Cousins was playing scared
A lot of the blame for the Vikings losing on Sunday is going to be aimed towards Kirk Cousins. All week, people are going to bring up the same old narratives of he makes too much money, he can’t beat good teams, and he’s not a franchise quarterback.
So far this season, these are all valid arguments to make. However, it’s very hard for any quarterback in the NFL to be successful when he has a defender in his face almost immediately after he gets the ball snapped into his hands.
During Minnesota’s first three games this year, Cousins was sacked just twice by opposing defenses. It seemed like the Vikings’ offensive line was potentially taking steps in the right direction.
Then came Sunday when Cousins was sacked a whopping six times by Chicago’s defense. Minnesota’s quarterback barely had time to blink, let alone look downfield for an open receiver, before a Bears pass rusher was in his face.
The consistent pressure Cousins was facing all day likely played a factor in his decision making this week. Instead of waiting an extra second or two for a route to develop down the field, the Vikings quarterback was just trying to get the ball out of his hands as quickly as he could to avoid the Chicago pass rush.
In his first three games this season, Cousins attempted 21 passes that traveled at least 10 yards (33 percent of his total attempts). On Sunday, only four of his 36 pass attempts traveled 10 yards or more (11 percent).
The run game wasn’t working for Minnesota this week and they needed more production from Cousins. However, the Vikings didn’t do their quarterback any favors with all the pressure they allowed the Bears’ defense to generate.
Minnesota’s offensive line will have the opportunity to rebound next week against the New York Giants. But if the Vikings’ blockers give up a ton of pressure again, don’t expect Cousins’ play to get any better.