Cowboys back up quarterback Jon Kitna has had a statistically mediocre season since filling in for injured starter Tony Romo. However, a deeper look at the veteran QB’s statistics on the year show that he is doing very well stepping in for Dallas.
Kitna has thrown for three or more touchdown passes in half of his games as a starter. His quarterback rating is 88.3. In his worst game of the year, Kitna threw four interceptions but three of those came off of the hands of the wide receivers. He has ten touchdowns and eight interceptions. It doesn’t look that impressive, until you look at one of the key stats.
Third down passing.
Kitna leads the NFL in that category. The key to succeeding in the NFL is extending drive and unless you are able to convert on third down, you will fail as an offense. Kitna has done an exceptional job at extending drives, just look at this statistical breakdown by ESPN Dallas:
*Jon Kitna leads the NFL in third down passing. The veteran backup has completed 74.5 percent of his passes on third down this season. He’s thrown four touchdowns and one interception. Kitna has a 122.6 quarterback rating. The Steelers Ben Roethlisberger is second in the league with a 115.8 quarterback rating. By the way, Tony Romo, who is out until late this month with that broken left collarbone of his, is 14th on third down passing with a 91.3 rating.
In a season where there has been little to be positive about, enjoy the fact that Kitna has proved to be a very solid back up. If — god forbid — Tony Romo were to be injured for a significant amount of time next season, I have confidence that Kitna can lead this team.