Kirk Cousins tries to explain mind-numbing fourth-and-8 throw in loss to Giants

Kirk Cousins had an interesting explanation for his mind-numbing decision to throw a three-yard pass on the decisive fourth-and-8 of Minnesota’s loss.

Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins has developed a reputation for failing to come through in the clutch throughout his career. That reputation was burnished today on the basis of one awful throw: a three-yard pass to T.J. Hockenson on the decisive fourth-and-8 play in Minnesota’s stunning loss to the New York Giants.

The throw was so bad that it ruined an otherwise strong day from Cousins, who completed 31-of-39 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns to keep the Vikings in the game. While the NFL’s most flawed 13-win team of all time is done, fans were certainly left wondering what Cousins was thinking on the fateful final play.

Kirk Cousins’ explanation for the fourth down pass was a bit strange

When asked after the game why he checked down to Hockenson five yards short of the marker, Cousins said it was due to his belief he would have been sacked on the play, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

While it is true that Cousins was under pressure from Giants’ defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence on the play and got hit when he threw, look at the play again.

The pressure from Lawrence comes up the middle and Cousins barely moved in the pocket once he got set. Cousins locked in on Hockenson early in the play despite having room to scramble outside the pocket and extend the play, which would have given the Vikings’ receivers time to come open down the field.

Throwing the ball short to Hockenson meant he had to shake the defender right in front of him and gain five yards before any other defenders arrived. Hockenson had been having a good day, catching nine passes for 126 yards prior to that play, but the odds of that throw extending the game for Minnesota were slim to none.

We’ll never know if the Vikings would have gone on to score the tying touchdown if they converted that fourth-and-8 play. What we do know, however, is that Cousins didn’t give his team a chance with another poor decision in a critical moment.

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