Kirk Cousins on ‘Monday Night Football’: Winless record filled with plenty of prime-time lowlights

Kirk Cousins’ most famous three words — “You like that?” — would have a very easy answer when it comes to Cousins’ performance on Monday Night Football: No.

Much is made about Cousins’ struggles in prime-time games in general, but it goes to a whole different level on Mondays. He’s 0-9 as a starter on MNF in his career, and his teams haven’t even covered the betting spread in any of those nine games. There have been a few memorably bad moments for Cousins on Monday nights, but mostly, he’s just been consistently poor.

The next chance for Cousins to reverse his apparent Monday night curse comes in Week 10 of the 2020 season against the Bears when the Vikings travel to Chicago. Minnesota looks to be slight favorites, but if Cousins’ past on Monday night is any indication, it could be a rough night for the Vikings. 

Kirk Cousins ‘Monday Night Football’ record

Cousins has an 0-9 record in his NFL career on “Monday Night Football” entering 2020 Week 10.

The worst opponent for Cousins on Monday night has been Seattle, which has beaten him on three separate occasions. Cousins was 0-6 on Monday night for Washington before joining the Vikings. 

Kirk Cousins’ stats on ‘Monday Night Football’

Cousins’ stats on “Monday Night Football” aren’t quite as bad as his 0-9 record, but they aren’t great. These are the notable Cousins stats on Monday nights entering Week 10 of the 2020 season.

Cousins’ career completion percentage is 66.8 percent, so he’s more than two percentage points worse on Monday nights. His career 2.1 TD:INT ratio is also slightly better than his 2.0 TD:INT ratio on Mondays. And Cousins has thrown for 257 yards per game in his career overall, a bit more than his Monday night average. 

Kirk Cousins on ‘Monday Night Football,’ by the game

Pregame betting lines, courtesy of Pro Football Reference, listed in parentheses.

2014 Week 5: Seattle 27, Washington 17 (Seattle -7)

Washington’s 2014 team was still Robert Griffin III’s, but barely, as RG3 only played about half that season due to injury. Cousins and a 1-3 Washington team didn’t really have a chance in his Monday night debut against a Seattle team that would go on to the Super Bowl.

The Seahawks jumped out to a 17-0 lead. Cousins actually had one of his better Monday night performances, throwing for 283 yards and two touchdowns, albeit against a defense playing with a big lead. It was a big night for DeSean Jackson, who caught five passes for 159 yards and a score from Cousins. 

2015 Week 13: Dallas 19, Washington 16 (Washington -3.5)

This was a down year for Dallas, which entered the game at 4-7. There wasn’t much to play for with both teams under .500. Washington tried to establish a running game in this one but didn’t find much success.

Cousins did come through clutch in the fourth quarter, leading a drive to tie the game at 16 on a touchdown throw to DeSean Jackson with 44 seconds left. But Matt Cassel got the Cowboys in position for a long Dan Bailey field goal to win it before the buzzer.

2016 Week 1: Pittsburgh 38, Washington 16 (Pittsburgh -2.5)

Cousins led Washington to two early field goals to take the lead here before Pittsburgh rattled off 24 unanswered points. It turned out Cousins was hit or miss in this game. Twice, he was intercepted, but those both came when the game was relatively out of reach. The bigger blow for Cousins was throwing short of the sticks on a failed fourth-down conversion in the second quarter.

It was pretty much the Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown show on this night, with Brown catching eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

2016 Week 15: Carolina 26, Washington 15 (Washington -7)

This might’ve been the most costly loss of Cousins’ Monday night career with Washington. Favored by a touchdown and in position to grab control of a wild card spot, there wasn’t an excuse for playing poorly against a bad Carolina team.

Cousins wound up with 315 yards passing, but garbage time helped that total. He was also intercepted by Kurt Coleman in the first quarter, and then on the first play of the second half while only down four, Cousins was sacked and lost a fumble. Carolina got the ball at the 1-yard line and cashed in on the second play to go up two scores.

2017 Week 4: Kansas City 29, Washington 20 (Kansas City -6.5)

This was that Chiefs team that had a terrific season with Alex Smith before he himself ended up in Washington as Cousins’ replacement. Kansas City had won its first three games in 2017 and was the easy favorite here.

Cousins was fine this Monday, throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns, but he only attempted 24 passes as Washington’s run game couldn’t help keep the offense on the field.

2017 Week 7: Philadelphia 34, Washington 24 (Philadelphia -5)

The Eagles were 5-1, while Washington entered at 3-2. Philly was flying high behind Carson Wentz to enter this game as favorites at home.

Cousins threw threw three touchdowns in this game (two to Jordan Reed and one to Chris Thompson), and he went 30-of-40 for 303 yards. He was intercepted once, but that didn’t happen until the Eagles were up 14 points midway through the fourth. Cousins also didn’t get much blocking help, taking four sacks.

2018 Week 14: Seattle 21, Minnesota 7 (Seattle -3)

Cousins and the Vikings’ offense could do absolutely nothing good in his MNF debut for Minnesota. Seattle controlled the game on the ground, and the only Minnesota touchdown came on a Cousins pass to Dalvin Cook with 1:10 left in the game, trailing 21-0.

Cousins was sacked twice in this game and lost a fumble. The fumble was especially costly, as the Seahawks returned it for a touchdown to take a 21-0 lead in the fourth.

2019 Week 13: Seattle 37, Minnesota 30 (Seattle -2.5)

This was a big game in the NFC playoff picture. Minnesota entered 8-3, while Seattle was 9-2. Cousins got help early from a Cook TD and a pick-six, but Seattle eventually leapfrogged the Seahawks to hold an insurmountable 34-17 lead. 

Cousins totaled 276 passing yards in this one, throwing two touchdowns (to Laquon Treadwell and Kyle Rudolph). His interception on the first play of the fourth quarter put the nail in Minnesota’s coffin, though. Already down 10, the Vikings shortly thereafter allowed a touchdown to trail by 17.

2019 Week 16: Green Bay 23, Minnesota 10 (Minnesota -4)

At home, Minnesota was favored by the bettors, but this was obviously a superior Packers team that entered the game at 11-3. Cousins delivered early in the second quarter with a 21-yard TD to Stefon Diggs to go up 10-3, but Green Bay controlled the game from there.

Cousins put up a total clunker line after that Diggs score, finishing 16-of-31 for 122 yards. He was under pressure all night to be sacked five times. Cousins had a chance to tack onto his lead on Minnesota’s second drive out of halftime, but he was intercepted at the Green Bay 8-yard line while leading 10-9. Green Bay scored 14 unanswered points from there.

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