The Kirk Cousins Experience always starts out well. In his first start a year ago, Cousins completed 64.4 percent of his 45 pass attempts for 381 yards and three touchdowns, making for a solid outing even with a pair of interceptions thrown in.
Unfortunately, his play immediately cratered, to the point where the talk of a quarterback controversy in D.C. died down at least a little bit -- at least for a few months. And, after Cousins' disastrous performance Thursday, we might be witnessing a similar scenario this season.
Cousins looked absolutely terrific in relief of Robert Griffin two weeks ago, and then more than held his own in a shootout against the Eagles last week. Unfortunately, all of the bad traits Cousins had held at bay in his first two outings came out in full force Thursday, as he made poor throw after poor throw to sink his team.
Cousins had four passes picked off Thursday, and none of them were particularly close. He faced some pressure, but the Giants weren't exactly lighting him up; of his four interceptions only one came while he was facing any sort of a pass rush.
Even when Cousins wasn't turning the ball over -- and he nearly did so two additional times in the third quarter, when he had passes tipped and nearly picked off -- his accuracy was a mess in this game. He had some success throwing short and in the middle of the field, but was way off on the longer throws to the sidelines. As you can see below, Niles Paul had a terrific opportunity to score on a long touchdown down the left sideline early, but Cousins waited a beat too long and overthrew him by about 5 yards.
Cousins' mechanics were a mess in this game, as you can see on his second interception of the day. He faced a tough situation with Washington's offense starting deep in their own territory, but he did not exactly have a pass rush breathing down his neck on this pass. He strangely lets his momentum carry him backwards, and ends up throwing a lob off his back foot that is easily taken away by the safety playing over the top.
(For a collection of some of Cousins' other lowlights, as well as his two best throws of the night, head to this YouTube playlist.)
We whiffed on Cousins this week, big time. We assumed he had put his accuracy issues behind him and would put up big numbers in a rare Thursday night shootout. The Giants held up their end of the bargain, dropping 45 points, but Cousins' erratic play put the Redskins in a big hole.
And, Fantasy owners who put in big FAAB bids on Cousins last week might be in line for some more disappointing performances. He has to take on the Seahawks in Week 5 before traveling to Arizona in Week 6, a pair of tough matchups that could see more of the same from Cousins, who has now thrown an interception on 4.7 percent of his NFL passes, a number in line with the likes of Danny Wuerffel, John Skelton, Luke McCown and Tommy Maddox.
We're certainly not ready to write Cousins off just yet, but Thursday was a nice encapsulation of his flaws as a passer; flaws he hasn't quite put behind him yet.