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Action-Reaction: Cousins & Vikings Lament Missed Opportunities

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kirk Cousins made some big-time throws but missed some easier ones on Sunday in Kansas City.

The NFC Offensive Player of the Month entered November and Arrowhead Stadium on the heels of one of his best months of his career.

In four Vikings victories in that span, he completed 91 of 116 passes (78.4 percent) for 1,261 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception (off a deflected ball) for a passer rating of 137.1.

Pre-game question: Could Cousins continue his torrid pace?

After having just 25 incompletions in the past month, including some that were the result of smart throwaways, Cousins had 19 incompletions on Sunday, including 12 in the first half. He threw three touchdowns but only totaled 220 yards for an average of 5.4 yards per pass.

It's worth noting that one of his favorite targets, Adam Thielen, started but quickly left the game because of a hamstring injury.

View game action images as the Vikings took on the Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.

In-game action:

Cousins opened 0-for-3 on Minnesota's first possession, throwing off the mark on attempts to an open Dalvin Cook and Thielen on the first two snaps of the game. He then took a deep shot to Laquon Treadwell, who was double covered on third-and-10.

The next drive, Cousins' first completion was a 5-yard pass to C.J. Ham, but the Vikings again punted after a run by Ameer Abdullah that was initially ruled enough for a first down was challenged and overturned.

Cousins and the Vikings offense put together a nice drive on their third opportunity, converting three third downs en route to a 4-yard touchdown pass to Bisi Johnson, but two more three-and-punts followed.

The final play on one of those drives was a 5-yard scramble when Cousins needed 6. He went feet-first in his slide because he thought he had the line to gain. The next drive ended with a sack by Chris Jones on a third-and-7.

Minnesota had one more opportunity in the first half and moved the ball to the red zone with a 9-yard run by Dalvin Cook to the Kansas City 15 with 40 seconds left on the clock. Cousins was then just 1-for-6 for 4 yards, with the only completion converting a fourth-and-1.

Thielen was targeted once on the day, and Stefon Diggs was targeted just four times, recording one catch for four yards.

Cook had four receptions for 45 yards, and rookie Irv Smith, Jr., added 33 yards on four catches. Treadwell had a career-high 58 yards on three receptions.

Minnesota turned to its backfield in the passing game in the second half. After combining for two catches for 9 yards in the first half, Cook, Ham and Abdullah totaled 89 yards on five receptions in the second half. Abdullah recorded his first touchdown as a Viking when the Chiefs left him unguarded on a 16-yard catch-and-run.

Postgame reaction:

"It was a combination of, they did a good job with coverage, trying to take certain things away, and I missed a couple throws. We had longer third downs that made it harder to really be as productive and efficient with the down. When it's third-and-9-plus, it's a little harder to feel like you're getting an efficient result from the down. Penalties hurt, Adam going out, so, there's a variety of factors that all kind of come together. And I thought the 2-minute drive at the end of the half, having to settle for a field goal was tough. I kind of knew at halftime that was a big drive, and we should have come away with 7 [points]. There were several incompletions in there where nobody was wide open, but you can look back and say, 'Man, what could I have done there to try to get 7 instead of 3?' "

— QB Kirk Cousins on why the passing game struggled

"It wasn't not wanting to take a hit. I just did not realize I hadn't gotten there yet. What I needed to do was look left, look and get a feel for it, or dive head-first. When you dive head-first, you usually can get a yard or two more just by the nature of the way you go to the ground. I was just feeling like I had climbed and had gotten enough yards but clearly didn't, so that was on me to not get enough yards. It's frustrating when you feel like you had it."

— Cousins on his slide to end his scramble on the third-and-6 play

"I think there are some plays he would rather get back. I don't think we helped him a lot today."

— Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Cousins' day

"There are definitely a bunch of plays we wished we had back, but I'm still proud of this team and the way we fought today. I wouldn't expect anything less, and I know we'll respond well."

— RB Ameer Abdullah

"We had what we wanted. We just didn't take advantage. We're a good close-out team, and today, we didn't close the game out."

— RB Dalvin Cook

"We were going up against a tough opponent. We knew it was going to be a tough game. We just came up short at the end. We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball. We just have to execute and fix the little things and find a way to get the 'W' at the end."

— FB C.J. Ham

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