GREEN BAY — Usually Kirk Cousins looks straight forward and makes eye contact during his post-game press conferences. On Sunday, he paused at times and repeatedly looked down at the lectern and shook his head as he explained the mistakes that cost the Minnesota Vikings a win at Lambeau Field.
“I like the way our team fought, we were right there at the end as a result of the way our team kept playing,” Cousins said. “Frustrating game. Walking away I didn’t feel like I did my part. I didn’t feel like I gave our team the chance that it needed from my role and that’s very, very frustrating, very disappointing. I’ll stand up here and take ownership for that. A lot of plays that did not get made out there.”
With 5:10 remaining in the fourth quarter with his team down 21-16 to the Green Bay Packers, Cousins rolled out and threw into double coverage toward Stefon Diggs in the back of the end zone. Cornerback Kevin King came down with the ball and the Vikings walked away with a loss.
“We talked about it all week, you just can’t do that,” Cousins said. “It’s uncharacteristic of me. Can’t do it. What I was thinking is to try to give [Stefon Diggs] a chance and kind of an ours-or-nobody’s thing but it wasn’t nobody’s. He went and made a play and you just can’t do that.”
Adding to the puzzling decision was the fact that the Vikings had run for 47 yards on seven carries on that potential go-ahead drive and rookie Alexander Mattison scampered 14 yards to set the Vikings up at the Green Bay 8-yard line.
“Certainly you say that on the sideline afterwards, everybody said, ‘we should have run it,’ but I shouldn’t put our coordinator in that position, I should throw the ball away and move to the next down,” Cousins said.
The interception was just the most notable miscue in a game wrought with mistakes from the Vikings’ quarterback. Down 21-7 in the second quarter, he attempted to force a ball into coverage and safety Darnell Savage tipped it to Preston Smith for an interception.
“I can’t throw that one in there, too much traffic,” Cousins said.
He also fumbled twice, once on a first down run and then on a sack by defensive tackle Kenny Clark. The second fumble allowed the Packers to go up by three scores early. Cousins explained that he needed to hold the ball tighter to his body when the pocket was collapsing.
The Vikings came back in the game in part because of a 45-yard touchdown pass to Diggs and 75-yard touchdown run by Dalvin Cook. In total Minnesota ran for 198 yards on 27 carries in the loss.
“We are running the football well and I think you run in this league and when you do that you can win games week in and week out, I’m encouraged by how well we’ve run the football in these first two weeks and it’s something that will serve us well going forward,” Cousins said.