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Author Topic: Stops versus continuance  (Read 414 times)
Finnegans Wake
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« on: Oct 08, 2009 at 14:07 »

For some time, our failure on offense to convert third downs has bedeviled me.  As good as our defense was on third down stops, our offense couldn't continue drives at an alarming rate.  IMO, it's quite simple: your percentage of third downs converted on offense should always be a greater percentage of third down conversions allowed on defense.

What I find interesting is that even with our late collapses on defense, we're still pretty highly ranked on 3rd down stops (11th, 35.4%).  Even more striking is that as Ben is finally being allowed to take the reins of this offense, and with the emergence of Rashard Mendenhall against an admittedly porous Charger defense, we're seeing the offensive continuance rate rising weekly.  I still think Mendenhall hits the hole with more decisiveness and gets positive yardage more consistently than Parker, but of course this needs tested over a longer term.

That differential of third downs also highlights teams who can both get their defenses off the field, and keep their offenses on it.

Teams top-10 in both 3rd down offensive continuance and 3rd down stops

1. Philadelphia (42.9%, 22.5%)
2. NY Giants (47.5%, 27.7%)
3. Baltimore (50.9%, 33.3%)
4. New Orleans (44.4%, 26.8%)
5. Minnesota (45.8%, 30.6%)

Teams bottom-10 in both 3rd down offensive continuance and 3rd down stops

1. Kansas City (17.6%, 43.1%)
2. Buffalo (23.4%, 43.8%)
3. Tampa Bay (21.6%, 40.4%)
4. Carolina (30.6%, 42.1%)
5. St. Louis (31.5%, 40.4%)

Overall ranking: 3rd down offensive continuance % minus 3rd down stops %

1. Philadelphia +20.4%
2. NY Giants +19.8%
3. Miami +17.9%
4. Baltimore +17.6%
4. New Orleans +17.6%
6. Minnesota +15.2%
7. Pittsburgh +12.6%
8. Denver +10.3%
9. Tennessee +6.7%
10. Dallas +5.0%
11. New England +4.9%
12. Seattle +4.5%
13. NY Jets +4.3%
14. Detroit +3.9%
15. Indianapolis +1.2%
16. Cincinnati -0.2%
17. Jacksonville -3.1%
18. Oakland -3.9%
19. Green Bay -5.1%
20. San Diego -5.9%
21. Chicago -6.7%
22. Atlanta -7.4%
23. Washington -7.6%
24. San Francisco -7.8%
25. Arizona -8.6%
26. St. Louis -8.9%
27. Houston -11.2%
28. Carolina -11.5%
29. Cleveland -13.4%
30. Tampa Bay -18.8%
31. Buffalo -20.4%
32. Kansas City -25.5%

This list, of course, does not directly correlate to how well a team is doing: Miami and Tennessee are ranked high, for instance, while Indy is almost dead center and San Fran is pretty low.  But the idea is that teams with higher positives have more opportunites to make good things happen, those with lower or negative numbers have fewer shots at it.  Indy is a great example of this: they can't stop anyone on third down (run defense their Achilles), but they're also difficult to stop with Manning taking advantage of every opportunity.

Conversely, Miami has a solid ground game but can't put together a cohesive offense; Tennessee has had good opportunities and squandered them, almost inexplicably bad.

As an indicator of opportunities, the Steelers fare well: we are getting our shots, but we're not yet taking full advantage of them.

Out of my mind on Saturday night...
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