Inside NFL: You like this? Kirk Cousins an MVP candidate


By ROB MAADDI - AP Pro Football Writer



Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins reacts after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins reacts after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)


Kirk Cousins answered the critics with one exceptional performance after another and another.

The Minnesota Vikings aren’t one-dimensional anymore thanks to Cousins, who has revived the team’s passing game following a rough September. He has thrown for 976 yards, 10 touchdowns, only one interception and has completed 75.6% of his passes in October.

Cousins became the first quarterback in NFL history to post at least 300 yards with a passer rating of 135 or higher in three consecutive games. He now leads the league in passer rating (114.3) just three weeks after wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs expressed frustration with the passing offense.

Cousins is in the second season of a fully guaranteed, three-year, $84 million deal that’s been questioned since he signed it. But his emergence coupled with Minnesota’s strong ground attack led by Dalvin Cook makes the offense quite dangerous. If Cousins keeps it up, he’ll be an MVP candidate.

Here’s a look inside more numbers entering Week 8:

AMAZING A-ROD: Aaron Rodgers threw for 429 yards with five touchdowns, ran for a score and posted a perfect 158.3 passer rating in Green Bay’s 42-24 win over Oakland. Rodgers joined Norm Van Brocklin and Mark Rypien as the only players with with at least 400 yards passing, five TDs passes and a rushing TD in a game.

Rodgers also became the fastest quarterback to reach 350 career TDs passes, reaching that total in his 172nd game to surpass Drew Brees.

ACTION JACKSON: Lamar Jackson already has 576 yards rushing in Baltimore’s first seven games. He’s the second quarterback in history with 500 yards rushing in each of his first two seasons, joining Cam Newton.

GOLD RUSH: The 49ers are 6-0 for the first time since 1990, when they started 10-0. They’re the first team since the 2005 Patriots to allow seven or fewer points and 200 or fewer net yards of offense in three consecutive games.

GOING THE DISTANCE: Cordarrelle Patterson had a 102-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in Chicago’s loss to New Orleans. He has seven kick returns for TDs. Only Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington had more. Both had eight.

TOTALLY DOMINANT: The Patriots (7-0) lead the league in points scored per game (31.9) and points allowed per game (6.9). Their point differential is plus-175.

MR. CONSISTENCY: Russell Wilson has 16 TD passes and no interceptions in his past seven road games and his streak of eight consecutive road games with a passer rating of 110 or higher is the longest such streak in NFL history.

NO GHOSTS: Sam Darnold’s passer rating was 3.6 against the Patriots, lowest in the NFL since Vince Ferragamo’s 2.8 for the Rams in 1984.

BALL SECURITY: The Cardinals have only three turnovers, fewest in the NFL.

MINSHEW MANIA: Rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew is the first player with 10-plus TDs passing and two or fewer interceptions in his first seven career games since 1950.

NIO FLASH: Melvin Gordon has run for just 81 yards on 36 carries in his first three games for the Chargers after holding out.

THE 12s: The Seahawks are just 12-10 at home since 2017.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins reacts after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2019/10/web1_123786931-013d697bc30e44d699a3ef8ff6ce0f05.jpgMinnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins reacts after a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

By ROB MAADDI

AP Pro Football Writer