The Minnesota Vikings confidently strolled into Lincoln Financial Field on Monday to take on the Eagles. However, their previously earned boasting had diminished considerably when they left hours later.
An offense that sliced and dice the Green Bay Packers after pretty much anything they wanted eight days earlier never got off the ground in Philly, as the Vikings managed just one touchdown compared to three interceptions.
Two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who authored arguably the most spectacular first-week statistic in the entire NFL, caught just six catches for 48 yards against the Eagles. He spoke about his personal disappointment as well as that of the team after the 24-7 loss.
“The most frustrating thing is just losing,” Jefferson said. “I mean, of course we [wanted] to get into this game and just dominate, especially after last week’s performance. But we definitely had a lot of opportunities to hit the ball and make things happen.”
Quarterback Kirk Cousins’ struggles in the spotlight continued in Philly as his record in Monday Night Football games after a loss that saw him post a 51.1 rating and a miserable 17.5 QBR ESPN fell to a miserable 2-10 mark.
Cousins was just 27 of 46 passes for 221 yards and three interceptions against the Eagles, each more confusing and frustrating than the last. However, Jefferson stepped up and claimed responsibility for the first turnover of the night. The play came in the end zone during the opening drive of the second half on a Cousins pass destined for the All Pro wide receiver.
“It’s honestly my fault. I’ll take that,” Jefferson said. “I need to be flatter if [Darius] Slay will sit on this type of route. I have to come flatter and be in front [Slay] instead of chasing after him.”
Slay beat Cousins a second time about midway through the fourth quarter on another pass meant for Jefferson, though the wideout could have done little to prevent that result.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell also rushed to Cousins’ defense during his post-game press conference, shouldering some of the blame for the quarterback’s ongoing troubles Monday night.
While Jefferson and O’Connell’s efforts to share the blame and protect the franchise quarterback are admirable, Cousins was responsible for making a handful of dangerous and confusing decisions that will continue to hurt Minnesota until he settles down adjusts.
The Vikings (1-1) return to the gridiron for a home game against an apparently improved Detroit Lions (1-1) force on Sunday, September 25 at 12:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.