O'Connell takes responsibility for Cousins struggles as Vikings QB bemoans lack of balance in Week 2 loss
Kevin O'Connell accepted the blame for Kirk Cousins' three-interception performance in the Minnesota Vikings' 24-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Picked off twice by Darius Slay and once by Avonte Maddox, Cousins was sacked twice and hit a further seven times during a game in which he ended up having completed 58.7 per cent of his passes for 221 yards.
All three of his interceptions came inside the Eagles' 30-yard line and saw the Vikings miss out on the chance to score points, with the two from Slay each coming on throws to the endzone.
Despite Cousins' critical mistakes, it was head coach O'Connell who took responsibility after a game in which his quarterback came under heavy fire.
"I thought Kirk battled tonight," O'Connell said. "Put him in some tough spots, and I think our overall offensive philosophy, when we do not succeed in activating those things, it puts a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and that's where I once again put this one 100 per cent on me."
For his part, Cousins felt the Vikings falling 14 points behind in the second quarter and 24-7 down at half-time contributed to a less balanced offensive approach, which he believed was behind the disappointing display.
"I think that getting behind early we probably had to throw a little more often than we would have liked, and didn't stay as balanced as we'd like to be," he said.
"It's probably more just the nature of how the game went, and we certainly want to be balanced as best we can."
The Vikings went three-and-out on four of their five offensive series in the first half, the sole exception a drive that ended with a touchdown throw to Irv Smith Jr.
"Part of the challenge is we didn't stay on the field, we didn't run enough plays, and so those three-and-outs early aren't how we want to start," Cousins added.
"I think their defense deserves credit. They did a good job with rush and with coverage, and the combination made it tough for us."