We tracked Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings’ QB. His average game grade was 6.2.
Inside the numbers
Attempts 33 (606)
Completions 20 (425)
Yards 132 (4,298)
Touchdowns 1 (30)
Interceptions 0 (10)
Passer rating 79.4 (99.7)
Turnovers 0 (17)
Game 16 performance
Grade: 5 out of 10
Cousins evaded the Bears’ pass rush and scrambled for a third-down conversion in the second quarter. He turned around and saw a penalty flag on the turf, negating his much-needed improvisation because of a holding call on right guard Mike Remmers. The sequence summed up Cousins’ day as he took nine hits (four sacks) while being chased around by the Bears pass rush. Cousins was unable to rise above the deficiencies around him against Chicago’s dominating front. Four straight three-and-out series to start the game again put the offense in catch-up mode, which Cousins was never able to overcome in 2018. The Vikings went 0-7-1 this season when trailing at halftime.
On the run: Cousins made a couple nimble plays, including the aforementioned third-down scramble that was called back. His improvised rollout during the Vikings’ two-minute drill before halftime turned a possible sack into a four-yard completion to receiver Stefon Diggs. Cousins also found Diggs for an 8-yard contested catch for a first down with Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara draped over his target. Cousins’ longest completion was an 18-yard throw to receiver Adam Thielen off play-action in the third quarter. Later in the drive, Cousins found Diggs for a two-yard touchdown.
Slow start, again: For the fifth time in the last seven games of the season, Cousins and the Vikings offense started the game with a three-and-out series. It didn’t end there. For the second straight week, the offense had four straight three-and-out drives. Interim coordinator Kevin Stefanski called back-to-back passes on the opening possession trying to avoid an initial third down, according to head coach Mike Zimmer, but Cousins only found his target once for three yards. He overthrew Diggs on the ensuing third-and-7 play. When the offense did get going, the first-half field goal drive stalled when Cousins and Thielen weren’t on the same page on a corner route. The two were seen jawing back and forth on the sideline with Thielen visibly upset after the incompletion.
“Adam’s my guy. He’s the best. I want to have more of those conversations. I actually liked the passion back and forth. I want to do more of that. I want to let us both be who we are and have those discussions, because he’s the kind of guy we can do that with going forward.” – Cousins on his heated talk with Thielen before halftime.
Cousins’ 132 passing yards were the lowest in any start of his seven-year NFL career, and the total came on 33 throws. The Vikings offense was disjointed and unable to find the time or the throwing lanes downfield. Receiver Aldrick Robinson dropped a late third-down conversion, but the Bears’ pass rush was the biggest hitch in the Vikings’ passing game. Four sacks on Cousins were the most since Week 8.