Kirk Cousins had a shot at his defining moment, but it slipped away as Seahawks beat Vikings

Kirk Cousins has had a good season. Statistically, he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

That’s great, but he still isn’t going to easily shake the knocks on him. He could have on Monday night, and he came up short, again.

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We can pinpoint the specific moment that the Minnesota Vikings paid Cousins $84 million for last year. The Vikings trailed the Seattle Seahawks 34-30 after Cousins got them back in the game, with the ball at their own 16-yard line with 3:27 to go. This isn’t a moment in which Cousins has thrived. ESPN’s announcers pointed out that Cousins was 0-7 on “Monday Night Football.” He’s not known for his comeback wins or shining in primetime.

And Cousins couldn’t get it done. Again. He threw a pass that was tipped on third down and one that was wide and incomplete on fourth down, and the Seahawks ran out most of the clock and got a field goal with 21 seconds left in a 37-30 win.

With a win, the Vikings would have stayed even with the Packers in the NFC North. Cousins would have had his signature moment with the Vikings. That didn’t happen, and Cousins will hear about it from the naysayers.

Kirk Cousins played well, not well enough

Cousins helped get the Vikings back in the game, though that doesn’t count for much in the NFL. He hit Laquon Treadwell for a 58-yard touchdown, then Kyle Rudolph made a ridiculous one-handed catch in the end zone for a score. The Vikings had a huge missed extra point, but were at least back in the game at 34-30.

After a stop, the Vikings got the ball back. Cousins immediately threw for a first down, and then Minnesota faced a third-and-3. His next pass was tipped at the line. On fourth down, Cousins locked in on rookie tight end Irv Smith, who was covered closely. Cousins threw it too wide and incomplete. With 2:27 left, the Seahawks took over.

The Seahawks did enough to win, which they usually do. They came up with the big plays they needed to get a victory and improve to 10-2. Winning and clutch plays are in their DNA, thanks in large part to franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. In the end, that’s what separates Wilson and Cousins.

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Kirk Cousins through his career
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings takes a snap during the pregame warm ups against the Oakland Raiders at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 22, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Minnesota Vikings defeated the Oakland Raiders 34-14. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 08: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on after the game against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 8, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Falcons 28-12. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - SEPTEMBER 29: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up prior to a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 29, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - SEPTEMBER 15: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 15, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 29: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the football in game action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings on September 29, 2019 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 29: Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks on after a play in game action during a game between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings on September 29, 2019 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins warms up before a game against the New York Giants at FedExField on November 23, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 12: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans talks to coaches on the sideline against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Spartan Stadium on September 12, 2009 in East Lansing, Michigan. The Chippewas defeated the Spartans 29-27. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING, MI - SEPTEMBER 05: Quarterback Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans warms up prior to the start of the game against the Montana State Bobcats on September 5, 2009 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
EAST LANSING,MI - CIRCA 2011: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans poses for a portrait in 2011 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Michigan State Spartans/Collegiate Images/Getty Images)
12 JAN 2012: Education Session entitled Students First: Giving Student-Athletes the College Experience They Deserve held at the JW Marriott and Indianapolis Convention Center in Indianapolis, IN. Joshua Duplechian/NCAA Photos via Getty Images.Pictured: Kirk Cousins
ASHBURN, VA - MAY 06: Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass during the Washington Redskins rookie minicamp on May 6, 2012 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
ASHBURN, VA - MAY 06: Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins speaks to members of the media after a practice during the Washington Redskins rookie minicamp on May 6, 2012 in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 26: Quarterback Kirk Cousins of Michigan State looks on during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 26, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 07: Quarterbacks Robert Griffin III #10 (L) and Kirk Cousins #12 of the Washington Redskins take the field before playing the Atlanta Falcons at FedExField on October 7, 2012 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dec 15, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (12) throws a pass in the first half against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 14, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs off the filed after the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 41-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 21, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks for a receiver against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after a touchdown by Redskins running back Matt Jones (31) against the St. Louis Rams in the fourth quarter at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 10, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the first half in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 11, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the sidelines against the Atlanta Falcons in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Redskins 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) joins his teammates and members of the United States Armed Forces in holding a giant american flag during the national anthem prior to the Redskins' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 16, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates with fans after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) stands in the pocket in the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
September 17, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws as offensive tackle Trent Williams (71) blocks Los Angeles Rams inside linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) during the first half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 2, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) locks arms with teammates during the national anthem before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 5, 2017; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) celebrates after a touchdown in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during an NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Seahawks rallied back

The Vikings even got a weird gift in the first half. Wilson had a pass batted back at him, and he wanted to knock it down. Instead he hit it forward and it landed right in the hands of Vikings safety Anthony Harris. Harris caught it on the run and returned it 41 yards for a touchdown. That put the Vikings ahead 14-7.

Seattle came back. The Seahawks scored 24 unanswered points to start the second half. Losing all-everything running back Dalvin Cook changed what the Vikings wanted to do on offense. And still, they rallied, thanks to Cousins making fourth-quarter plays. He just couldn’t make enough plays to win, and that’s what will be remembered.

The Vikings could have used a win. They’re 8-4, but a game behind the Packers in the NFC North and trailing in the first two tiebreakers to Green Bay.

Cousins will have other chances for his big clutch moment. They play the Packers in Week 16. They’re very likely going to the playoffs, as a division champ or wild-card team. And Cousins will need a big moment in one of those games to change a longstanding perception

 

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