DETROIT — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins credited the Detroit Lions for playing a ton of different covers and being a “good football team” after losing 34-23 at Ford Field in the week 14.
And it’s not like Cousins had a bad day, either. The former Michigan State star completed 31 of 41 passes for 425 yards and two touchdowns. The cousins also managed to clinch with stud spreader Justin Jefferson to the tune of 11 catches for a franchise-record 223 receiving yards. But that wasn’t enough, and Cousins gave the Burning Lions some love before they left.
“Yeah, I think they definitely have loads of coverage they can play,” Cousins said. “They can pressure, eat your halfback or throw you hot. They can drop eight and have you play cover, try to double up Justin (Jefferson), or play a lot of safeties. It’s a bit of everything. I think they sometimes played as a man, they sometimes doubled Justin as a man, they played two-deep zone, they pressed, tried to eat the back, so there was a variety of looks. So we just kind of had to deal with it while playing.
“Yeah, well, they’ve really had it all year – they’re playing tough and they’re tough. I think they were sharp against us in Week 3, but they certainly were today as well. That’s a good football team, and in this league, it’s every week, they’re really good.
Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell said he thought Cousins was playing the type of game where he was “trying to lead our football team to victory”. But O’Connell pointed to Minnesota’s struggles to manage the ball, not to mention the need to stay aggressive on fourth down against a team like the Lions.
The Lions held Dalvin Cook to just 23 yards on 15 rush attempts. Cook scored, losing the fumble, so it was a rollercoaster day for the star running back.
“I have to give the Lions credit,” O’Connell said. “They played a really solid game of football. I thought our guys put up a fight, but we just didn’t do enough today to win the game. Play complementary football. When I look at it there were some positive performances from some individual players and some things that gave us a chance to be in the football game but overall not enough in the running game offensively and a number pretty critical businessman in red stockings trying to attempt a play right there.
See below for more information inside the locker room:
Lions HC Dan Campbell if he can dispute the statement that Jared Goff is playing his best football: “No. No, I can’t argue with that. I mean, he is. He’s playing exceptionally well and he’s a direct link to why we’re playing better. He’s playing really good football and he’s deals with football. He makes big throws, man. He’s been very accurate and fair – man, there’s a lot of faith in him. Great faith in him and he has great faith in us. And so, man, I was thinking he had another hell of a day. He stepped in there and I’ll tell you what, he’s cool, he’s calm, he’s calm, he makes those throws. And the O line blocks well. They protect him damn, so I don’t disagree. That was good to see, man.
Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell on Dalvin Cook’s fumble via sloppy prank play: “Yeah, we had some inside penetration on the play and Dalvin was actually going to try to throw that ball to Johnny Mundt and he was open in the back. We just wanted to make sure that number one, there was no penetration there and you know, ultimately trying to be aggressive at that point, goal line defense in there , not many runs from the three yard line and we had to play the setup, just didn’t run and the ball went the other way. It was a critical, critical mistake, we need to go back and look at it. I will always rely on our guys to make this play and perform at this time. But ultimately, a huge game within the game.”
Lions QB Jared Goff throws it to Penei Sewell with the game on the line: “I think that was kind of the perfect scenario for it. We wanted to run these plays a bit close to the goal line for touchdowns, but the scenario came up that’s going to be similar where they’re going to load the box, and hey, it’s wide open. It was pretty good.
Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on Justin Jefferson’s game: “We felt in Week 3 (Game 1 against the Lions) – I think there were eight pass interference, hold-type calls. There were eight. We felt the league recognized there were probably a few others as well, which can still impact things. They didn’t have that many, but it all works together. You have to have great game design, you have to have great protection, you have to be able to throw and you have to have the other guys doing their part to threaten the defense, and then Justin has to be special. And when it all falls into place, that’s when you see him doing what he’s doing. Several times today it happened, then we left a few there.
Lions LT Taylor Decker on feeling they can beat anyone: “Absolutely, because we go up there and we try to play our game. We’re going to go out there and do what we do. I mean, I said that just as an offensive lineman coming into the D-ends. Like, I’m gonna go out there and do what I do. I think as a team, that’s what we do. We just play our game and play with confidence. It was close early and there were body shots back and forth. In the end, we were kind of able to play whatever game we wanted.
Goff on offense with Jameson Williams and DJ Chark stretching the field: “Yeah, it completely changes our offense and the whole way we do things, and the whole thought process when you have two guys like that are legitimate, vertical home run threats. And we got to show them both today. It’s a lot of fun as a quarterback when you have guys who are healthy at receiver, and you have guys who are explosive like that and can make those splatter plays. It’s really a lot of fun.
Lions DL Aidan Hutchinson on the crowd at Ford Field: “Detroit feels it, they feel we’re moving forward right now. We’re going to push this playoff to the end and do everything we can to get into it. It takes more than one game at a time. Detroit can feel it.
Goff on his recent hot stretch: “Yeah, a lot of things. We play well as a team, sure, but I think offensively we’ve settled very firmly into our identity over the last five or six weeks of who we are, what we want to do. , how we want to do things, and every time you know what you are and you go into a game really knowing the plan and really knowing how you want to attack them as a whole 11 in attack, not just the coaches , that can change things a lot, and that has for us offensively, and I’m just a piece of that.