After Kirk Cousins threw for a season-high 333 yards and four touchdowns during Sunday's 38-20 win against the Eagles, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer wondered if comments by an Eagles linebacker fueled Cousins' fire in the game.
But Cousins, who claims he gladly pleads ignorance about his critics outside Vikings headquarters, said he didn't see a story where Eagles linebacker Zach Brown pegged Cousins as the "weakest part" of the Vikings offense during the week before Sunday's game. Cousins responded by saying Brown, a former teammate in Washington, "is one of the better linebackers I've played with."
"I just found out about it like 20 minutes ago," Cousins said after the game. "If you're trying to write a story about how it was a motivator this week, it wasn't, because I didn't know about it. Again, I say ignorance is bliss. I just put my head down and work."
The head-down approach has worked for Cousins in back-to-back wins; he had a 138.6 passer rating against the Giants and 138.4 against the Eagles. The Vikings passing game has not only found life but thrived in the two wins since falling flat in the Sept. 29 loss in Chicago.
"Maybe that linebacker popped off [and] ticked him off," Zimmer said. "I mean, so he beat Philadelphia last year. I don't know if they had a winning record at the time, but they had a winning record at the end of the season. So these stats that everybody is throwing out is just — there's a lot of football left."
Cousins tipped his cap to an aggressive game plan by coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who dialed up deep play-action shots on first down that ended in two of Stefon Diggs' touchdown catches from 51 and 62 yards. Stefanski entered Sunday as one of the NFL's most run-heavy play callers on first downs.
"It was an aggressive, creative game plan," Cousins said. "Credit Kevin for the way he just kind of kept it unpredictable with misdirection, a couple reverses. I think we were very multiple in the way we moved the ball today."
Was the aggressive passing approach needed to turn around the Vikings offense? Cousins said it's too early to say, especially after running back Dalvin Cook dominated opponents at the start of the season.
But throwing deep worked Sunday against an Eagles defense with a banged-up secondary and strong track record stopping the run.
"It's a small sample size," Cousins said. "When you run for 200 yards against the Falcons and I don't know how many it was against the Raiders, but it was probably close to that number, you don't really need to do much more. And so week to week, if we're going to do that again, you probbay won't see the passing game much."