Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

George Kittle led the NFL in touchdowns nullified by a penalty in 2019, per PFF

Jul 8, 2020 at 12:03 PM--

Poor George Kittle. He could have had such a great 2019 NFL campaign.

Wait a minute, Kittle hauled in 85 passes for 1,053 yards with five touchdown receptions, earning first-team All-Pro honors and his second Pro Bowl selection. It was also his second consecutive season of over 1,000 yards receiving, and the tight end is widely considered to be the best in the NFL at his position.

A division championship and a trip to the Super Bowl aren't things to dismiss, either.

So, why poor George Kittle?

Pro Football Focus' Ian Hartitz explains that 2019 could have been even more impressive for the tight end, if not for some tough luck in the form of nullified touchdowns. Hartitz tracked such missed opportunities by going through ESPN's play-by-play sequences for all 256 regular-season games. Bravo to him.

"Truly exhilarating work," notes Hartitz.

What did he learn? Nine players fell victim to having multiple scores nullified by a penalty last season. None had more than Kittle's three. The video below shows those three.

"Arguably the best TE in the entire NFL could've had an even bigger season with a little better acting and/or performance from his teammates," writes Hartitz.

Not only did Kittle lead all players in scores nullified by a penalty, but the 49ers led all teams in the same category with seven.

"Nothing is more heartbreaking for fantasy managers than the stomach punch after watching points come off the board courtesy of the refs," adds Hartitz. "This holds doubly true in instances when the zebra probably should've just kept the flag in his pocket."

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