We will track Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings' quarterback.
inside the numbers
Passer Rating 95.1
Cousins gets a 7.5 after his roller coaster performance was highlighted on the all-important third down. He stepped up with two big touchdown throws, including one on third down. He got lucky his first pass of the fourth quarter wasn't intercepted. On third-and-8, he threw late to receiver Stefon Diggs, which set up a 49ers safety, but he dropped a sure pick.
"Maybe the right move wasn't to dive, but to try to make him miss, do something. You want to take a hit because at that point if you get the first down you change the whole game." — Cousins on his headfirst dive while scrambling late on third-and-6.
Two throws, and a hardcount: Cousins flashed his range of throwing talent on two TD passes, starting with a drop in the bucket to Stefon Diggs for a 22-yard touchdown on third-and-3. Cousins later zipped a pass over the top to Kyle Rudolph's outstretched hands for an 11-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone. Cousins later drew 49ers end Solomon Thomas offsides with a fourth-and-1 hard count.
Too risky: No, Cousins' worst moment wasn't the occasional overthrow or throwing to a covered Dalvin Cook for a loss of 6 yards. It was when the entire stadium held its breath because the $84 million investment dived headfirst — into a 49ers defender while trying desperately for a fourth-quarter first down.
what the data says
The Vikings' third-down offense relied on Cousins' arm against the 49ers. They converted seven of 17 attempts, six on Cousins throws and one on a 13-yard scramble. They'll need to get Cousins more help from the running game to prevent it all from falling on Cousins. Overall on Sunday, the Vikings gained just three of 19 first downs by running the ball.
Around the league
Former Vikings starters Sam Bradford and Case Keenum started their seasons with the Cardinals and Broncos, respectively. A quick look at their days.
Result: Washington 24, Arizona 6
Result: Denver 27, Seattle 24