Four teams have allowed a combined five 500-yard games through three weeks of the NFL season.
The Vikings, Falcons and Dolphins have done it once apiece. They’re 0-3 in those games and 1-8 overall.
The Seahawks have done it twice. They’re 2-0 in those games and sit atop the rugged NFC West as one of the league’s seven 3-0 teams.
That’s the kind of MVP-caliber greatness Russell Wilson has shown while throwing 14 touchdown passes, a league record through three games, and earning his keep — and cap space — as one of the league’s big-buck QBs.
Seattle’s defense is surrendering a league-worst 497.3 yards per game — 57.3 yards more than Mike Zimmer’s Vikings defense. And Wilson’s offensive line — much like the one in front of Kirk Cousins — isn’t playing all that well either.
Wilson has been sacked nine times and is going down on 8.74% of his pass attempts — eighth worst in the league and one spot better than Cousins, who has been sacked seven times and is being felled on 8.97% of his pass attempts.
For the Pro Football Focus lovers, Wilson is being pressured on 38.5% of his dropbacks. That’s tied for fifth worst among full-time starters and three notches below Cousins (41.1%).
And yet Wilson’s coach, Pete Carroll, hasn’t been torn between the words “chaos” and “disaster” while describing one of the more colossally inept two-minute drills one will ever see at the NFL level.
The Vikings on Sunday trailed by 1 with 1 minute, 40 seconds left and had the ball at their 40-yard line. Basically, they needed about 25-30 yards, so it didn’t matter that Zimmer had blown his timeouts.
And yet the drive ended with a Hail Mary interception after 46 seconds and four snaps.
“It was more of a disaster than chaos,” Zimmer clarified Monday, a day after the 31-30 loss to Tennessee.
By now, you’re probably screaming, “Yeah, but you can’t compare Cousins to Russell Wilson, you idiot!?”
That would be true if that wasn’t exactly what the Vikings have done twice, judging by the size of Cousins’ initial contract in 2018 and his extension before this season.
The six highest-paid quarterbacks in the league in terms of average salary are Patrick Mahomes ($45 million), Wilson ($35 million), Ben Roethlisberger ($34 million), Aaron Rodgers ($33.5 million), Jared Goff ($33.5 million) and Cousins ($33 million).
The first five are 14-1 this season. Cousins is 0-3.
Cousins didn’t look happy Sunday afternoon when Zimmer’s “chaos” comments were relayed to him.
“You’d have to ask Coach specifically what he meant,” Cousins said.
What he meant was there are no excuses for what happened. Like it or not, getting the job done in that situation without excuses is the professional ZIP code in which Cousins now resides.
Cousins is a good quarterback. He’s second behind only Drew Brees in career accuracy. He can make all the throws.
He did a lot of good things on Sunday as the Vikings showed life for the first time this season.
He also had historic help around him as the Vikings became the first team in NFL history to have a 175-yard rusher (Dalvin Cook) and a 175-yard receiver (Justin Jefferson).
But when there’s 1:40 left and the team needs a couple of first downs to kick a game-winning field goal, Cousins is the one who’s paid to air brush any and all blemishes, not be one of them.
Maybe it’s unfair for those of us on the outside to ask that of Cousins. For the most part, he’s always been a great passer who’s a good quarterback when his team is good and a not-so-good quarterback when his team is not so good.
Maybe it’s the Vikings who deserve the scorn for asking Cousins to be someone he hasn’t consistently been up to this point in his career.
Asked this summer what Cousins needed to do to reach the next level, Zimmer said, “The biggest thing for Kirk is to continue the things that he’s done well and then, when we get to the end of ballgames, to go win.
“That’s what everybody wants out of the quarterback, is to go win games in the fourth quarter.”
Consider Sunday a big swing and a miss in that regard.
Mark Craig is an NFL and Vikings Insider. Twitter: @markcraigNFL. E-mail: email@example.com