We will track quarterback Kirk Cousins in his second season as the Vikings’ signal caller.
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 112.3
Grade: 7.5 out of 10
Cousins wasn’t spectacular, but the Vikings didn’t need him to be. Cousins managed the game appropriately, churning out first downs and yardage while controlling the clock. The Vikings’ edge in time of possession was sizable — 36 minutes, 36 seconds to 23:24 — while they topped 400 yards for the fourth straight game. That hasn’t happened for the Vikings since the 2004 season.
“Kirk’s probably going to keep it politically correct, but I know it feels good to win against your old team, especially with how things went with him there. He won’t say it, but I’ll say it for him.” — Stefon Diggs
Throwing lasers: One of Cousins’ best throws of the season came midway through the third quarter, when the Vikings faced a third-and-9 play. Cousins uncorked a deep laser to Diggs, who made the leaping grab on a go route for 39 yards — holding on to the ball despite an illegal hit from Redskins defensive back Jeremy Reaves, who exited the game due to a concussion after the play. Cousins has been at his best when throwing with confidence, as he did into a very tight window to Diggs to convert a third down with a one-score lead.
Red-zone inefficiency: The Vikings entered Thursday night as one of the NFL’s most efficient red-zone offenses, but Cousins and company struggled to cross the goal line against the Redskins. Four trips led to three field goals and a touchdown. Cousins took two sacks on the Vikings’ first red-zone trip, including a third-down sack that saw Washington interior defender Jonathan Allen quickly beat left guard Pat Elflein. There wasn’t much Cousins could’ve done on that play, but there may have been opportunities missed on others.
One analysis: EFFICIENT
Just how rare was Cousins’ three-incompletion game? They were his fewest passes to hit the turf during a start in which he made at least 25 throws in his NFL career. Cousins’ 88% completion rate is a career high and illustrates the effective, if not in the red zone, game plan against Washington. Cousins was once again protected well — save for a couple of red-zone sacks — as he was hit four times the entire night. He made some plays to avoid pressure and find the check-down, which boosted his effective evening.