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Tom Brady once again proved his superiority over Kirk Cousins and other QBs with incredible second half

Alex Reimer
December 03, 2018 - 12:43 pm

If anybody needs to be convinced any further about how hard it will be for the Patriots to find their next quarterback once Tom Brady retires, look no further than the Vikings. Minnesota, which has the best record in the NFC since 2015, has been on the cusp of Super Bowl contention for the last three seasons. But the Vikings were missing a franchise quarterback, and a result, gave Kirk Cousins $84 million guaranteed in free agency.

Though Cousins only went 62-57 in Washington, he posted gargantuan passing numbers, including three straight 4,000-yard seasons. Statistically, he’s on similar pace in Minnesota, completing a league-leading 350 passes and throwing for 3,490 yards in 12 games. 

But as we saw Sunday when the Patriots dismantled the Vikings 24-10, Minnesota’s offense goes through prolonged stretches of dormancy. The Vikings only scored three points in the second half, and Cousins threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter. While the second one came during garbage time, the first pick occurred with 4:44 left on the clock, when Cousins tried to find Aldrick Robinson in the end zone. Rookie corner J.C. Jackson batted the ball into the air, and safety Duron Harmon came down with the INT.

Cousins primary threw the ball short against the Patriots, and his first interception shows why. The high-priced QB went 3-for-9 when passing for more than 10 yards. 

In the second half this season, Cousins has thrown 12 touchdowns and six interceptions, good for a 2:1 ratio. On Sunday, Cousins went 17-for-22 in the second half, but only one of his completions went for 10 yards or more. Cousins targeted his wide receivers just twice until there were two minutes left in the first half, when he led the Vikings on a touchdown drive and found Adam Thielen in the end zone for a touchdown. Thielen caught five passes for 28 yards. Stefon Diggs only had five receptions on five targets as well.

Some of the blame for the Vikings’ uninspiring offensive attack falls on coordinator John DeFilippo, who also abandoned the running game, even though Dalvin Cook was averaging 9.3 yards per carry. But Cousins became the highest-paid QB in the NFL this offseason. The responsibility ultimately falls on him.

Brady, meanwhile, led the Patriots on two second half touchdown drives –– including an explosive four-play series that was book-ended with two 24-yard receptions from Josh Gordon. TB12 went 11-for-16 in the second half.

Much like the Patriots’ victory over the Packers last month, Brady separated himself when the game mattered most. His numbers are down, but late in the game, there’s still nobody better.