Make no mistake, the Vikings blew a lead late in the fourth quarter against the Cowboys and Kirk Cousins and the offense failed when they had the opportunity to drive down the field to win the game. But perhaps the biggest whiff during Sunday's 31-28 loss was a missed tackle by cornerback Chris Jones.
Jones, who you can see wearing No. 26 in the replay below, appears to shy away from contact as Cowboys running back Tony Pollard busted a 42-yard touchdown run to give Dallas a 24-21 lead with 12:02 left in the fourth quarter. Watch it over and over: Jones clearly had a shot to stop Pollard before he got loose.
Here's another look at Jones freezing as Pollard sprints past him.
Hindsight is 20:20, but had the tackle been made and the Cowboys kicked a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown, the Vikings would've had a 21-19 lead. Then Justin Jefferson's touchdown in the fourth quarter would've had Minnesota on top 28-19, rendering Dallas' go-ahead touchdown with 1:37 to play a non-factor.
Regardless, Cousins and the offense, which features extremely dangerous weapons in Dalvin Cook, Jefferson and Adam Thielen, failed to show up when the team needed them most. Given 97 seconds to tie or win the game, Cousins and the offense turned it over on downs, failing to pick up even one first down.
Perhaps you noticed, but given similar circumstances during Sunday night's Raiders-Chiefs game, Patrick Mahomes and the KC offense motored 75 yards down the field – all of it on Mahomes passes – for a game-winning score when they had 1:43 left on the clock.
That said, we probably shouldn't set expectations of Cousins at the level of the best quarterback in the NFL...