Tracking Kirk Cousins

We will track quarterback Kirk Cousins all year long in his inaugural season as the Vikings’ signal caller.

Inside the numbers

Attempts 40

Completions 25

Yards 241

Touchdowns 2

Interceptions 0

Passer rating 95.9

Turnovers 0

Performance

Grade: 6 out of 10

It wasn’t pretty, but Cousins withstood seven hits — and his offense took 11 tackles for losses — as they emerged victorious in New York. Cousins started with a bang on the deep touchdown throw to receiver Adam Thielen, but then took a delay-of-game penalty en route to five three-and-out series before halftime. The Jets defense swarmed quick throws, including a first-and-goal slant pass to receiver Stefon Diggs that defensive lineman Henry Anderson batted down at the line. The Jets were credited with eight deflections on Cousins’ 40 throws that averaged only 6 yards per attempt.

Quotable

“I didn’t feel good about throwing it to Stef there and wanted to just dirt it. I should’ve dirted it a little more forward or just run for it and took a short sack. That would’ve been the hindsight answer.” — Cousins on the backward pass throwaway that resulted in a third-quarter fumble.

The good

When protected, he slung it: Cousins rarely had great protection, which is why the pocket on his two 34-yard touchdown throws to Thielen and Aldrick Robinson stood out. He had a clean pocket on both deep balls. The plays contrasted with the rest of Cousins’ solid throws, which included being chased down on the 23-yard toss to receiver Brandon Zylstra in the third quarter. Cousins was also buried by a Jets defender on the 13-yard pass to Thielen for the first and only third-down conversion of the game.

The bad

A fumbled throwaway: Cousins threw away more than a few passes, none worse than the second-down pass he grounded at the feet of Diggs. The problem was Diggs ran into the flat and Cousins’ intentional incompletion was a backward pass ruled a fumble at the end of the third quarter. After a couple seconds, Diggs pounced on the ball to rescue it from being a turnover deep in Vikings territory. Cousins, flustered by the Jets’ pass rush, also sailed a third-and-8 throw over the head of tight end Kyle Rudolph while Diggs was just getting open underneath.

One analysis:

On average, Cousins needed to gain more than 10 yards to convert a third down. The third-and-10 average is dismal and highlighted the Vikings’ woes on offense throughout first and second downs. It’s why Cousins only converted only two of 15 attempts against the Jets, including a deep ball receiver Aldrick Robinson lost in the air on third-and-15. Cousins needed a fourth-down try to throw his second touchdown pass, the 34-yard score to Robinson.

Around the league

A quick look at former Vikings starters Sam Bradford and Case Keenum.

Bradford

Arizona Cardinals

Bradford has been replaced as starter by rookie Josh Rosen.

Result: Denver 45, Arizona 10 (Thursday night)

Keenum

Denver Broncos

Comp-Att 14-21

Yards 161

TD-INT 1-1

QBR 89.4

Result: Denver 45, Arizona 10 (Thursday night)

Andrew Krammer