Stats That Matter: 3rd Down Conversions


While going over the full stat list ahead of my big Unpacking The Game series I do for each season, I saw one big glaring reason why the Giants game was so lopsided against the Redskins.

The Giants went 1/10 on third down conversions. And, of course 0/1 on fourth down.

The Redskins went 5/15 and 1/1 on third and fourth downs respectively. Quite a difference there… Even though one third is by no means stellar. It just happens to be 3 times better than the Giants offense produced.

Needless to say… Third down offense and defense is perhaps the most critical aspect of NFL football. It’s directly related to time of possession, yards for and against, and first downs obviously. And that is a huge problem for the Giants right now.

But as bad as that is, the Giants also have a bad habit of leaving it all up to he third down situation to move the ball at times.

Time to get real here, and that involves a much better use of diversion and execution on first and second downs… Something the Giants sporadically do well on scoring drives, but then famously revert to run, run, pass, punt at the worst of times. Take a lesson from Washington here with some first down stats.

The Redskins torched the Giants secondary picking up 17 of their 21 total first downs through the air. What that tells me however is that less than a third of those passes generating a first down came on third down.

Instead, the Redskins first and second down execution was the bright spot. If you rewind the tape, you’ll notice a whole lot of playaction passing going on with the Skins early in ther drives, with horrible coverage from Giants corners and linebackers stepping up, biting on the fake and letting the receivers easily in behind the defense and along the seams. This is not a new pattern, and it’s something the Giants offense has not executed well all preseason even though it should be a bread and butter recipe for the GMEN. The Giants defense is also apparently not able to cover he scheme as well. Time to get with the program on both fronts, if the offense practices it, the defense can practice defending it. Then the whole defense will be prepared like they’ve shown they aren’t thus far in 2011.