how we want to start,” Cousins said.
While the Vikings’ offense went from a balanced approach that produced three-and-outs to a passing frenzy that produced interceptions, the Eagles defense got after Cousins throughout the game.
Cousins was pressured on 33.3% of his dropbacks, per Next Gen Stats, and sacked twice. He was 6 of 14 for just 51 yards, a TD and two interceptions under pressure.
“I think their defense deserves credit,” Cousins said, “they did a good job with rush and with coverage, and the combination made it tough for us.”
Cousins’ three interceptions gave him 11 since 2015 on Mondays, which is the most in the league, per NFL Research.
Whether it was the pressure of the bright lights or the Eagles defense, Cousins floundered in familiar fashion with all the world watching.