We will track quarterback Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings’ signal caller.
inside the numbers
Passer rating 117.3
Grade: 9 out of 10
There wasn’t much else Cousins could do, having thrown for more than 400 yards for the second time in four games. Cousins hit the mark on three touchdown throws and allowed a pesky Rams pass rush only two sacks until the final drive. He often got the ball out quickly to aid his offensive line. It’s the type of game the Vikings expected when signing Cousins to a mega contract. If only the Vikings defense could live up to the same expectation.
“Certainly we can move the football. We just have to turn it into wins.”
Field vision: Cousins didn’t leave receivers open, finding his targets for big gains even when the Rams’ coverage was impressive. Cousins went at an injured Rams cornerback Marcus Peters, who entered the game questionable because of a calf ailment and beat him with early throws to receivers Adam Thielen and Aldrick Robinson. Cousins’ first touchdown to Robinson drifted just over Peters’ outstretched arm in the corner of the end zone. After Cousins was fortunate Rams cornerback Sam Shields tipped a third-down pass into a Stefon Diggs’ catch, he went at Shields again. Thielen sped by Shields for a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, catching a perfectly placed ball from Cousins.
Fourth-quarter fumble: Cousins entered Thursday night’s game with 34 fumbles since 2015, tying Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson for the most in the league in that span. Cousins took the lead in that category when defensive end John Franklin-Myers beat left tackle Riley Reiff and poked the ball out to force the Vikings’ first turnover at the worst time. The ending came after Cousins fumbled three times (two lost) in last week’s loss to the Bills.
Leaning on Cousins: The game was again all on the arm of Cousins, who had attempted 32 passes by halftime. The Vikings’ rushing attack was toothless, producing only 20 rushing yards on running back Dalvin Cook’s 10 carries in the first half. With the defense surrendering points left and right, the Vikings kept the pressure on Cousins as he attempted 50 throws in the loss. The Vikings gained only 54 rushing yards on 17 attempts against the Rams. That meant 22 of the Vikings’ 25 first downs came through the air. The offense needs to find a way to create yardage in the run game and help Cousins.