Somebody was instrumental in the Minnesota Vikings historic comeback against the Indianapolis Colts last weekend, but it certainly wasn’t quarterback Kirk Cousins, according to one prominent NFL analyst.
On this week’s Pro Football Focus Week 15 podcast, Sam Monson explained, “People are complaining about Kirk Cousins’ [PFF grade] in this game. Cousins didn’t do that much in this game. Like he didn’t start driving this comeback with a bunch of big-time throws and amazing play and stuff.”
Cousins fired up a 59.7 PFF grade versus Indianapolis, which is equivalent to the performances of Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan all year in 2022.
Monson’s “Kirk didn’t play that well” nugget arrived a couple of days after an NFL.com analyst echoed the same sentiment — but during the Vikings comeback. NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal tweeted late in the 4th Quarter, “It is very Kirk Cousins to not be playing that well during a 33-point comeback.”
The Vikings trailed 33-0 at halftime at U.S. Bank Stadium in Week 15 and wound up winning 39-36 — the largest comeback in NFL history, besting a 30-year-old record held by the Buffalo Bills in 1992 over the Houston Oilers. En route to the comeback, Cousins delivered 417 passing yards and 4 touchdowns in the 2nd Half alone. The yardage mark was the most by an NFL quarterback in the 2nd Half of a game in 45 years.
NFL Analyst on Kirk Cousins in Comeback: “He Didn’t Do That Much.”
Still, some otherwise credible analysts like Monson and Rosenthal seemingly glanced around and thought, “How is this happening? The quarterback isn’t doing anything.”
Too, Cousins has conducted these types of heroics before. His famous catchphrase, “You Like That,” was created during a 24-point comeback versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the then-Commanders QB led Washington back from the depths of halftime despair in 2016.
The Vikings passer also leads the NFL in game-winning drives with seven in 2022. The mark is just one short of the NFL record in a single season, set by Matthew Stafford with the Detroit Lions in 2016. Of course, Cousins’ pursuit of the single-season game-winning drive statistic is aided by oodles of close Vikings games, but when games are on the line in 2022, the man is deadly — in a good way.
In addition to the Monson + Rosenthal comments and the awful PFF score, Cousins was assigned a 32.9 QBR from ESPN for the Colts game — a number in line with Davis Mills’ production throughout the entirety of 2022. So, if you’ve got a bingo board, that’s four sources explaining to the masses that Cousins wasn’t very front-and-center last weekend for the Vikings mammoth comeback. A twilight zone, indeed.
Cousins gets a crack at more late-game theatrics on Christmas Eve versus the New York Giants. The teams meet at U.S. Bank Stadium on Saturday, and the Vikings are favored by 3.5 points. Historically, Cousins has struggled against New York, tabulating 10 career touchdown passes to 14 interceptions versus the NFC foe.
The Vikings and Giants could also meet on Wildcard Weekend in January.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).