Kirk Cousins entered Sunday knowing he might very well be playing his last game as a member of the Washington Redskins. He’s been slapped with the franchise tag two years in a row, and there’s a chance he’ll get tagged again, but his performance in Week 17 is certainly going to leave a sour taste in the collective mouth of the Washington front office.
Cousins finished the 18-10 loss with the following line: 20 of 37, 158 yards, 0 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 3 sacks. His passer rating was an atrocious 31.1.
Per Pro-Football-Reference, it was the lowest passer rating Cousins has ever posted in a game in which he attempted at least 15 passes. His previous worst was in the 2013 season finale, when he posted a 31.8 — also on the road against the New York Giants. The next worst was a home game in 2014, when he posted a 53.0, against the Giants.
But here’s the difference between Cousins’ showing on Sunday and some of his other statistically bad games: The interceptions were all his fault, the incompletions were mostly his fault, the sacks were mostly his fault and the numbers really tell the whole tale of the game.
Cousins has fallen victim to tip-interceptions frequently in his career. Every quarterback has it happen to them, but it’s always seemed like Cousins has had particularly bad luck in that regard. If he throws a perfect pass to an open receiver, but the receiver allows it bounce off his hands into the hands of a defender, Cousins takes the interception through no fault of his own.
That wasn’t the case for this game. This game was Cousins somehow not seeing defenders, or throwing off his back foot, or trying to make throws he couldn’t make or just plain missing throws. He underthrew Josh Doctson and almost got picked off a fourth time. He wasn’t on the same page as his receivers and missed them on several occasions.
He ran in a touchdown, which isn’t factored into his passer rating, and he made several spectacular throws into tight areas that led to small gains, but that’s about the most complimentary you can really be of him after that game.
In the 48 starts he’s made since taking over as the full-time starter three seasons ago, Cousins has surpassed 200 yards 40 times. His 158 yards on Sunday were the second-lowest total of those three seasons, with the only lower total being the 151 yards he put up against the Los Angeles Chargers three weeks earlier.
In other words, Cousins appears to have had his worst game as a Redskin in what very well might have been his last game as a Redskin. One game shouldn’t mean much when it comes to contract negotiations, especially when that one game had no impact on the team’s playoff position, but this game will surely be used against him — if not by the Redskins or other suitors, than surely by critics elsewhere.