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Carson Palmer's Interceptions Responsible For 16.7% Of Total Points Allowed

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Carson Palmer threw 20 interceptions in 2010, five of which were returned for touchdowns with several more setting up optimal field position for the opposing offense. But one creative website asked, are all interceptions created equally? Generally speaking, no.

...we were able to quantify the difference between an interception at midfield on fourth down and a pick thrown on first down at the opponent’s five-yard line. The model showed that the interception on fourth down at midfield cost the team about 1.8 expected points – while the interception at the five prevented about 4.4 expected points.

Cold Hard Football Facts didn't bother including the results of those interceptions in the form of a pick-six, optimal field position that results in a score from the opposing offense (more on that later). However, according to Cold Hard Football Facts model, Carson Palmer's 20 interceptions cost the Bengals 22.5 expected points lost in 2010; or 1.12 points per game.

Weighing statistics is fun. Sort of like beaning smaller kids with the plastic balls in that big plastic ball pool. My curiosity ran wild, wondering how many points the opposing team scored off of Palmer's interceptions. After painfully going through every play-by-play through NFL.com's Game Center, we've come up with some interesting facts.

The most glaring being that 66 points and nine touchdowns were scored off Carson Palmer's interceptions -- either through a pick-six or the opposing offense's ensuing possession. And of those 20 interceptions, five were pick-sixes. Here's more facts that might be of interest:

  • Terrell Owens was the target of 12 of Palmer's 20 interceptions (as we already knew).
  • Chad Ochocinco and Jermaine Gresham were the targets of three interceptions respectively. Andre Caldwell and Jordan Shipley each account for one giving Palmer 20.
  • Only once did Palmer threw an interception in the third quarter.
  • Thirteen of Palmer's 20 interceptions happened on the Bengals side of the field.
  • Palmer only threw three red zone picks.
  • Eight interceptions came in the fourth quarter.

Obviously most of you are thinking, what do we care about last year's interceptions from a quarterback that isn't likely to play. The truth is, there's no reason to. Not only is this team going to groom a new quarterback of the future, they're incorporating a new offensive system with the wide receiver targeted 12 times during interceptions not included. Still. Why not a little information. Broaden your horizon, man.

Combining Cold Hard Football Facts with the cold hard football numbers we acquired with a little hard work using NFL Game Day's information and an excel spreadsheet with the complicated formula of (SUM), that means Palmer was responsible for an 88.5 point swing with 22.5 points lost by the offense and 66 points given/earned by the other team.

One final nugget before we let you brood about the 2010 season. Points that were scored off Carson Palmer's interceptions resulted in 16.7% of the Bengals total points allowed last year. Shocking that we even won four games last year.