Saying Kirk Cousins "doesn't show up in the playoffs" is completely false

Headlines have been made about Kirk Cousins being a 'great regular season performer' but a bad 'playoff performer.' These claims ignore vital details.

Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings
Green Bay Packers v Minnesota Vikings / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

How many times have we heard "Kirk Cousins is 1-4 in the playoffs" (I have even heard "1-5") this past week? It is the sentence that has been uttered on every sports show and it is blown out of proportion.

First of all, Cousins has not started in six playoff games in his career. Conveniently, that stat includes him taking over for Robert Griffin III as a rookie against the 'Legion of Boom.' We don't normally include quarterbacks taking over during a game as part of their record, but I guess when it fits your narrative you can.

So, as a starting quarterback, Kirk Cousins has a playoff record of 1-3. Is that great? No, but there is important context that must be pointed out.

His first playoff start came in the Wild Card round of the 2015 season against Aaron Rodgers. While Cousins' team lost 35 to 18, Cousins, arguably, outplayed Rodgers. Cousins threw for 119 more yards and matched Rodgers with two total touchdowns (one in the air, one on the ground) with a similar passer rating.

The difference in the game? Cousins was under siege as he was sacked six times compared to Rodgers going down just once.

His second start came with his second team in the Wild Card round during the 2019 season. Cousins went on the road to New Orleans and left with an overtime win after throwing a game-winning touchdown. He also outplayed Brees as he threw for 34 more yards and both threw one touchdown, but Brees also threw a pick.

The third start was the week after against the San Francisco 49ers. San Fran's starter was Jimmy Garoppolo who they often had to manage with Kyle Shanahan's run-heavy. play-action scheme. Cousins and the Vikings lost 27-10 against the eventual NFC champion—near Super Bowl champ—49ers.

Both quarterbacks threw for under 200 yards (Cousins with 40 more) with one touchdown and one pick. And yet again, Cousins was sacked six times against what was—and still is—a relentless 49ers defensive front.

And finally, the most recent start came during the Wild Card round during the 2022 season. There is no way around the result of this one; the whole Vikings team was dead that day after posting a 13-4 regular-season record. Cousins was outplayed by Daniel Jones, simple as that. However, it is worth mentioning that Kirko went 31 for 39 with 273 yards and one passing touchdown to go with one rushing touchdown.

That game also didn't end in a pretty way for the Vikings' offense. If you don't know what I am talking about then look it up.

Kirk Cousins is being judged unfairly in his five playoff games

Listen, the record is what it is. Ultimately, the only thing that matters is winning or losing, not how your stats look. Going 1-3 is not ideal in win-or-go-home scenarios.

However, saying Kirk Cousins, individually, has been bad in the playoffs is completely false. Just look at his combined stats as a starter in the playoffs.

  • 4 games
  • 100/145 (69%)
  • 1,016 passing yards
  • 5 passing TDs
  • 2 rushing TDs
  • 1 interception
  • 1 lost fumble

And you can also throw in that he has been sacked 14 times.

So, if you are going to say that Kirk Cousins is a good regular-season performer then you have to say he is a good postseason performer. His completion percentage and touchdown-to-interception ratio are both higher in the postseason and his yards per game are on par with his career.

Next time you hear someone mention that Cousins doesn't show up in playoff games, refer them to these facts—they are impossible to deny.