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Vikings mistakes beat themselves against the Buccaneers

There are plenty of ways to lose a football game, and the Minnesota Vikings chose its route in a 20-17 week one loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Vikings offense outgained the Buccaneers 369-242 on the stat sheet. Tampa Bay won the turnover margin 3-0, aiding a road upset victory.

“Disappointing start to our season,” head coach Kevin O’Connell said postgame. “When you lose the turnover battle 3-0 and have some critical penalties, you do many things to help the opponent.”

The third and most painful turnover

All turnovers are important in football, but it was the third Vikings turnover that seemingly shifted the momentum for good for the Buccaneers in which they carried into the second half. After Tampa’s first touchdown, the Vikings quickly engineered a drive driving to the Buccaneers 13 yard line with 23 seconds to go and a favorable second and one. But, what seemed like a touchdown to K.J Osborn ended up being a Christian Izien interception.

While it goes down as an interception in the record books, O’Connell didn’t mind the aggressiveness by Cousins, who finished the day with 344 yards.

“Kirk thought he had a chance to put it in there,” O’Connell said. “It’s gonna be tight windows down in the red zone and I didn’t mind the decision. We’ll take a look at it and see if the location could’ve been better.”

The ball thrown by Cousins had very little margin of error with a defender and safety on Osborn in the end zone.

“I think its behind him because I see the safety so I’m trying to stop him with the ball and protect him and not lead him into a collision. So there’s a little bit of trying to stop him,” Cousins said.

While O’Connell did have an issue with Cousin’s decision, No. 8 would’ve rather been more conservative in that situation.

“Looking back I would’ve just progressed to the under route to Jordan (Addison),” Cousins said. “I tried to knife it in there, I was a little too aggressive and Jordan’s there on the under route.”

While it is debatable, Cousins throw is more likely the right decision. An underneath completion would’ve resulted in burning a timeout with not much time to operate. Izien wanted it more than Osborn and instead of it being 17-10, its tied at halftime.

The two other turnovers

The first two Vikings turnovers came with miscommunication and mistakes up front. Ed Ingram swiped the ball out of Cousins’ hands after the Vikings crossed the 50 for the first time early in the first quarter. The second turnover came as the Buccaneers brought an exotic five man blitz resulting in an Antoine Winfield strip sack.

The two plays resulted in a 7-10 point swing for the Vikings, as they didn’t come away with a touchdown or field goal. After the second turnover, Chase McLauglin connected on a 36-yard field goal to give the Buccaneers a three point lead.

“I thought there were some times in the game, where they did some things schematically, with safety pressures and things that kind of talked you out of some plays,” O’Connell said, “And then up front I think we just got to get a little bit more movement, a little bit more connectiveness on our combinations, and try to get as efficient as we possibly can.”

Rookie Mistake

Jay Ward, the Vikings fourth round selection, appeared in his first regular season game that came with some jitters, that resulted in a four-point swing. After stopping the Buccaneers on third down, Chase McLaughlin converted a 31 yard field goal which seemed to put Tampa up 13-10. But, there was laundry on the field.

Ward was called for an offsides penalty giving the Buccaneers a first down. Three plays later, Baker Mayfield found Trey Palmer in the end zone to put the Buccaneers up 17-10.

In a three point loss to the Buccaneers, the Vikings turned the ball over three times, were penalized six times compared to Tampa’s three, while Cousins faced unnecessary pressure. Not a recipe for success when trying to win football games.

“When you lose the turnover

The good news is the Vikings can quickly erase the bad taste as they play on Thursday night.

The bad news is that its at Lincoln Financial Field against the always tough Philadelphia Eagles.

 

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