Posted on January 6, 2020, by Travis Pulver
It was the kind of stage that Kirk Cousins has not fared well on over the years—a big one. Meaningful games against notable opponents had not been kind to the Minnesota Vikings quarterback.
So, when Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Saints went into overtime, Vikings fans may have been a little bit worried.
Then nine plays into overtime, Cousins hits Kyle Rudolph in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown. Just like that, with the score 26-20 in favor of the Vikings, the Saints season is over. But the Vikings are headed to the next round.
“I’m just glad Kirk can’t win big games, apparently,” Rudolph said after the game, via ESPN. “We proved that one wrong today.”
The key moment came six plays into the overtime period when Cousins launched a pass deep to Adam Thielen, who hauled it in for a 43-yard gain. With the ball on the two-yard line, New Orleans was all but guaranteed a shot at a field goal.
However, that would mean the Saints would get a chance to score as well. But a touchdown would mean the end of the game. After a pair of Dalvin Cook runs resulted in losing three yards, the Vikings decided to throw it on third down.
“I’m just happy we won,” Cousins said after the game, via ESPN. “It was a great, great game, two good football teams.”
But as frustrating as losing can be after seeing a 13-3 regular season wasted, a couple of questionable calls that favored the Vikings made it even worse. On Dalvin Cook’s third-quarter touchdown run, he appeared to get stopped inches from the goal line.
However, the officials ruled it a touchdown and then upheld the call on review. Then, during overtime, on the final play of the game, Kyle Rudolph appeared to give the defender a shove–blatant offensive pass interference.
League officials said after the game that there was contact by both players on the play. However, neither did enough to warrant a penalty flag.
Another former ref, Dean Blandino, didn’t judge either way but did chastise the NFL for making pass interference calls reviewable. He tweeted:
“Final play of Vikings-Saints game highlights biggest challenge with reviewing pass interference. If call is made on the field no way it gets reversed in replay. No call on field and it’s deemed not obvious enough to stop and change.”
Right or wrong, the call or lack thereof will only fuel the fire within the Saints for another run next season. As for the Vikings, they are moving onto the divisional round and a date with the San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are a 6.5 point favorite at DraftKings.