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Stats That Stood Out: Vikings at Giants

The Vikings secured their first road win of 2019, registering a 28-10 victory over the Giants on Sunday.

Kirk Cousins bounced back from a tough loss the week before with one of his best games as a Viking as the offense executed early and often. Dalvin Cook reached another gear time and time again on rushes and after receptions.

Anthony Barr became the third player in NFL history to record a safety and an interception in the same game, and he helped an aggressive defense limit New York to just 211 yards.

Here are three stats that stood out:

1. A tale of two passers

Cousins had arguably his best game of 2019 while Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones had his roughest outing of his young career.

Cousins completed 81.5 percent of his passes (22 of 27), which ranked second in the NFL in Week 5 (not counting tonight’s game between Cleveland and San Francisco).

According to Next Gen Stats, that rate was 20 points higher than Cousins’ expected completion percentage of 61.5 (20th highest). The next highest differential by a quarterback was 14 points by Deshaun Watson (84.8 completion percentage that exceeded an expected percentage of 70.9).

The expected completion percentage is calculated “based on numerous factors such as receiver separation from the nearest defender, where the receiver is on the field, the separation the passer had at time of throw from the nearest pass rusher, and more.”

Jones completed 55.3 percent of his passes (21 of 38), which ranked last among 28 qualifying passers. He was expected to complete 58.3 percent of his passes, according to Next Gen Stats.

The Vikings were able to apply pressure with blitzes and on rush attempts with the front four and played tighter coverage than they did the previous week in Chicago.

Jones topped all passers this week with an aggressiveness percentage of 31.6. Cousins ranked seventh with an aggressiveness percentage of 22.2. The stat is explained as follows:

“Aggressiveness tracks the [number] of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. AGG is shown as a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts.”

The game also featured three of the 12 most improbable completions across the league.

Jones’ 35-yard touchdown to Darius Slayton had a probability of 22.7 percent (eighth least likely).

Cousins’ 15-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen ranked in the following spot with a likelihood of 25.2 percent, and his 9-yard score to Thielen was 12th (27.5 percent).

2. Incredible YAC

Part of the success Sunday revolved around getting the ball to playmakers.

The Vikings had four of the top 13 plays in terms of exceeding expected yards after catch.

Thielen’s 44-yard reception ranked fourth in the league. According to Next Gen Stats, he was expected to gain 7 yards after catching the ball but totaled 32. The plus-25 ranked fourth in the NFL this week.

Cook joined the list twice, with a plus-17 on a 15-yard reception in the first quarter that ranked eighth and a plus-13 on a 19-yard reception in the second quarter that ranked 13th.

Stefon Diggs’ 20-yard reception in the fourth quarter ranked 11th in the league with a plus-14 YAC.

3. Additional superlatives

It seems every week that Cook is among the fastest ball carriers in the NFL.

This week was no different, as his top speed of 21.09 miles per hour during his 41-yard rush was the fourth fastest speed in the NFL.

The game also had two of the week’s longest plays, meaning the total distance traveled, as opposed to just the vertical yardage.

Thielen’s catch-and-run that went for 44 involved him traveling 89.7 yards, which was the seventh-longest this week.

The Giants also made the list via Corey Ballentine covering 64.9 yards during his 52-yard kickoff return.

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