The Minnesota Vikings found a way to beat the Buffalo Bills 33-30 in overtime, but they had some mistakes early on that put them in a hole. One of those was an interception by Kirk Cousins as he misfired a pass to K.J. Osborn down the field.
The play is one that is worth looking at deeper because it’s not as simple as it appears.
The Vikings run a three-man progression on this play with Adam Thielen running an out route at the top of the screen, Justin Jefferson running a crosser from the slot and Osborn runs the backside dig.
The defense appears to be running QQH (quarters nearside, cover-2 farside) and this is a good play to beat that. The out route is the last in the progression and, while it’s open right away, it’s covered by the time Cousins would get to it.
What he does see is Osborn about to run open into an open hole in the zone. All he has to do is get by Demar Hamlin and it’s an easy pitch and catch. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
Hamlin commits illegal contact by getting himself in position to blatantly disrupt Osborn’s path. That knocks him off axis, which slows him down just enough to cause Cousins to fire off-target for the interception by Christian Benford.
Should the penalty have been thrown on Hamlin? Probably, although throughout the context of how the refs called the game, it makes sense that they didn’t. I would have called it personally but it’s just another item in the line of multiple officiating mistakes.
As much grief as Cousins gets for his decision-making, this one isn’t on him in the slightest, unlike his second interception.