It will be the Minnesota Vikings, and not the New Orleans Saints, moving on to the Divisional Round of the NFC playoffs.
After letting the Saints to tie up the game late in the fourth, the Vikings were guided down the field by Cousins and stunned the home crowd with walk-off touchdown to Zach Rudolph.
Cousins, who has been criticized throughout his entire career–including during his tenure in the nation’s capital–for not being able to deliver when the team needs him most, booked the Vikings a trip to San Francisco for a date with Jimmy Garappolo and the San Francisco 49ers.
The 31-year-old Cousins lost his only previous playoff start — during the 2015 campaign with the Washington Redskins — and came up short of a playoff berth in the Vikings’ final game last season.
He also struggled in a handful of other high-profile matchups in prime time in 2019, but he delivered in Minnesota’s first road playoff victory since Jan. 9, 2005, when the Vikings defeated the rival Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in the wild-card round.
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“I’m just happy we won,” Cousins said. “It was a great, great game, two good football teams.”
New Orleans fans surely begged to differ after seeing the NFC South champions’ season end in overtime at home for a second straight year.
The latest disappointing end for the Saints (13-4) came the year after they lost in the NFC championship game to the Los Angeles Rams in a matchup marred by blatant penalties not being called against the Rams late in regulation.
This time, replays on video boards showed a possible push-off by Rudolph against defensive back P.J. Williams moments before he jumped to snag the winning catch.
NFL president of officiating Al Riveron said the league reviewed numerous replay angles, and though officials saw contact by both players, “none of that contact rises to the level of a foul.”
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