Vikings defense shredded again

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Defense lets Vikings down again in 38-31 loss the Rams

Cousins passes for more than 400 yards again

September 28, 2018 - 4:11 am
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   LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kirk Cousins had his second 400-yard passing game in three weeks for the Vikings. Once again it didn't translate to a victory.

   Cousins was 36 of 50 for 422 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-31 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night. A lot of yards and nothing to show for it is becoming a familiar theme for Cousins, who threw for 425 yards in a Week 2 tie at Green Bay.

   It is the fifth time in his seven-year career he has thrown for 422 yards or more and the game has ended in a loss or tie, according to Sportradar. It happened to him twice in 2016, with a tie against Cincinnati in London and a loss at Dallas.

   Prior to Cousins' unlikely double, the only two times it had happened in the same season since 2000 was Cam Newton with Carolina in 2011 and Tennessee's Billy Volek in 2004.

   "The stats don't tell the whole story," said Cousins, who is 0-3-2 in 400-yard games. "We never were able to get a large lead and be able to run the ball to protect it. The game plan necessitated a lot of drop backs and six-man protections, which you don't want to be in against Aaron Donald."

   Cousins completed passes to nine players, with Adam Thielen (8 receptions, 135 yards) and Stephon Diggs (11 receptions, 123 yards) having big games.

   "The offense played well. I thought Kirk played good and Diggs played well," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said. "All the guys made plays tonight, so that was good."

   The Vikings scored on their first three drives and four of six in the first half, but the Rams scored touchdowns on four of their five possessions. After Dan Wile's second straight punt of the first half, Jared Goff threw his fourth touchdown pass of the first half to give the Rams a 28-17 lead with 1:26 remaining in the second quarter. That put the Vikings in a position where they were chasing scores and never caught up.

   "I don't think it does affect anything until the end of the game," Cousins said when asked if the game plan changed when they fell behind. "You stay within your stuff. Plays are designed to have answers. Flip (offensive coordinator John DeFilippo) stayed aggressive. When the game gets down at the end you have to take chances."

   Minnesota had a chance to send it into overtime when it got the ball back with 2:20 remaining. The Vikings drove to their own 48 but Cousins fumbled when he was sacked by John Franklin-Myers and Ndamukong Suh recovered it at the 44.

   On the fumble, Cousins said he was trying to find Thielen on a shallow crossing route and didn't see the pressure by Franklin-Myers.

   Cousins has thrown for a team-record 1,387 yards in the first four games, but an area where the Vikings need to focus going into a pivotal Oct. 7 game at Philadelphia will be trying to get the running game back on track. Running backs Dalvin Cook, Latavius Murray and Roc Thomas combined for just 26 yards on 13 carries against the Rams.

   Even though the Vikings are 1-2-1, they were able to be competitive against the Rams after a disappointing 27-6 loss to Buffalo last Sunday. Diggs said he hopes that carries through the rest of the season.

   "We've got to correct some things to get better in certain areas, but as far as fighting and coming together and playing as a unit, we did everything we could," Diggs said.