We will track Kirk Cousins all year long in his second season as the Vikings quarterback.
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 52.9
Grade: 2 out of 10
Cousins was critical of his play after Sunday’s 21-16 loss in Green Bay. He committed three costly turnovers, including the fourth-quarter interception by Packers cornerback Kevin King in the end zone. Cousins was unable to find a consistent connection throughout the loss, even as the Vikings’ defensive resurgence led to five consecutive Packers punts in the second half. In the fourth quarter, Cousins completed only four of eight passes for 35 yards and an interception. It was a dismal performance to begin Cousins’ second run through the NFC North.
Flashes of production: Three throws accounted for about 60% of Cousins’ yardage in Green Bay. They were the 61-yard catch-and-run from receiver Chad Beebe — a short pass Cousins threw while taking a hit; the 45-yard touchdown toss to receiver Stefon Diggs, a huge play on third down over Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander; and another third-down conversion on the 30-yard contested catch by receiver Adam Thielen over Alexander. On Cousins’ other 29 throws, he completed only 11 for 94 yards. Cousins also picked up 17 rushing yards on two scrambles.
Ball control: Cousins sailed a couple passes, including one to an open Thielen on third-and-8 in the third quarter and another third-down throw in the fourth quarter to a leaping Diggs. His biggest gaffes, however, were the three turnovers. Cousins threw into heavy traffic to Diggs, admitting he should’ve checked down to tight end Kyle Rudolph, when his pass was batted and intercepted by Packers defensive end Preston Smith. Cousins also fumbled on back-to-back plays — a first-down scramble fumble, recovered by tight end Irv Smith Jr., and the strip-sack by Packers defensive tackle Kenny Clark. Cousins said his last interception, a fourth-quarter lob picked by King the back of the end zone, was “not justifiable.”
“That’s tough, because you feel like if you hit that maybe he scores, maybe we’re first-and-goal from the 5, or whatever it is. It changes the flow of the game. Those are the ones you are really frustrated about when you’re walking to the sideline.” – Kirk Cousins on overthrowing Diggs on a third-and-7 play in the fourth quarter.
Cousins’ completion rate of 43.8% (14 of 32) against the Packers is the second-worst mark of his career, ahead of only his fourth NFL start ever for Washington in December 2013 when Cousins completed 38.8% of his passes against the Giants. Cousins’ connection was particularly poor with Diggs, who caught one of seven targets (and dropped one). It was easily Diggs’ worst catch rate in an NFL game.