Each week I’m going to be charting all of Kirk Cousins dropbacks via the NFL coaches’ film. This film allows me to see all 22 players on the field and better evaluate the quarterback’s performance. I’m tracking a variety of important statistics, including accuracy, “turnover-worthy throws”, and elite throws. For more information, please check out Charting Cousins in his week one game against the 49ers.
Week 2 – Vikings @ Packers
In week two, Cousins led the Vikings to a come-from-behind tie, giving them multiple chances to win the game. Though Daniel Carlson was unable to complete the comeback win, it was a nice to see a Vikings quarterback orchestrate a comeback against a tough division rival. From an entertainment standpoint, it was one of the best games of this short NFL season.
Box Score Statistics
In week two, Cousins completed 35 of his 48 pass attempts for 425 yards and four touchdowns. He threw one interception and was sacked twice. Adding to his passing numbers, he added two rushes for five yards on the ground. Cousins was responsible for 15 first downs, though he only converted four of 13 third downs through the air. With a 73 percent completion percentage and an average of 8.8 yards per attempt, Cousins had an extremely efficient day. He finished with the second most passing yards and tied for the second most passing touchdowns of any quarterback in the league.
Coaches’ Film Breakdown
Cousins started off hot for the second week in a row. He was accurate on each of his first nine attempts and was accurate on 15 of his 18 qualifying attempts in the first half. He had one touchdown pass in the half, a 14-yard strike to Laquon Treadwell on a post route that went right over the linebacker’s extended arm.
Cousins did have a few mistakes, which helped to limit the offense to only seven first half points. He took a sack at the 8:20 mark of the first quarter where Adam Thielen was open on a deep crossing route that could have been a touchdown. At the 6:44 mark of the second quarter, Cousins escaped pressure from the pocket, but forced a pass towards Stefon Diggs in which two Packers’ defenders had a chance to intercept it. It was his first turnover-worthy throw, though the pass resulted in an incompletion.
In the third quarter, the Vikings were unable to generate much offense. Cousins was accurate on seven of eight attempts, but a sack on their first drive and a drop by Treadwell on the second drive ended their first two chances for points. The final drive of the third quarter carried over into the fourth and resulted in the Vikings second touchdown on the day. On this touchdown, Cousins used motion to diagnose that it was man coverage. Upon realizing that, the Vikings ran a rub-route concept to allow Diggs to break free to the outside. Cousins’ throw was inaccurate and extremely low, but Diggs made a great catch to bring the Vikings within one score.
What fun play design for red zone threat, Stefon Diggs pic.twitter.com/HHfqODxuOJ
— Arif Hasan, but spooky 👻 (@ArifHasanNFL) September 16, 2018
After the Packers’ seven-minute drive that ended in a field goal, he threw his best pass of the day. Diggs ran a go route and Cousins placed the ball perfectly, leading him down the field and towards the sideline away from the Packers’ defenders.
My word pic.twitter.com/sleljMuQo9
— Arif Hasan, but spooky 👻 (@ArifHasanNFL) September 16, 2018
From that point on, the Vikings relied almost exclusively on Cousins. Like the week prior, the running game had been ineffective for most of the day. Cousins was accurate on only 10 of his next 18 attempts, but made multiple impressive throws under pressure. In particular, Cousins had three throws to Thielen in tight windows down the field. The highlight was the game-tying touchdown on an out-and-up route. Cousins got hit in the legs as he threw, but the placement was perfect and Thielen rolled into the end zone for the touchdown. In overtime, Cousins hit Thielen on a 25-yard crossing route that went directly over one defender and dropped in to Thielen before the safety could reach it. Ultimately, Carlson was unable to convert the game-winning field goal attempt, but Cousins final drive was extremely impressive.
On the day, Cousins was accurate on 33 of 44 attempts for an accuracy percentage of 75 percent. He had four touchdowns, 15 first downs, and three turnover-worthy throws. He increased his accuracy percentage by nine from last week. That came despite an increased number of attempts and the Packers “playing pass” due to the Vikings’ two-score deficit. Cousins was excellent on the day, particularly when targeting Diggs and Thielen. Each saw 13 targets and they combined for 21 receptions for 259 yards and three touchdowns, further cementing their case as the best WR duo in football.
Though Cousins did have three “turnover-worthy throws”, none of these resulted in an interception, with two being dropped by the defender and the other being negated by a controversial roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews. His only interception came on the Treadwell drop, in which Treadwell tipped the ball up in the air for a Packers’ defender to intercept it. Cousins faced pressure on 28 percent of his dropbacks, slightly higher than last week. It is still a relatively low number given the number of attempts and the Vikings’ injuries on the offensive line.
Perhaps most impressive was Cousins “completed-air-yards” this week. After gaining 63 percent of his yards after the catch last week, Cousins gained an impressive 236 yards through the air this week. Only 44 percent of his yards coming after the catch. Overall, this was a hugely impressive game from Cousins. Turnover-worthy throws remain a concern. But Cousins’ blend of efficiency and explosiveness in a comeback effort is a reason for optimism going forward.
Week 2 – Film Breakdown Statistics
|Accuracy %||75%||Pressure %||28%|
|Touchdowns||4||Play Action %||24%|
|Completed Air Yards||236||First Downs||15|
|Yards After Catch||189||Target Leader||Diggs/Thielen – 13|
|Yards After Catch %||44%||3rd Down Conversion %||31%|
Year-to-Date Film Breakdown Statistics
|Accuracy %||71||Pressure %||27%|
|Touchdowns||6||Play Action %||23%|
|Completed Air Yards||327||First Downs||28|
|Yards After Catch||342||Target Leader||Thielen – 25|
|Yards After Catch %||51%||3rd Down Conversion %||39%|
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