EAGAN, Minn. – Bashaud Breeland's nickname may be "Breezy," but he's not about to blow over mistakes he made in his Vikings debut.
Breeland, whom the Vikings added this year in free agency, emphasized his errors in Minnesota's overtime loss to Cincinnati in Week 1.
"We should be 1-0 right now. Those two mistakes I made really put us in a hole deep," said Breeland. "But not one time did my team go weary on me. They all stood beside me to get me through the little [rut] I was in, and you saw as the game got going, we really started connecting more … to get us into overtime to even have a chance to win that game."
The errors he referred to were the 50-yard touchdown by Bengals receiver Ja'Marr Chase and being flagged for defensive pass interference, a penalty that moved Cincinnati 26 yards closer to the end zone and enabled the Bengals to quickly score.
Vikings Assistant Head Coach and Co-Defensive Coordinator Andre Patterson explained the deep touchdown play, on which Minnesota's defense blitzed.
"He should've been off coverage and let the receiver come to him. There's no way you're going to let a guy run by you in a 2-minute warning when we were pressuring," Patterson said. "He lined up close to the line like it was a regular down blitz. He should've been off, and there's no way the guy should've ran by him."
Breeland acknowledged his misstep to media members and further detailed the play from his perspective.
"It was a blitz, but it was a bail technique, and I was trying not to get out too fast, and then when I did get out, I kept my eyes on the quarterback too long," he said. "I actually watched him throw the ball, and watch him release [it from] his hands, before I really got going. That really messed me up."
And as for the pass interference call?
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer mentioned earlier this week that NFL officials will nearly always throw the flag when a cornerback looks over his outside shoulder, which makes things difficult on the defensive back.
Breeland isn't here to make excuses, though.
"That was a case where I was playing for the back shoulder. That's what [Cincinnati] normally does, back shoulder at that time, so that's what I played for," he said. "And I was looking back for the ball at the same time, in position, and I flipped over once I saw the ball going over my head to try to go get it.
"I didn't feel like it was a pass interference, but I made it close enough for the refs to be able to make that call, and we had to live with it," Breeland added. "But what we can't do is let that affect the plays that are coming. That's my fault, and [I need to have better judgment]."
Patterson said that Breeland's turn into Chase made it more difficult to see the ball and increased the odds of a pass interference penalty.
The longtime defensive coach demonstrated on the media podium the technique Breeland would use to avoid a similar mistake in the future.
"What he should have done is turned this way into the receiver," said Patterson, backing up against the wall, "and had the backside of his body drift to the receiver out of bounds. So now he can see the ball; now he becomes the receiver.
"That's what got him in trouble. He covered him good, he just turned this way (toward him)," Patterson added.
Patterson referenced Hall of Famer Randy Moss, whose game literally changed the way corners defend wide receivers.
In his first stint in Minnesota as the Vikings defensive coordinator in 1998 and 1999, Patterson received a first-hand look at Moss' receiving technique and the impact it had on defenses moving forward.
"The DB would turn into Randy like this, and Randy would wait for the ball to get right over the top of his head, and just stick his hands up and catch it," Patterson said, stretching his arms out in front of him. "So, that's when you had to change your technique with what you're teaching your DBs to do.
"Because back in the day, when [the receiver's] hands come up, go for the ball. Go for the ball," Patterson added. "Well, Randy changed the world, because he would wait until the last second and there was no way the guy could defend it at the time."
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Cardinals.
Breeland won't have to worry about ever covering Moss, but he'll have a tough challenge in Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
Hopkins, who spent his first seven seasons in Houston before he was traded to Arizona in 2020, totaled 1,407 receiving yards last season. In his season debut against the Titans last week, he recoded six catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's got a big catch radius, you know what I mean? He's one of those possession receivers that can catch the ball any way, so you've really got to key-in on him," Breeland said of Hopkins. "He really makes other people go. When you key-in on him, other people get a chance to really show what they can do. … If we can slow him down and get everybody else out of the picture, we'll be good."
Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray also presents a unique challenge for defenses in his ability to escape the pocket and extend plays all over the field. But Breeland isn't shying away from the Week 2 test.
"After a loss like that, you want to go against somebody who's got a winning record at this point and show that we're really not what we showed last week," Breeland said.
Zimmer pointed out that while Breeland did account for two glaring mistakes in Sunday's game, he put good things on film, too. The 29-year-old is a veteran corner with an impressive résumé, and he's learned to put the bad days behind him and move on.
"I want to do what I can do to help my team get to 1-1," Breeland said. "We should be sitting at 1-0 right now, going for 2-0, but that was my mistake, and I'll eat that one, and I'm going to do what I can to help my team get in the winning column."