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Cowboys Stat Nuggets To Build On For The Saints Game

Thanksgiving Day is the day that determines whether Garrett is the real deal. A win here, or at least a hard-played game that shows continued improvement, will see Garrett moving a lot closer to a permanent job.

In less than 24 hours, at 3:15 pm (CST) on Thursday to be exact, the Cowboys step on the field against the World Champion Saints. What better way to prepare for the game than to reflect on some judiciously collected stats on some of the players who could likely make a difference in the game against the Saints?

In preparation for the game, and with the best regards of the Cowboys media department, we take a quick look at who's been secretly drinking from the fountain of youth, why Witten bears watching and two Cowboys rookies who've been turning heads.

The Fountain Of Youth

At 38 years of age, Jon Kitna has apparently been drinking from the fountain of youth. Kitna recorded a single-game career best with his 40 rushing yards against the Lions. Kitna’s surprisingly nimble 29-yard TD-jaunt was the longest rush of his career and the longest by a Dallas quarterback since Troy Aikman had a 23-yarder against Arizona (9/6/98). Kitna’s rushing touchdown tied Roger Staubach - at Washington (11/21/71) - for the longest touchdown run by a Cowboys quarterback. Kitna in one sentence with Aikman and Staubach. Whodathunkit?

Kitna finished the win at the N.Y. Giants with a quarterback rating of 124.1 and had a 129.7 rating in last week's win against Detroit. It was Kitna’s highest single game rating since 2007 and the first time since 2002 that he had a rating of 120 or more in two successive games.

Witten Watching

Jason Witten caught a team-leading 94 passes in 2009 and in the process recorded his fourth NFL season with at least 80 catches.

With 50 receptions after 10 games, Witten is on track to hit exactly 80 receptions for the full 2010 season. This would tie him with Tony Gonzalez for the most 80+ catch seasons by a tight end in league history. Gonzalez himself is at 45 receptions after 10 games and projects for 'only' 72 receptions for the full season.

Most 80+ catch seasons by a tight end
Player Seasons of 80+ Rec Years
Tony Gonzalez
5 (1997-)
Todd Christiansen
4 (1979-1988)
Jason Witten
4 (2003-)
Kellen Winslow, Sr.
3 (1979-1987)
Shannon Sharpe
3 (1990-2003)
88, 88, 88

The 88 jersey carries a lot of history in Dallas. Here's how Dez Bryant stacks up against two prominent previous owners of the 88 jersey in their rookie seasons.

Player GP REC Yds Avg TDs
Drew Pearson 10 43 760 17.7 2
Michael Irvin 10 24 470 19.6 2
Dez Bryant 10 44 550 12.5 8*

*2 Return TDs

After only three NFL games, McCann is already in the NFL and franchise record books

Granted, it's in a very obscure stat category, but who cares: Bryan McCann's two returns of 97-plus yards make him the first rookie in league history with consecutive games with 97-plus yard touchdowns.

McCann’s 101-yard INT return against the Giants was a club record long interception return, tied Amos Marsh (10/14/62) and Ike Thomas (12/4/71) for the second-longest play in club history and tied Thomas’ return for the longest play by a Dallas rookie. His pick six also marked just the second time a rookie had a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the Super Bowl era. His 97-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Lions was the second-longest punt return in franchise history.

Scandrick must be Paul Pasqualoni's biggest fan

Prior to the last two games, Orlando Scandrick's highest tackle total was against the Texans with four solo tackles. He had less than four solo tackles in all other Phillips-coached games this season. In the Giants and Lions games, Scandrick had six solo tackles each. But it doesn't stop there. Four of his five passes defended this season have come in the last two games. He also recorded two tackles for loss against the Lions, after recording only one in the first nine games of the season.

Absolutely useless NFL factoid of the week

This season, there have been 800 total touchdowns scored.  That is the second-most through the first 11 weeks of a season in NFL history.  There were 803 touchdowns scored through Week 11 of the 2002 season. So are we witnessing historically proficient offenses or historically inept defenses? A little bit of both is my guess, plus a whole lot of averageness on both sides of the ball as well.

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