Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins put up some solid stats in Sunday's NFC Wild Card Game against the New York Giants, but his final pass of the day will haunt him for quite some time.
With the Vikings' season on the line late in the fourth quarter, Cousins threw a checkdown pass on fourth down. The pass was completed to tight end T.J. Hockenson, but a defender was right next to him and stopped him well short of the first-down marker to seal a 31-24 loss for Minnesota in front of its home fans at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Cousins threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns on 31-of-39 passing, and he ran for another score. He kept his team afloat while the Vikings defense had a lackluster showing against a scrappy Giants offense. However, his decision to throw a short pass on a potential game-tying drive destroyed Minnesota's chances of continuing its postseason run.
NFL Twitter lit up Cousins for his blunder in crunch time, with many expressing a lack of surprise at the 34-year-old's misstep:
Shea Serrano @SheaSerrano
[4th and 8, final drive of the game, down by a touchdown]<br><br>KIRK COUSINS: go out three yards turn around and i'm gonna hit you right in the numbers<br><br>THE TEAM: kirk we need 8 yards though<br><br>KIRK COUSINS: *puts on a pair of sunglasses and smokes a big cigar* trust me
Throughout his NFL career, Cousins has been viewed as a serviceable starter, but he's also faced questions about his ability to be the quarterback of a championship contender.
Sunday's ending will only amplify those questions, as it will be hard for him to live down another mistake when the lights are brightest.
Cousins and the Vikings will have a lot to think about this offseason as the end of their 2022 campaign will surely leave a sour taste for a while.