You Like That?! Kirk Cousins, Vikings Win in Washington, 20-17
Kirk Cousins returned to the nation’s capital for the first time as an opponent on Sunday as the Vikings faced the Washington Commanders. As has been the story of the season for Minnesota, it certainly wasn’t the prettiest victory at times. However, when it mattered most, all facets of the team stepped up, and the Vikings win in Washington, 20-17.
Things actually got off to a fabulous start for the Vikings on the offensive side of the ball. On the opening drive, Cousins and the Vikings offense delivered a masterful drive in which the QB and Justin Jefferson connected four times for 48 yards and a touchdown.
It was Jefferson’s first touchdown reception since Week 1 against the Packers, and overall, he had seven catches for 115 yards. He now has five games of 100+ receiving yards on the season, including four in the past five games.
However, after that opening drive, Minnesota’s offense stalled out for much of the rest of the game. The Vikings either punted or turned the ball over on their following seven drives. During this time, Taylor Heinicke and the Commanders scored all 17 of their points and took a double-digit lead early in the fourth quarter.
Of course, part of this was dumb bad luck as well. Kirk Cousins tried to hit Justin Jefferson in the end zone that bounced around before being intercepted by Danny Johnson. Then, on Washington’s opening possession of the second half, Curtis Samuel got some help from a ref that blindside-blocked Cam Bynum on his 49-yard touchdown reception.
For the middle portion of this game, anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the Vikings. In 2021, they would have found a way to lose this game.
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There’s no quit in the 2022 Vikings, though, especially with recently acquired T.J. Hockenson on their side. In his first game as a Vikings, the tight end caught all nine of his targets for 70 yards. Three of these catches came on the game-winning field goal drive.
However, the Vikings could not have put this game away without help from their defense. One of the key players turned out to be rookie CB Akayleb Evans who was thrust into the lineup after Cam Dantzler was ruled out with an injury. Evans recorded a pair of TFLs and a huge pass defense in the second half.
Danielle Hunter also got in on the action, recording a pair of sacks, and Harrison Smith recorded his third interception of the game, setting the Vikings up in the red zone as they mounted their comeback.
Overall, this was another gritty win for the Vikings (7-1). They increased their lead in the NFC North yet again, and their magic number to clinch the division is down to five. They stay on the road next weekend as they head to Buffalo and take on the Bills (6-2). Meanwhile, the Washington Commanders (4-5) dip back under .500 as their three-game winning streak ends. They go on the road hoping to play spoiler to the Philadelphia Eagles (8-0) and their perfect season.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.