After tight end T.J. Hockenson hauled in a nine-yard pass on 4th-and-5, Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings were set up with a 1st-and-Goal situation from the Los Angeles Chargers six-yard line with 41 seconds left in Sunday's Week 3 matchup between these two 0-2 teams.
With no timeouts to use, most expected the Vikings to spike the ball on first down to stop the clock and conserve as much time as they could. But Minnesota didn't do that. Instead, they drained the clock all the way down until there were 12 seconds remaining, and then Cousins proceeded to throw a game-ending interception.
After the game, Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell did his best to take the blame for the poor clock management and stated, "that one was purely on me, trying to be too aggressive in that moment. Definitely looking back on it, just wish I would have clocked it."
Despite throwing for 367 yards, three touchdowns, and only one interception, Cousins isn't free of blame for how the final sequence played out either, and he revealed this after the game when he was asked if he had the authority to clock the football or not.
"I mean, I could do anything I want. I can do the quarterback sneak. I can do whatever I want, but at the same time, you also have to deal with the consequences. Against Buffalo last year, I snuck it on my own and didn't get in, so until you know the future, it's hard to know whether to take the reins or not, but I've done it before."
So Cousins revealed that, if he wanted to, he could have spiked the ball after Hockenson's catch that resulted in a 1st-and-Goal for the Vikings.
As a Minnesota fan, it's impossible to read or hear those comments and not be infuriated. Cousins has been in the NFL since 2012 and he is still waiting for his head coach's approval to make important decisions because he might screw up like he did in a game against the Buffalo Bills last season that the Vikings went on to win.
The other part of this that is just another glaring sign that Minnesota needs to move on from Cousins sooner than later is where he says that "it's hard to know whether to take the reins or not."
How is it hard? Cousins is 35-years-old. This is his 12th season in the league. If he doesn't know when to take the reins and put a team on his back by now, then he's never going to.
Statistically, Cousins has been having an impressive 2023 season. But other than that, he's the same quarterback he's always been. The guy who has failed to come up big when his teams have needed him the most.
It's time for the Vikings to move on.