The Vikings get a Thanksgiving Day win against the New England Patriots 33-26 this Thursday. Coming into the game, all eyes were on Kirk Cousins, as the Vikings QB is infamous for playing terribly in primetime games throughout his career.
Despite his history in primetime, Kirk Cousins went OFF against this very talented Patriots defense, not to mention their secondary. Cousins went 30-37 for 299 yards, 3 touchdowns, and posted a 116.1 passer rating, his second highest passer rating this year (Week 1 – 118.9).
Cousins threw an early interception to Jonathan Jones, but after that hiccup, the QB went back to work, and delivered.
The Offensive Line looked much improved this week, which added onto Cousins’ success in the pocket. The OL only allowed 1 sack and 4 QB hits this week, and held up well against the current NFL leader in sacks Matthew Judon.
Cousins’ success couldn’t have been complete without his receiving core. Cousins was able to spread the ball out a lot throughout the game, and his favorite target was yet again Justin Jefferson. Jefferson was working against Jonathan Jones in one of the most physical matchups we’ve seen this season. Jefferson caught 9 receptions for 139 yards and 1 touchdown, and two of those catches as we saw were absolutely spectacular, further solidifying Jefferson as one of the best in the game.
Adam Thielen and TJ Hockenson got in on the action, Thielen collecting 9 receptions for 61 yards a 1 touchdown and Hockenson reeling in 5 receptions for 43 yards and his first touchdown in a Vikings jersey. Backup tight end Johnny Mundt caught 2 receptions for 20 yards, and Jalen Reagor caught a vital first down pass for 25 yards as his only reception in this game.
To quote Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell in his post-game speech to the team, “Last time I checked, that game started at 7:25, that makes it a primetime football game. Your quarterback went 30 of 37 for 299 and a touchdown.” Coach O’Connell proceeds to hand Kirk Cousins a game ball for his performance on the field during Thursday night’s game.
Kirk Cousins not being able to show up in primetime games has become a meme throughout the NFL and NFL community and with Thursday night’s performance and more to hopefully come, that stigma will work itself away.