Tracking Kirk Cousins
We will track Kirk Cousins all year long in his second season as the Vikings quarterback.
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 91.5
Grade: 3 out of 10
Sacked six times and pressured throughout by the Bears, Cousins failed to find a rhythm in the 16-6 loss, the Vikings’ third straight defeat in the NFC North since last season. The offense’s issues, which included a stymied running attack, were compounded by a familiar problem in Cousins’ game — fumbles. He put the ball on the ground twice (losing one), which helped create short fields for the Bears offense and backup quarterback Chase Daniel. Cousins took five sacks in the second half during the Vikings’ failed rally.
One big moment: An otherwise forgettable afternoon peaked on fourth down in the third quarter. Needing 3 yards for a first down, Cousins dropped back quickly and immediately threw a dart to receiver Stefon Diggs for a 39-yard completion on a go route. The decisiveness, combined with some time against a Bears front looking to stop the run, was easily Cousins’ best moment of the game. Unfortunately for the Vikings, those good moments were few and far between.
Fumbles, overthrows: Cousins converted his first two third downs, then the wheels fell off. He overthrew Adam Thielen on the next third down. A completion would have put the Vikings near the Bears goal line while trailing 7-0, but they punted instead. Cousins didn’t throw far downfield much after that, with fullback C.J. Ham leading in targets (four) at one point. Cousins has fumbled 15 times in 20 games for the Vikings, including the Khalil Mack strip sack that led to a Bears field goal and 13-0 lead.
“One time we tried to take a shot to Adam and they doubled him. He was covered, so I checked it down to C.J. Ham. Another time, Kyle Fuller played trail technique and tips the ball. I missed one on third down early in the game. The pass rush is affecting the ability to wait on them, because they’re running the deep-developing routes.” – Cousins, when asked about Thielen’s two catches for 6 yards.
Grounded by the Bears: There’s a quick way to summarize the Bears’ dominance of the Vikings offensive line, and perhaps how it has impacted Cousins’ play. Since signing with the Vikings, Cousins has attempted 115 passes in three losses to the Bears; just three of those throws gained at least 20 yards. That includes two catches by Diggs on Sunday. Diggs, who fumbled during the loss, has been the recipient of all three big gains. Cousins is averaging 5.5 yards per throw in three games against the Bears, well below his 7.6-yard career average.