Kirk Cousins Continues to Be Haunted by Monday Night Football

Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) on the sidelines against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins must feel trapped in Groundhog Day as the curse of Monday Night Football continues to haunt him. After the 24-7 loss Monday night in Philadelphia to the Eagles, Cousins’ stats continue to dip below his career averages, and he is now 2-10 in MNF. The only two wins both came against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in 2020 and 2021.

Cousins Against the Eagles

Prior to Monday night, Vikings fans everywhere held their breath and said their prayers headed into MNF. Cousins played well in week 1 against the win over Green Bay. He completed 23 of 32 attempted passes for 277 yards for 2 touchdowns and no interceptions.

However, it’s no secret that the highly paid QB struggles in prime time. Their prayers were not answered as Cousins was 27-46 for 221 yards and 1 TD and a shocking 3 interceptions.

A sure sign that the offense wasn’t firing on all cylinders is the fact that Cousins led the team in rushing with 20 yards. However, with an offense full of weapons like Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison there’s no reason your QB should be your lead rusher.

Cousins doesn’t bear all the blame, though. Like with all losses, there’s enough to go around. Coach Kevin O’Connell shouldered most of the responsibility post-game saying that the play calling was not up to snuff and those errors left Cousins vulnerable.

There were other mistakes too – Irv Smith dropped a crucial ball and Justin Jefferson blew a route. Overall, this was just a tough game for the Vikings.

Ghosts of Mondays Past

Taking a look at Cousins’ stats for his MNF performances paints a shockingly different “Captain Kirk” than is seen during most other games. 

Date Opponent Score Comp/Att Yards TDs INTs QB Rating
9/19/22 @Eagles L 24-7 27/46 221 1 3 51.1
12/20/21 @Chicago W 17-9 12/24 87 2 1 69.3
11/16/20 @Chicago W 19-13 25/36 292 2 1 100.7
12/23/19 @Green Bay L 23-10 16/31 122 1 1 58.8
12/2/19 @Seattle  L 37-30 22/38 276 2 1 87.2
12/10/18 @Seattle L 21-7 20/33 208 1 0 89.0
10/23/17 @Philadelphia* L 34-24 30/40 303 3 1 110.7
10/2/17 @Kansas City* L 29-20 14/24 220 2 0 116.7
12/19/16 @Carolina* L 26-15 32/47 315 0 1 77.9
9/12/16 @Pittsburgh* L 38-16 30/43 329 0 2 72.7
12/7/15 @Dallas* L 19-16 22/31 219 1 0 101.4
10/6/14 @Seattle* L 27-17 21/36 283 2 0 102.0
Kirk Cousins Stats for MNF Games

*As a quarterback for the Washington Commanders

Deep Dive into Cousins Stats

Cousins has thrown at least one interception in his past 5 Monday Night Football games and has a career 17/11 TD to INT ratio. His completion percentage for Mondays is 63.25 which is 4 points lower than his Sunday percentage of 67.3%. His QB rating obviously takes a hit as well, coming in 15 points lower – 85.25 vs. 100.00 on Sundays. In addition, his passing is less effective with an average of 20 yards less per Monday game – 239.6 compared to 258.2 on Sundays. 

Kirk Cousin’s struggles on Monday Night Football make it hard to dispute the impact of mentality. If he is to break the MNF curse, he is going to have to get “out of his head” about his ability to perform in primetime. O’Connell has made it his mission to allow his quarterback to play with a “quiet mind”. We’ll see if this improves throughout the season.

Anna C. Knight

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