Tracking Kirk Cousins
Inside the numbers
Passer rating 111.4
Grade: 8 out of 10
Cousins missed his mark to receiver Stefon Diggs on the Vikings’ opening third down, but he didn’t need any third downs on the following 10-play, 82-yard touchdown drive that gave the Vikings a 7-0 lead. That lead was never in danger during Sunday’s 20-7 win against the Detroit Lions. Cousins’ day had a little bit of everything — bread-and-butter play-action tosses, contested sideline grabs and hold-your-breath risks. While just two of his 30 passes were deflected by Lions defenders, one was an ill-advised throw under pressure that Lions safety Tavon Wilson nearly intercepted.
Hurry up mode: Cousins once again looked composed in the system from which he’s enjoying a career-best 111.9 quarterback rating, including a 111.4 rating on Sunday against the Lions. Play-action bootlegs — left and right — produced chunks of yardage downfield against a hapless Lions secondary that lost top cornerback Darius Slay to injury for part of the first half. Cousins was at his finest just before halftime in a hurry-up drill. Cousins and the Vikings offense marched 65 yards in 46 seconds for a touchdown and 17-0 lead. The drive was sparked by Cousins’ 44-yard throw on a dime to Diggs, who made the impressive leaping catch to put the offense in scoring position.
Risky business: Fans at U.S. Bank Stadium held a collective breath when Cousins evaded pressure in the middle of the third quarter. Instead of taking a sack or throwing it away, Cousins attempted a pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph while being hit from behind. Lions safety Tavon Wilson dropped an easy interception, perhaps surprised by the throw, and the ball bounced to center Garrett Bradbury, who was happy to get his first career reception. Cousins is on pace for the fewest turnovers of his career and got lucky he didn’t add to the total.
“The guy basically covering Rudy came at me, and I thought I’ll just pop it over him, but someone from behind me hit me as I was trying to throw. It pulled me in some way where my arm couldn’t get free. So, I’m trying to throw it and I never got my arm to where I needed to get.” – Kirk Cousins on the dropped interception by Wilson.
Spreading the love: Eleven different Vikings — including Bradbury, recipient of the batted pass that was Cousins’ near interception — caught passes against the Lions. That resets the Vikings’ season high of nine different receivers, set during last week’s loss in Seattle. Without receiver Adam Thielen, who was inactive Sunday for a fourth straight game due to a hamstring injury, Cousins’ throws have found just about every skill player on the roster. Only two active skill players on Sunday — receiver Alexander Hollins and running back Mike Boone — didn’t catch a pass.