Washington’s Kirk Cousins Beasts - NFL 2016 Week 11 Passing Statistics and More

By Chris Malumphy

Washington Redskins fans should take note that 2016 Week 11 marks the date in which quarterback Kirk Cousins showed that he indeed deserves a big, big contract extension. I'm not sure that we can conclude that Cousins is a great quarterback, but he has surely demonstrated by now that he is a franchise quarterback. In an impressive beatdown of the Green Bay Packers, Cousins easily out-dueled one of the better quarterbacks in the game, Aaron Rodgers, in a match in which Rodgers had one of his best performances of the year. Rodgers completed 63.4% of his passes for 351 yards, 8.6 yards per attempt and 13.5 yards per completion for three touchdowns with no interceptions earning a rating of 115.0. Nevertheless, he wound up on the losing end of a 42-24 battle because Cousins was even better: 70% completions for 375 yards, 12.5 per attempt, 17.9 per completion, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a near perfect 145.8 rating. Cousins' 12.5 average yards gained per attempt was impressive compared to the next highest totals for the week: the Colts' Andrew Luck 9.4 and the Browns' Cody Kessler 9.1. Cousins doesn't get sacked often, gets the ball downfield, completes a high percentage of his passes and has significantly cut down on his interceptions over the past two years, tossing 46 touchdown passes to 18 interceptions since the beginning of 2015. If the Redskins don't want him, most other teams will take him over what they have with pleasure. It's time for Washington to pony up.

The Miami Dolphins are riding running back Jay Ajayi and a strong defense to victory. But the emergeant ground attack has also resulted in markedly improved play by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is a fantastic athlete, but has been a very inconsistent passer, at least until recently. Since he no longer needs to be the focal point of the offense in order for his team to win, Tannehill can now play within his abilities. During the Dolphins' five game win streak, Tannehill has thrown six touchdown passes with just one interceptions and has been sacked only seven times, four coming in this week's victory over the Rams in which Tannehill led a fourth quarter charge to overcome a ten-point deficit to win 14-10.

The Rams' Jared Goff, the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, finally got onto the field for the first time during Week 11. Until then, he had been completely overshadowed by the play of the number two choice, the Eagles' Carson Wentz who got off to a terrific start early in the season but has faltered since then. Over his past six games, Wentz has thrown only four touchdown passes to six interceptions and has topped a QB Rating of 90 once. Neither rookie did well during Week 11 losses. We’ll keep Cowboys' fourth rounder Dak Prescott out of the discussion for now.

Here's a question for the faltering Arizona Cardinals. Who will be your quarterback in 2017: Carson Palmer, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Robert Griffin or ????

The best passing performances during Week 11 were: the Redskins' Kirk Cousins with a 145.8 rating, the Cowboys' Dak Prescott 127.2, the Raiders' Derek Carr 117.0, the Packers' Aaron Rodgers 115.0, the Patriots' Tom Brady 114.6 and the Titans' Marcus Mariota 106.2. Brady threw four touchdown passes while Cousins, Prescott, Carr and Rodgers tossed three each. Of that group, Brady actually threw for the fewest yards (280) and lowest completion rate (60%) even though he had the most touchdown passes.

The worst ratings during Week 11 were compiled by the Browns' Cody Kessler 52.1, the Bengals' Andy Dalton 57.0, the Eagles' Carson Wentz 61.2, the Cardinals' Carson Palmer 62.3, the Rams' Jared Goff 65.8, the Bills' Tyrod Taylor 70.9 and the Panthers' Cam Newton 71.8. Among that group, only two came out of their games victorious. Taylor and the Bills won because the snake bit Bengals and quarterback Andy Dalton played even worse. But somewhat amazingly, Cam Newton came out on the winning side despite completing just 42.4% of his passes for a meager 198 yards while his opponent Drew Brees of the Saints completed 79.5% of his throws for 285 yards as Carolina beat New Orleans 23-20. Sometimes the Panthers seem to win both because of AND despite Cam Newton, a superior athlete who has yet to put his passing game completely together. Newton has thrown just 11 touchdown passes all season, along with seven interceptions and four of those touchdowns came in one game against the lowly San Francisco 49ers. In his other eight contests, Newton has thrown seven touchdowns and six interceptions and has broken a rating of 90 just once. That is not winning quarterback play and it is holding back a team with such a strong defense. Newton also gets sacked more than average, as do many quarterbacks who also like to run with the ball.

Completing a high percentage of passes doesn't always lead to victory. In a Week 11 oddity, the two quarterbacks with the highest complete rates (the Saints' Drew Brees 79.5%, the Chiefs' Alex Smith 77.4%) both lost while the quarterback with lowest (the Panthers' Cam Newton 42.4%) won.

Former Cowboys' draft guru Gil Brandt noted that three teams (Lions, Giants and Redskins) have had all of their games within one score in the fourth quarter this season. Each of those teams has won more than lost (Giants 7-3, Redskins 6-3-1, Lions 6-4) so kudos are in order for Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and Kirk Cousins as well as the coaches and the rest of the players for those teams. But close games are sometimes won by luck, a bad bounce, a referee's call, an untimely penalty or mistake. The Giants and Redskins currently trail the Cowboys (9-1) in their division while the Lions are tied with the Vikings at 6-4. So each team may need to step up their game even further to avoid being tossed out of the playoff picture if their luck doesn't hold.

What do the Chicago Bears and the Cleveland Browns have in common? Berry, berry bad offensive lines that can’t protect a quarterback for the life of them. Consider that the Bears have lost Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and backup Connor Shaw to injury this year while the Browns have lost Robert Griffin, Josh McCown and Cody Kessler. Kessler has been knocked out of three starts, twice with concussions. Neither team is happy with their quarterback situation, but maybe, just maybe, they need to put some effort into improving their offensive lines. Both Hoyer and Shaw previously played for the Browns as well, ouch. Amazingly, of the 35 quarterbacks with 100 plus attempts this season, the Bears have the quarterbacks with both the lowest percentage sacked (Hoyer 1.5%) and the highest (Cutler 11.0%). One of the downside's to Cutler's game is that he is a sack machine.

The woeful Browns lost 70 yards on eight sacks by the Steelers in Week 11 with Cody Kessler going down four times for 34 yards in losses and Josh McCown being sacked 4 times for 36 more lost yards. The 70 yards lost attempting to pass was MORE THAN TWICE the 33 yards the Browns gained rushing. OOOuuuch! What's worse, the Steelers had one of the worst pass rushing defenses in the league with only 13 sacks in their prior nine games. Are the Browns an 0-16 team in the making. The sad thing is, if they should luck out and win a game or two, they will probably lose the opportunity to draft the best available quarterback who could help fix this mess; or more probably, the opportunity to trade down as they have down multiple times in recent years. The Browns brought all this on themselves by letting center Alex Mack (Falcons) and tackle Mitchell Schwartz (Chiefs) walk during free agency. An injury to guard Joel Bitonio and the lack of development by 2015 first round pick Cameron Irving has been too much to overcome for a team that had already lost 40% of its line and two of its three best linemen. While the Browns were sacked eight times in Week 11, Sports Illustrated's MMQB said the Chiefs' Mitchell Schwartz played his best game of year and didn’t allow a hit or a pressure.

While we're on the subject of sacks, the quarterbacks who have been the easiest to take down thus far in 2016 have been the Bears' Jay Cutler 11.0%, the Browns' Cody Kessler 9.0%, the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick 9.0%, the Colts' Andrew Luck 8.5%, the Browns' Josh McCown 8.3%, and the Bills' Tyrod Taylor 7.8%

The quarterbacks who have been hardest to sack are the Bears' Brian Hoyer 1.5%, the Raiders' Derek Carr 3.0%, the Giants' Eli Manning 3.0%, the Redskins' Kirk Cousins 3.5%, the Saints' Drew Brees 3.7%, and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger 3.8%. In Week 11, the quarterbacks with the most pass attempts without being sacked were the Giants' Eli Manning and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger 36; the Jaguars' Blake Bortles 35; and the Chiefs' Alex Smith 31. Much of the Giants success in being 7-3 so far in 2016 is the team's ability to protect the quarterback and Manning's ability to get rid of the ball before being sacked. During the team's five game winning streak, Manning has been sacked just three times and only 12 times all season. Just compare that to the 35 sacks taken by the Colts' Andrew Luck, who will miss Week 12 due to a concussion.

Quarterbacks who've missed time this year or been knocked out of games due to injuries include: Tony Romo, Teddy Bridgewater, Robert Griffin, Jimmy Garappollo, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Charlie Whitehurst, Trevor Siemian, Jay Cutler, Cam Newton, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Alex Smith, Jameis Winston, Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw, and now Andrew Luck. That points to the importance of having a decent second string quarterback, or in some cases even a third and fourth string.

On topics unrelated to quarterback play, I noticed that the Raiders and the Texans averaged 53 and 52 yards on three punts each on Monday night in Mexico City which is 7,380 feet above sea level, about 2,000 feet higher than the mile-high field in Denver. It just made me wonder how far some of the all-time great punters like Raiders Ray Guy or Chiefs Jerrel Wilson could kick at that elevation. Even further, say it was a Raiders' home game in Mexico in Al Davis’ day. Pretend those rumors about filling the balls with “helium” were true. How far would a Ray Guy punt have gone then? It's pure whimsy. Guy was one of, if not the greatest punter of all times (Wilson also has a solid claim), so the kick would go far in any case. Just fun to think about. And I haven't even mentioned hang-time.

Three Colts had receptions of 49 or more yards in Week 11: Phillip Dorsett 50, T.Y. Hilton 50 and Frank Gore 49.

While the Dolphins' Jay Ajayi is an emerging force in the running game, the Browns' Isaiah Crowell is headed in the opposite direction. Crowell had 408 yards rushing during Weeks 1-5 but only 145 yards in Weeks 6-11. He’s played each week and the Browns haven’t had bye, so the decline is precipitous.

Who would have ever thought that Jerry Jones would build another Cowboys' juggernaut? Quite an impressive team. Quite a quarterback situation.

2016 Week 11 Passing Statistics
Doug BaldwinSeahawksEagles11100.01515.015.01100.000.000158.30W 26 - 15
Kirk CousinsRedskinsPackers302170.037512.517.9310.000.0211145.84W 42 - 24
Dak PrescottCowboysRavens362775.03018.411.138.300.012127.216W 27 - 17
Derek CarrRaidersTexans312167.72959.514.039.713.200117.0-2W 27 - 20
Aaron RodgersPackersRedskins412663.43518.613.537.300.0220115.033L 24 - 42
Tom BradyPatriots49ers402460.02807.011.7410.000.017114.612W 30 - 17
Marcus MariotaTitansColts382565.82907.611.625.300.0536106.229L 17 - 24
Drew BreesSaintsPanthers443579.52856.58.124.512.332199.30L 20 - 23
Alex SmithChiefsBuccaneers312477.42618.410.913.213.20099.010L 17 - 19
Sam BradfordVikingsCardinals282071.41696.08.413.600.022498.7-1W 30 - 24
Joe FlaccoRavensCowboys352365.72697.711.712.900.01298.46L 17 - 27
Matthew StaffordLionsJaguars332472.72788.411.600.000.031597.80W 26 - 19
Russell WilsonSeahawksEagles311858.12728.815.113.200.01097.819W 26 - 15
Colin Kaepernick49ersPatriots301653.32066.912.926.700.052997.432L 17 - 30
Jameis WinstonBuccaneersChiefs392461.53318.513.812.600.01597.322W 19 - 17
Eli ManningGiantsBears362158.32276.310.825.600.00095.51W 22 - 16
Andrew LuckColtsTitans281553.62629.417.527.113.621194.622W 24 - 17
Ryan TannehillDolphinsRams342470.61725.17.225.912.943089.319W 14 - 10
Brock OsweilerTexansRaiders392666.72436.29.312.612.621381.519L 20 - 27
Jay CutlerBearsGiants301756.72528.414.813.313.343081.53L 16 - 22
Josh McCownBrownsSteelers271451.91184.48.413.700.043675.811L 9 - 24
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelersBrowns362363.91674.67.300.000.00074.70W 24 - 9
Blake BortlesJaguarsLions352262.92025.89.225.725.70073.73L 19 - 26
Cam NewtonPanthersSaints331442.41925.813.713.000.021971.87W 23 - 20
Tyrod TaylorBillsBengals271970.41666.18.700.013.72770.939W 16 - 12
Jared GoffRamsDolphins311754.81344.37.900.000.01965.811L 10 - 14
Carson PalmerCardinalsVikings382052.61985.29.925.325.344363.311L 24 - 30
Carson WentzEaglesSeahawks452351.12184.89.524.424.422361.22L 15 - 26
Andy DaltonBengalsBills432455.82074.88.612.324.71057.010L 12 - 16
Cody KesslerBrownsSteelers14750.01289.118.300.017.143452.12L 9 - 24
Brett HundleyPackersRedskins3133.393.09.000.0133.3002.80L 24 - 42

2016 Passing Statistics Sorted by Pct Sacked
Brian HoyerBears20013467.014457.210.863.000.031.598.0-7
Derek CarrRaiders38525566.228007.311.0205.241.0112.8100.662
Eli ManningGiants38624663.727087.011.0174.4102.6123.088.3-4
Kirk CousinsRedskins38425867.230918.012.0174.471.8143.598.851
Drew BreesSaints42029871.032777.811.0266.281.9163.7106.418
Ben RoethlisbergerSteelers35322864.625247.211.1205.772.0143.896.322
Dak PrescottCowboys31621467.726408.412.3175.420.6144.2108.6141
Joe FlaccoRavens41426062.826436.410.2102.492.2204.680.034
Blake BortlesJaguars41525060.226236.310.5184.3133.1214.880.0213
Brock OsweilerTexans36321659.520615.79.5123.3102.8195.074.989
Tom BradyPatriots20614570.419159.313.2167.810.5115.1123.363
Marcus MariotaTitans35522864.227727.812.2236.582.3195.1100.3272
Ryan FitzpatrickJets29916956.519826.611.782.7134.3175.467.6112
Aaron RodgersPackers41025963.227616.710.7256.171.7245.596.0259
Carson WentzEagles35622563.223396.610.4113.172.0215.684.248
Alex SmithChiefs30220367.220776.910.293.041.3185.691.254
Russell WilsonSeahawks33522166.027148.112.3113.320.6205.699.379
Jameis WinstonBuccaneers37822860.326807.111.8205.3102.6246.088.5101
Trevor SiemianBroncos29117560.120287.011.6124.172.4196.185.035
Matthew StaffordLions35123867.826517.611.1185.151.4236.1101.2126
Blaine Gabbert49ers1508758.08905.910.253.364.0106.369.6172
Philip RiversChargers36922962.128907.812.6205.4113.0256.392.116
Matt RyanFalcons34623668.232479.413.8246.951.4246.5115.169
Case KeenumRams31319161.021696.911.492.9113.5236.876.851
Ryan TannehillDolphins29919765.922917.711.6124.082.7247.491.1110
Andy DaltonBengals36023364.727607.711.8113.161.7297.591.2139
Cam NewtonPanthers31017556.521867.112.5113.572.3257.580.9268
Carson PalmerCardinals37022861.626467.211.6133.5102.7307.583.735
Sam BradfordVikings31121769.821917.010.1123.920.6267.799.8-3
Tyrod TaylorBills29618261.519356.510.6103.441.4257.886.2401
Josh McCownBrowns1226553.37786.412.054.164.9118.366.221
Andrew LuckColts37523662.928277.512.0195.182.1358.593.9246
Colin Kaepernick49ers1628653.111447.113.374.321.2169.085.0260
Cody KesslerBrowns19212665.613697.110.963.121.0199.092.618
Jay CutlerBears1378159.110597.713.142.953.61711.078.124