There are times when stat lines don't tell the whole story, and there are times when stat lines absolutely lie. You'll find an excellent example of the latter phenomenon if you check out the line of Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna(notes) in Dallas' 35-17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kitna, starting in place of Tony Romo(notes), completed 34 of 49 attempts for 379 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions. You may look at that and conclude that Kitna put on his Brad Johnson(notes) suit and proceeded to stink up the joint.
Not so fast. As we will see, three of Kitna's picks were absolutely and entirely the fault of his receivers.
The first pick had Felix Jones(notes) whiffing on a quick pass, only to see the ball caught by Jags defensive tackle Terrance "Pot Roast" Knighton. Pick No. 2 was a catchable ball thrown in the vicinity of Miles Austin(notes). Austin seemed to want no part of the ball, and gave it up to cornerback Derek Cox(notes). Cox was also the lucky recipient of Dallas' third gift, which bounced off receiver Roy Williams in what should have been an easy catch in Jacksonville's zone defense.
That's three of four picks in which Jon Kitna made perfectly good throws. Moral of the story? When it comes to stat lines, follow the example set forth by the late, great Marvin Gaye: Believe half of what you see, and none of what you hear. After this game, Jon Kitna would certainly agree.
(Note: Special thanks to our friends at the NFL for going out of their way and editing these plays together.)
- Jon Kitna