GREEN BAY, Wis. – Laquon Treadwell clutched his helmet in disbelief. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix had just intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass that Treadwell had tipped into the air. What should have been a simple first-down completion on a slant turned into a turnover with 2 minutes, 13 seconds left in Sunday’s 29-29 tie.
Three plays later, Mason Crosby made what seemed to be a clinching field goal for an eight-point Packers lead. Luckily for Treadwell, the Vikings rallied to force overtime.
“I’ve made that play 100 times in practice,” Treadwell said. “I’ll learn so much from that play. I’ll learn so much about myself from that play. I’d never been in that situation before. I’m owning up to it, and I’ll get better. That won’t bring me down. That will push me up. It’ll make me work harder in practice on the little things, on the details.”
Cousins showed confidence in Treadwell, who earlier caught his first NFL touchdown on a 14-yard post route, by twice throwing his way in overtime — both incompletions. After the tipped interception, Cousins said he told Treadwell, “You’re fine,” when he was visibly disappointed in his play.
“I threw that ball pretty hard, that was probably my hardest pass of the day,” Cousins said. “We just got to get him into the fire, you know, where he can be like, ‘OK, been there, done that.’ I think everything right now a lot of times is new for him in the sense that I don’t know if he was there last year as the ‘X’ running a slant in a two-minute drill.”
Cousins targeted Treadwell on back-to-back plays in overtime. The first, Treadwell cut inward and Cousins threw outward behind his target. The second pass flew off Treadwell’s fingertips on a short route on third down.
“I’m reading the defense, going off my reads and again in the moment that’s where I felt the ball needed to go,” Cousins said. “Hindsight, you know, maybe there was somebody else open.”
The ending overshadowed what could have been a long-awaited breakout game for Treadwell, the 2016 first-round pick who caught two of the first three passes thrown to him for 23 yards and a touchdown. In the first quarter, he burned cornerback Kevin King on an inside move for his first touchdown ever. The last three times he was targeted, passes flew off his hands or over his head.
Coach Mike Zimmer was brief when asked about Treadwell, saying: “You got to catch the ball. You know, that’s the number one thing receivers do — catch the ball.”
Being targeted six times against the Packers tied Treadwell’s career high, but he said the interception is his biggest lesson learned.
“That play I could’ve made,” Treadwell said. “I could’ve made it and a lot of things could’ve went different.”