If We Make The Playoffs, We’ll Look at This Play as The Season’s Turning Point

K.J. Osborn
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) reaches for the goalline before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle win was huge. We were able to keep our season alive by getting to 1-2 while overcoming a foe that always plays us tough.

One of the most encouraging parts of the game rested in Kirk Cousins’ play. I’ve previously noted that he has been our best player, someone who may be putting himself in a position for another sizeable payday. What has been so encouraging is that Cousins has been marrying the impressive stats with a clutch “it-factor.” In the past, fans would scoff at statistics like his to start the 2021 season: a 73.9 completion %, 918 yards, 8 TDs, and 0 INTs. Partner that with his elite 89.1 PFF score (3rd-best in the NFL) and he certainly looks like a phenomenal QB on paper.

Football, of course, isn’t played on paper. Too often we were subjected to a Houdini-like QB performance that featured him disappearing when he saw pressure. We were left with pretty numbers and a loss. Many of us were hoping for more when we sent all that money in his direction.

Heading into Week 4, Cousins has been really pushing against this narrative. Case in point: he stepped up against Seattle, making a play that he so often failed to make in the past. Take a look:

Folks, take a moment to consider the details surrounding this play. We’re up by 10 points with 8:24 left on the clock. In other words, Seattle has an eternity to break our heart. They are crowding the offensive line, confusing the blocking assignments as they show that they’ll potentially be bringing too many bodies to block. This is precisely the kind of scenario where Cousins has struggled. It’s a 3rd and 5, so failing to make this play means Seattle gets the ball back with some momentum.

Cousins is immediately under intense pressure. As he backpedals with a Seattle defender nearing, Cousins heaves the ball in Osborn’s direction. Once again, our sophomore WR comes up clutch. We pick up the first down, allowing us to continue marching the ball down the field, draining precious time in the process. If we make the playoffs, we’ll look at that play as the turning point of the season. Here is what Cousins had to say about that play: “You see a flash of purple. You have a ballpark idea, but I think when I talk about getting reps, reps give you the ability to play on instinct.” At times, he’d only make a throw when conditions were ideal. On that critical 3rd and 5, Cousins saw a flash of purple. That was enough for him to make a potentially season-saving play.

If Cousins doesn’t make that throw, it’s very plausible Seattle puts us in a nearly insurmountable 0-3 hole. Thankfully, Cousins did make the throw. Our season is very much alive.

We face another tough test on Sunday. One could even argue that the game is harder and more important than the one against Seattle. Cousins will get another opportunity to show that he’s clutch, a QB who can truly lead us on the field. The MVP hype will only intensify if he leads us to an impressive win against Stefanski’s Browns.