Another game against a winning opponent, another disappointing performance for Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Three of the Vikings’ last four games have come against teams with winning records and they have walked away 0-3 with zero strong performances from Cousins, who went 20-for-33 with 208 yards and a meaningless touchdown at the end of the team’s 21-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
The loss leaves the Vikings looking for answers on offense.
The area Cousins highlighted following Monday night’s poor showing in Seattle was his own decisions when it comes to plays breaking down.
“What I felt coming off the field is there’s always a balance — a really hard balance — to find between sitting in the pocket, going through your read, staying patient and then getting out of the pocket, giving up on the play and playing off schedule,” Cousins said. “I think that’s something I’m going to go back and watch is when do I want to quit on the play and get out and scramble and try to make something off schedule.”
Cousins was flushed out of the pocket several times but did not take off running. His only rushes came on QB sneaks.
”I think I have the athleticism to do that, I think that’s in my game, I don’t think it’s something I do a lot or enough maybe and when you have a pass rush like the Seahawks getting in there influencing the plays and coverage that was pretty sound, maybe there were some times where I could have done that,” Cousins said.
Prior to a win over the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago, head coach Mike Zimmer mentioned that he wanted Cousins to take off running more often.
Cousins’ struggles were most prevelant on third downs, where the Vikings went 2-for-10 on Monday night.
Asked how he might go about improving his success on off-schedule plays, Cousins said there is no easy answer.
“If you give up on plays too often or too early, your coaches the next day are going to be looking at you saying, ‘what are you doing? You need to trust the protection, you need to go through the read, you can’t just quit on the play we designed,’” Cousins said. “On the flip side, plays aren’t always going to be there, defenses cover stuff and protection can be loose and things happen. Finding that balance is something you work on.”
Overall the Vikings offense gained just 276 yards in the loss. Cousins said he couldn’t pinpoint one thing that would explain the team’s issues in Seattle.
”I don’t think it was any one thing,” Cousins said. “A combination of not converting third downs, Seahawks making plays, they had a great pass rush and we had to just sustain drives. We didn’t have a lot of explosive plays, again credit the Seahawks for limiting those. When you don’t have the explosive plays and you are marching methodically down the field, it was hard for us to sustain.”