Surprising Stat Proves Kirk Cousins Was Most Clutch QB in 2019

Max Staley
Kirk Cousins was absurdly clutch in 2019.
Kirk Cousins was absurdly clutch in 2019. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
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Kirk Cousins has always had to contend with some unfair criticism. Most NFL fans just don't seem sold on the two-time Pro Bowler. Despite finishing with a top-five passer rating in 2019 (107.4), many fans continue to cite his shortcomings on the big stage as proof that he'll never be "elite."

But last season, Cousins was far better in the big moments than he was ever given credit for. In fact, according to one key stat from Pro Football Focus, Cousins was actually the most clutch passer in the league.

That's right. In the fourth quarter and overtime, Cousins was PFF's highest-graded QB, finishing with a grade of 86.1. He's actually leading the pack by quite a bit, as Ryan Tannehill (83.4) had the second-best grade. Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson round out the top four at 82.8 and 81.6, respectively.

Cousins didn't just save his best for last, though, he was wildly efficient all year long. He was PFF's sixth-highest graded passer (84.2), finished tied for the sixth-best adjusted yards per attempt mark (AY/A; 8.7) and had the fifth-best percentage of on-target throws (79.0). In other words, Cousins was a top-10 QB last year, pretty much any way you slice it.

If Cousins can perform like this again in 2020, especially in the clutch, he's got a real chance to shift the perception about him around the league.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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