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The Kirk Blame-O-Meter: Cousins shoulders much of the responsibility for this debacle

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Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is sacked by Indianapolis Colts’ DeForest Buckner (99) for a safety during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

There have been times in Kirk Cousins’ three seasons as the Vikings’ starter where he’s likely taken too much of the blame when things go wrong. That’s why we came up with the Blame-O-Meter to try to be as fair as possible to Cousins.
However, the Week 2 report card on Cousins, following the Vikings’ embarrassing 28-11 loss on Sunday in Indianapolis, is going to be extremely harsh because it should be.
Here’s where we landed last week after the Vikings lost their opener against Green Bay at U.S. Bank Stadium. 
This week? Let’s get going.
The numbers: Cousins finished 11-of-26 for 113 yards with no touchdowns, three interceptions, three sacks and a 15.9 passer rating.
The reality: A week ago, we put much of the blame for the Vikings’ 43-34 loss to Green Bay on a putrid performance by Minnesota’s defense. The defense wasn’t good again, but Cousins was Christian Ponder awful once he got through the Vikings’ first series. Those are the plays that are all scripted by offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
How bad was Kirk when it mattered? For the second consecutive week, Cousins led the Vikings to points on their opening drive. This time it was a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took 5 minutes, 59 seconds and ended with a 21-yard field goal by Dan Bailey. The Vikings had a third-and-goal from the Colts 3 but Cousins’ pass for Kyle Rudolph was incomplete. Cousins was 3-of-6 for 31 yards on that series. The remainder of the first half he was 3-of-11 for 28 yards with 22 of those coming on a completion to Justin Jefferson on late drive that ended with Cousins throwing an interception on a Hail Mary pass as time expired. Cousins was intercepted twice in the half and finished with a 6.4 passer rating as Minnesota trailed 15-3 after 30 minutes. Cousins also was guilty of a poorly thrown pass to Bisi Johnson that was tipped by the wide receiver and intercepted by Colts cornerback Kenny Moore II on the Vikings’ opening possession of the third quarter.
Not Kirk’s fault but … : The Vikings’ offensive line continues to have issues. I know you’re shocked by this information. Cousins was sacked for a safety for the second consecutive week but this time Cousins has to take plenty of the blame. Last week, the Packers sent a corner blitz from Cousins’ blindside and he was sacked in the end zone. Cousins wasn’t without blame but the fact he doesn’t sense pressure from the blind side is nothing new. Well, on Sunday he again found himself in the end zone looking to pass as things broke down and this time he was too late in starting to move. Defensive tackle DeForest Buckner got credit for a sack that Cousins saw coming. Cousins did fall out of the end zone but the play already had been whistled down. The Colts got the ball back and got a field goal on the ensuing possession, giving them five points and a nine-point lead because of the sack.
How were the stats padded? Cousins found a way to do this despite having a horrendous game. He completed all four of his passes for 52 yards on the Vikings’ 10th and final drive, which ended with Cook’s meaningless 3-yard touchdown run. Take out that drive and Cousins was 7-of-22 for 61 yards. That gives him a passer rating of 1.52. Last week against the Packers, Cousins went 15-of-17 for 193 yards and two touchdowns as the Vikings scored on their final three drives. In the first seven drives, Cousins was 4-of-8 for 66 yards with an interception.
Who else benefited from the stat padding? Wide receiver Bisi Johnson caught a 24-yard pass from Cousins on the final drive and Jefferson caught passes for 24 and 17 yards.
How bad was it? Cousins’ completion and yardage totals aren’t career lows since he became a starter in 2015, but that is only because the ball was taken out of his hands in Week 1 last season. In a 28-12 victory over Atlanta, Cousins was 8-of-10 for 98 yards. In other words, he did what was asked of him that day. Sunday was another story. Cousins’ 15.9 passer rating was a career-worst. His previous low was a 31.1 rating in Washington’s 18-10 loss to the New York Giants on Dec. 31, 2017. Cousins’ three picks were the most he has thrown in a game since joining the Vikings in 2018.
The Kirk Blame-O-Meter says: Here’s how this will work. Zero means Cousins has no responsibility and a 10 means it’s all his fault. So where does the Blame-O-Meter fall for Sunday’s loss? We’re giving Kirk a 9. There wasn’t a moment that he wasn’t dreadful on Sunday and when you are eating up $21 million of your team’s salary cap that’s inexcusable.