Looking back on Kirk Cousins' historic pace in 2023 before injury

Before Kirk Cousins went down with a season-ending injury, he was on pace to put up numbers that would have broken every single-season passing record in Atlanta Falcons history.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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New Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins was on pace to have better stats than any quarterback in the league in 2023 before suffering a torn Achilles in week eight.

When looking at the pace he was on if he had played all 17 games, Cousins would have won MVP, made the Pro Bowl, and made first-team All-Pro. Not only that but his stats would have broken every major single-season record for the Atlanta Falcons.

Kirk Cousins was on a historic pace before season-ending injury

This is the biggest "coulda, woulda, shoulda" topic but it is still worth looking at. Looking at Kirk Cousins' on-pace stats helps to paint a picture of how great the quarterback was playing before suffering his brutal injury a week before he was going to take on the Atlanta Falcons.

Cousins' injury came in week eight against the Green Bay Packers. His team was on the road and in the fourth quarter Cousins dropped back and gave an exaggerated pump fake to the left and when his right foot stepped back his Achilles gave way—ending his season.

This put an abrupt stop to his fantastic season. He ended with the following stats:

  • 216/311 (70%)
  • 2,331 passing yards
  • 18 passing TDs
  • 5 interceptions
  • 103.8 passer rating

For seven and three-quarters games, that is impressive. That becomes even more true when you look at what those numbers would have looked like over 17 games:

  • 459/661 (69%)
  • 4,953 passing yards
  • 38 passing TDs
  • 11 interceptions
  • 103.4 passer rating

Cousins would have led the league in completions (Dak Prescott - 410), pass attempts (Sam Howell - 612), passing yards (Tua Tagovailoa - 4,624), and tied for the most passing touchdowns (Dak Prescott).

When you look at the Falcons' record books Cousins would have been the new single-season leader in completions (2013 Matt Ryan - 439), attempts (2013 Ryan - 651), passing yards (2016 Ryan - 4,944), and tied for most passing touchdowns (2016 Ryan). This does come with an asterisk since Matt Ryan put up those numbers before the NFL added a 17th game.

Nevertheless, this should get anyone excited. The Falcons landed a quarterback who was playing his best ball the last time he was on the field. He now has better overall talent around him and a better offensive line.

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The health of his right leg is going to be a big deal but if he can fully recover then the Falcons will see some historic passing numbers in 2024.

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