The Minnesota Vikings have had a strange season, being involved in a one-possession game in nine of their 10 games this season, posting a 5-5 record with seven games to go.
That mediocrity despite their talent and them being on the cusp of a win in seemingly every game is incredibly frustrating for their fans, who have grown tired of poor execution and late game mistakes costing them a much better record. On Sunday, the Vikings were, once again, in a one-possession game late in San Francisco, trailing the 49ers by eight points in the fourth quarter, but marching deep into Niners territory, getting a first-and-goal from the 6.
After failing to punch it in on three plays, they went for it on 4th and goal, but had some issues with getting everyone set — including veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins. After flipping receivers to the other side of the formation, Cousins hurried to the line and tried to get under center but ended up behind the right guard, ultimately calling their second timeout while Alexander Mattison frantically tried to push him over a spot to the lineman with the football.
The generous read here would be that it might’ve been a direct snap to Mattison, but the way Mattison reacts and tries to move Cousins debunks that theory. It is pretty funny to imagine what was going through the right guard’s head on the play, as he’s getting ready for his assignment when suddenly there are some hands under him, which never happens.
On the ensuing play after Cousins’ brain fart forced them to take a timeout, he threw a pass over the head of a receiver through the end zone to give the Niners the ball back. Minnesota was able to get the ball back, eventually, after a defensive stop, but once again they had a drive end on fourth down, as Cousins airmailed another ball over the middle to Justin Jefferson on 4th down, giving them their sixth loss by one possession on the season.