13 plays that show Kirk Cousins is a great quarterback

Kirk Cousins is an interesting quarterback.

While he’s always had talent and the ability to be a successful quarterback, the consistency and willingness to push the ball downfield has not been there.

This season, Cousins looks like a new quarterback. He has a different level of confidence about him and that is showing up on the football field.

Against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, Cousins was in his bag and made some tremendous throws that show both his talent and how much he has grown and evolved over the past year.

Here are 13 throws that show how good Cousins is right now.

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PFF grades from Vikings 33-30 win vs. Bills in Week 10

Patience

The pocket presence Cousins has showed this season is that of supreme confidence in both the offense and his offensive line. One of his favorite routes is the dig route and he hit it on numerous occasions on Sunday. He stays incredibly patient in the pocket and fires a perfect pass to Justin Jefferson, who takes it for a huge gain.

Taking shots

Something that Cousins hasn’t been the most willing to do in the past is take shots. Throws like this he has made before, but not at the consistency that he has this year. This one is a tad underthrown, but when you are throwing it to Jefferson, it doesn’t matter that much.

Throwing forward

This offense and Cousins loves the dig route. It is a staple of the scheme and a route that has been very successful. One of the things that is great about this throw is that he leads Jefferson forward to keep him safe from a potential hit or get some yards after the catch. A little piece of nuance, but it’s a great one.

Hitting the hole shot

The Vikings have been running a lot of fun and progressive concepts so far this season, especially when you compare it to last year. This one is a screen-and-go. The design is to get the corners to jump the tunnel screen and create space by getting the deep safety in conflict. They do just that and Cousins hits K.J. Osborn perfectly in the hole.

Trusting your receivers

This play is semi-routine for a quarterback to make, but it shows the trust and growth with Cousins. He doesn’t make this throw often last season but he is this year. Cousins sees the coverage and knows he has Jefferson singled up on the comeback. He reads it and drives the ball before Jefferson even comes out of his break. They make it look easy.

Avoiding defenders

Here is another dig route. The Vikings run two of them with Osborn running shallow and Thielen running deeper. Osborn sees the zone and cuts his route off. Cousins sees Von Miller in the middle of the field and knows that he can hit Osborn with an accurate pass. Cousins might not make this pass in the past because he likes everything to be perfect and this is far from it but he makes it work for a nice gain.

Creating Outside of Structure

This play epitomizes the growth of Cousins. This is designed to be a screen to the left but it isn’t there. Cousins escapes the pocket to try and create something and finds Thielen wide open down the field for a huge gain. This is something that Cousins doesn’t do prior to this season. He is learning how to create for himself and it’s truly incredible to watch in real time.

Pocket Mobility

Maneuvering inside the pocket is something that Cousins has continued to improve upon. Nothing is open initially and Miller gets pressure pretty quickly. Cousins maneuvers the pocket really well, rolls out to the right and hits Osborn through a defender. Really nice play to make something out of nothing.

Catch of a Lifetime

There is no way to sugar coat it. This was an incredible play. It’s 4th and 18 with the game on the line and Cousins is cool as a cucumber here. He throws it a tad high but there are a few defenders in front of Jefferson. In absolutely elite fashion, Jefferson skies up and snatches the ball from the defenders two hands with his one and makes the best catch since the helmet catch made by David Tyree in Super Bowl 42.

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Understanding leverage

This is a great example of Cousins understanding leverages and throwing Jefferson open. The corner flips his hips facing the sideline which gives Jefferson a clean and easy break at the top of the stem and Cousins starts his windup at the apex of the break. Really good throw and understanding what’s going on in coverage.

This is a throw that Cousins missed earlier in the game but I don’t think it’s a big deal there because the flat defender sank deep.

Working Through Progressions Quickly

This goal line play is the first fourth down attempt and Cousins is masterful at cycling through the progressions. His first reads are to the left and once he sees that both are covered, he cycles back to Cook. The throw isn’t perfect but it’s capable and he needs to catch it.

Maximum Torque

This is arguably Cousins’ most impressive throw so far this season. He sees that Thielen is going to come open on the deep out route. The problem is that he’s unable to step into the throw. Instead of doing that, he torques his hips into oblivion and gets the throw to Thielen. A truly impressive feat from Cousins.

Pinpoint Accuracy

On the final drive, Cousins was masterful. He finds Jefferson like he did all game long and this time on a corner route in cover-2. Jefferson knows the soft spot, attacks it and Cousins throws a perfect ball to get the Vikings inside the five yard line. This is as clutch as it gets and Cousins was just that in this game.

Story originally appeared on Vikings Wire