We will track quarterback Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings’ signal caller.
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 141.4
Grade: 9 out of 10
Quarterback Kirk Cousins kept the Vikings’ play-action attack rolling, starting with his 25-yard touchdown strike to receiver Adam Thielen. It was the kind of throw epitomizing the difference in Cousins from the Sept. 29 loss in Chicago to Sunday’s 42-30 victory in Detroit. He was decisive and accurate while becoming the first NFL quarterback to string together three consecutive games of at least 300 passing yards and a 130 passer rating. Cousins rewarded the trust coordinator Kevin Stefanski has shown in his quarterback with huge plays to match aggressive play calls.
“We’re just trying to make them use timeouts, but you also realize that there is a good chance that you’re going to be punting back to them, and they’ll have a chance to tie the game because of the number of timeouts they have plus the two-minute warning. They were loading the box, there was no safety help. It was that corner had to defend Stefon Diggs across 53 yards of field and 80 yards deep.” – Cousins on what he saw before the game-sealing, 66-yard throw to Diggs with three minutes left.
Accuracy: Cousins has found his deep-ball groove again. He could’ve had a fifth touchdown had Diggs not dropped a long toss near the goal line to open the fourth quarter. The third-and-3 incompletion led to kicker Dan Bailey’s missed 45-yard field-goal attempt. The placement of Cousins’ passes has been consistently effective. Perhaps no throw was a better example of his accuracy than the 25-yard touchdown to Thielen, which was a leaping grab on a high throw in the back of the end zone. The Lions defense doesn’t pressure quarterbacks well, and Matt Patricia’s group blitzes the least in the NFL, but it was also important Cousins did not test his protection by holding onto the ball too long.
Not much: There isn’t much to nitpick when the offense scores 42 points with 503 yards. Cousins had one glaring overthrow on a third-and-7 pass that went over the helmet of receiver Bisi Johnson, who was filling in for the injured Thielen. It was the second consecutive game Cousins did not fumble after losing two of his six fumbles to start the season.
One analysis: Go long
The deep ball is real for Cousins and the Vikings. A play-action passing attack has been unleased on defenses in the past three weeks, which has led to Cousins’ insane 10.8 yards per throw in three consecutive victories. Through the bulk of Sunday’s Week 7 games, that makes Cousins the NFL leader this season averaging 9.1 yards per throw in seven games — more than the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (9.0 yards per throw).