First-down issues lead to third-down problems

First-down issues lead to third-down problems
October 12, 2012, 3:15 pm
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As noted here earlier today, the Redskins’ issues on third down have not prevented them from being a pretty good offense. Still, going three for 20 on third downs over the past two games is not the way you want to live if you want to be a consistently effective offense.

If you ask any coach about third down conversions he’ll tell you that what really matters is what happens on first down. Staying out of third and long, they’ll tell you, is the key to having success on third down.

So let’s put the last two games under the microscope and look at the Redskins’ third downs and what happened leading up to the third down situations.

On the first plays of the series that wound up with third downs, the Redskins ran on 13 of the 22 and called passing plays on nine of them, including one sack. [Note: twice the Redskins got first downs on third downs due to penalties, so those plays do not count in the stats.]

But, regardless of the play call, their third down problems start on first down. They are gaining .55 yards on each first-down passing play in a series that ends up in a third-down situation and .61 yards on each running play.

In other words, they are facing second and nine-plus and ending up with third down and, on average, 8.6 yards to go.

So, there you go, the same old stuff that we’ve heard from coaches for years being played out in real life, at least over these two games.

It’s one of those things that becomes a cliché because it’s true.

The third-down series over the past two games:

vs. Bucs

1st down play: Run (5 to go after penalty), -3
Third down play: (8 to go) Pass 6

1st down play: Pass 2
3rd down play: (5 to go) Run 8 TD (after recovered fumble in end zone)

1st down play: Run -1
3rd down play: Pass (11 to go) 3

1st down play: Pass incomplete
3rd down play: (13 to go) Pass 12 (converted on fourth down)

1st down play: Run 2
3rd down play: (1 to go) None, offside penalty gives WAS first down

1st down play: Run -4
3rd down play: (11 to go) Run 1

1st down play: (25 to go after penalty) Pass incomplete
3rd down play: (15 to go) Scramble 8

1st down play: Run -2
3rd down play: (19 to go) No play, roughing the passer penalty

1st down play: Run 1
3rd down play: (19 to go after unnecessary roughness penalty) Pass -1

1st down play: Run 1
3rd down play: (9 to go) Pass 30 (RG3 lateral to Banks, lateral back to RG3)

1st down play: Run 2
3rd down play: (2 to go) Run 0

1st down play: Pass incomplete
3rd down play: (12 to go) Pass incomplete

1st down play: Run 0
3rd down play: (10 to go) Scramble 9

vs. Falcons

1st down play: Sack -7
3rd down play: (7 to go) Pass incomplete

1st down play: Pass 2
3rd down play: (7 to go) Pass incomplete

1st down play: Run 2
3rd down play: (8 to go) Pass 5

1st down play: Run 5
3rd down play: (2 to go) Run -2

1st down play: Run 0
3rd down play: (2 to go) Run 1

1st down play: (goal to go at the 9) Pass 4
3rd down play: (goal to go at the 3) Sacked -2 (RG3 concussion play)

1st down play: Pass 4
3rd down play: (7 to go) Pass incomplete

1st down play: Run 1
3rd down play: (9 to go) Pass 77 TD

1st down play: Run 6
3rd down play: (10 to go) Pass 7

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