What really happened on Kirk Cousins’ strip sack

The mistakes made by the Minnesota Vikings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were frustrating and a key cog in their 20-17 loss.

One of the key plays was a strip-sack of Kirk Cousins by safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and there has been a lot of blame going around as to who is at fault.

In reality, it’s hard to place a lot of blame on the Vikings, but credit is deserved by Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles. The play itself from the all-22 view is below and looks frustrating.

Over the course of the season, you will hear a lot about the Bengal Hawk blitz that Brian Flores will be using. At its core, one side gets overloaded and two players from the other side drop into coverage. It’s all predicated on what side the offensive line slides to. If the slide left, two players from the left side drop, creating a mismatch on the opposite side.

This is what Bowles designed here. They have seven in the box with four players out wide. The Vikings end up fanning, not sliding, to the left side with Ed Ingram pushing his defender toward Austin Schlottmann. This causes the two defenders on the far right to drop into coverage, getting right into the path of the hot route. K.J. Osborn was leveled by Lavonte David, making things even more complicated.

When that happens, fullback C.J. Ham has a choice on who to block. As a running back, you take the player closest to the inside, as their path is the shortest. He does, but Winfield has a clean path and gets the strip sack.

There are a few things that could have happened to fix this.

  • Cousins could have thrown quicker. That was eliminated by David thwarting the hot route across the middle. Cousins was trying to get the ball to T.J. Hockenson on the corner in a concept called “Flag Water” but he needed one more split second and that didn’t happen.

  • Ingram could have recognized the blitz and passed off his defender to Schlottmann and taken the blitzing Devin White. What makes this tough is the five defenders lining up on the line of scrimmage at the snap. Frustrating, but understandable.

  • Osborn needs to avoid getting blown up on his route. Cousins needs to have that outlet available to him and that would have helped things.

Overall, it was a frustrating play for the Vikings, but credit needs to go to Bowles over blame to the purple and gold.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire