Having a loud crowd in the NFL is usually what home-field advantage is all about—except when you’re on offense.
The Vikings learned that the hard way on their way to a brutal 34–28 loss to the Chargers on Sunday when crowd noise at U.S. Bank Stadium hampered their offense’s ability to hear the play call on what ended up being the game-losing play.
Down 28–24 with 38 seconds left in the game, Minnesota converted on fourth down and elected to not spike the ball despite not having any timeouts remaining. Presumably, the Vikings hoped the decision would hinder the Los Angeles defense from setting up. Instead, chaos ensued.
Brutal clock management by the Vikings concludes in a game-sealing interception from Kirk Cousins.— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 24, 2023
The Chargers win 28-24 in Minnesota. 🏈pic.twitter.com/TMORYwDOY5
The home crowd still was cheering the fourth-down conversion, and quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn’t hear the play call from coach Kevin O’Connell, both said after the game, per ESPN. So Cousins made his own play call and tried to thread the needle with a pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson in the end zone, but the passed was tipped and intercepted, and the Vikings lost.
Strangely enough, Cousins called the same play O’Connell was trying to relay, the quarterback said after the game, but the crowd noise didn’t help.
“Sometimes that happens,” O’Connell said, per ESPN. “It’s not always noticed when we’re in a normal two-minute mode.”
Minnesota fell to 0–3 on the year and will travel to face the 0–3 Panthers on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET on Fox.