Vikings QB Kirk Cousins is Candid about 1 Blunder versus Eagles

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) fumbles the ball against Philadelphia Eagles safety Terrell Edmunds (26) during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins didn’t avoid responsibility after his team’s 34-28 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, September 14.

“I’m gonna be hard on myself, right. I’m going to say, ‘Look, that ball shouldn’t have stopped him,'” Cousins told reporters regarding a blown touchdown play.

Cousins had star wide receiver Justin Jefferson set up for a touchdown along the sideline during the second quarter; Jefferson fumbled it and the ball went back to the Eagles. It cost the Vikings in the end, and Cousins elaborated on his responsibility for the play where Jefferson had to reach for the end zone before ultimately fumbling.

“You know, the ball stops him, so he has to go up and get it and then has to pull through. What if I threw a perfect ball? What if it had dropped right in the bucket? Maybe he runs in untouched,” Cousins continued. “So again, going back to, we don’t even have to have that moment if I can throw a perfect pass and drop it in the bucket to him.”

Jefferson, meanwhile, put the fumble on himself. The three-time Pro Bowler only had two career fumbles going into his fourth season.

“I’m putting it a lot on myself. Fumbling in the end zone like that when we need points […] I’m putting a lot of blame on myself. Of course, being the captain of the team, I have to know the situation and take care of the ball. I was telling my teammates that was on me and it won’t happen again,” Jefferson told reporters.

Justin Jefferson’s Fumble May Have Been the Difference

It could sting for a while, depending on how the rest of the season plays out. Minnesota trailed 10-7 at that point, and the Eagles hit the gas afterward to grab a 27-7 lead with roughly 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Vikings needed a furious comeback to make it a 1-score game twice in the fourth quarter. Cousins threw 3 TD passes of 62, 10, and 5 yards to three different receivers in the second half.

Minnesota’s defense couldn’t make one more stop, and the special teams couldn’t snag the onside kick. However, the Vikings may not have needed any of it had Jefferson cleared the goal line for a TD or avoided the fumble.

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) during warmups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

“A tough, tough loss. Solid opponent, shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers,” Cousins said. “Similar story now the first two weeks in that case […] It’s difficult to win in this league when you lose the turnover battle by one, let alone by the margin we’ve lost it by.”

Minnesota committed 4 turnovers against the Eagles and 3 the week before against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It won’t get easier for the Vikings in Week 3 against a Los Angeles Chargers team (0-1) that produced 2 takeaways against a high-octane Miami Dolphins offense (1-0) in Week 1.

Kirk Cousins Saw a Few Positives

Despite the grimness of the turnover problems, Cousins saw some positives offensively. He threw for 364 yards and 4 TDs on 31/44 passing against an elite pass rush, which brought his total to 708 yards and 6 TDs versus 1 INT for the season.

“I think guys did a good job of winning in their man coverage matchups, their match coverages,” Cousins said. “[Head coach] Kevin [O’Connell] and the staff did a good job of getting number one, number two open so I wasn’t having to sit in there too long. It’s just a combination, the o-line did a good job mixing up the snap count and trying to stay disciplined there, there are a lot of moving parts when you are going on the road. Outside of the turnovers I felt like we did a lot of good things.”