Kirk Cousins Labeled a Top 3 QB per Clutch Performance

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins has fired up a commendable, breath-of-fresh-air couple of weeks.

His Netflix docuseries, Quarterback, was a smash hit, painting the passer in a different light previously unknown to many Vikings fans and non-Vikings fans.

Kirk Cousins Labeled a Top 3 QB per Clutch Performance

He also fetched a handsome ranking this week, according to CBS Sports. Douglas Clawson ranked all NFL QBs by the numbers per ‘clutch’ performance, and Cousins checked in at No. 3, which will surprise many because the 34-year-old is often erroneously labeled as a man who ‘can’t get it done’ in big moments.

Labeled a Top 3
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports.

And when you confront Cousins’ naysayers with a statistic like the Vikings 11-0 record in one-score games last year, they immediately pivot the time Cousins didn’t get it done while ignoring the general body of Cousins’ clutch efficiency. It’s just the way it works for all things pertaining to Cousins.

But on the CBS Sports clutch list — which was tabulated by the numbers, not some guy’s opinion on the couch — Cousins was only outranked by Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs, No. 1) and Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins, No. 2).

Vikings Allegedly Said
David Berding-USA TODAY Sports.

Clawson explained, “To steal a viral phrase from Kirk Cousins, ‘You like that!’ Cousins’ clutch career has been so much more than the 24-point comeback he led in 2015 leading to that quote. He lands third on this list after he was Mr. Clutch in the 2022 season, converting on an NFL-high 71% (12-17) of potential game-tying or go-ahead drives in the fourth quarter or overtime.”

He then rattled off key accomplishments — in addition to the analytics numbers — to substantiate the ranking:

  • Largest comeback in NFL history (33 points)
  • Most one-score wins in a season (11)
  • Most comeback wins in a season (10)
  • Most fourth-quarter comeback wins in a season (8)
  • Most 10+ point fourth-quarter comeback wins in a season (4)

Not bad.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

This was the criteria used to determine Clawson’s scale, and it was tallied for all starting quarterbacks in the 2022 season:

Image Courtesy of CBS Sports

Immediately after Cousins on the Clawson list, Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens, No. 4), Josh Allen (Buffalo Bills, No. 5), and Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals, No. 6) made the cut.

Jimmy Garoppolo (Las Vegas Raiders, No. 7), Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys, No. 8), Aaron Rogers (New York Jets, No. 9), and Jared Goff (Detroit Lions, No. 10) filled out the list.

John Jones-USA TODAY Sports.

For Vikings fans that watched every drop of the team’s football games in 2022, the esteemed Cousins ranking will feel like fruition. Until the final play of the postseason game against the New York Giants, comeback drives were automatic for Minnesota. Most were not flukes, and Cousins wasn’t enabled by sorcery or a stiff defense. He did the trick down the stretch on offense during most Vikings games in 2022.

With playcalling continuity for the first time since 2015 and 2016, under then-offensive coordinator Sean McVay in Washington, Cousins should improve even more in Year Two inside Kevin O’Connell’s system.

Cousins turns 35 in four weeks.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by