Same old, same old: Kirk Cousins’ fumble proves costly for NFC in Pro Bowl loss

Kirk Cousins had some good moments playing for the NFC in the Pro Bowl on Sunday in Orlando, Fla. But the Vikings quarterback, as so often is the case, also had some bad moments and one of them proved to be extremely costly.

Cousins was 13-of-22 for 181 yards with two touchdowns but he also threw an interception and had a key fumble that was returned for a touchdown in the AFC’s 38-33 victory.

Cousins entered in the third quarter and guided a five-play drive that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to the Packers’ Davante Adams, giving the NFC a 27-24 lead. The AFC had a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter when Cousins was sacked by Jacksonville defensive end Calais Campbell on fourth-and-9 from the AFC 9-yard line. Cousins fumbled at the 18 and Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt recovered the ball and went 82 yards for a touchdown.

This comes after a season in which Cousins fumbled 10 times and lost three, giving him 19 fumbles and 10 lost in two seasons with the Vikings.

Cousins threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Adams on the NFC’s next possession to pull the NFC within five with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

NFC coach Pete Carroll then attempted to retain possession by using the alternative that was provided to the onside kick for this Pro Bowl. It gave Cousins and his team the ball at its own 25-yard line and needing to convert a fourth-and-15 in order to keep possession. Cousins threw a long pass toward the right sideline trying to connect with Kenny Golladay but Earl Thomas picked it off and got a substantial return by lateralling the ball.

The AFC ended up with it at the NFC 35.

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook also played for the NFC and rushed for 17 yards on three carries and safety Harrison Smith had a third-quarter interception. Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes, a surprise replacement selection last week, finished with four tackles for the NFC. Linebacker Eric Kendricks was second on the NFC with six tackles.