Third Down Defense: NFL Version

A couple weeks ago I took a look at how well the Colts did in situational 3rd down defense, and it was not pretty.  I wanted to see if those bad numbers were paralleled by any other team, or they were really that bad on Third down.  Here's what I found:

  Colts
Run Pass Total
Short (≤ 3) 32
29
31
Middle (4 - 7) 18(T)
19
21
Long (8+) 1(T)
23
17
Total 12
25
31 (T)

The table shows where the Colts rank in each of the situations.  Some points on the Colts before getting to the entire NFL:

  • We all noticed the awful short yardage defense, and this proves it for us.  The only team worse than the Colts on 3rd and short was the Rams (whose record reflected that).
  • The Colts fared better than I was expecting on 3rd and Long, as that seemed to be an achilles heel this year as well.  17th is middle of the pack, not good, but not bad either.
  • The Colts were one of 9 teams who did not allow a 3rd and long run conversion.  Only 2 of those teams had more attempts against them:  the Bears and Panthers.
  • Overall against the run, the Colts were better than average.  It doesn't mask being dead last (86%)! on 3rd and short, though.  Like we all said 2 weeks ago, this is completely unacceptable.

The table with all the stats are after the jump (sort them by clicking on the column headers), but I'll draw some conclusions here league wide:

  • The best teams against 3rd and short rushes only stopped offenses at 50% (Steelers and Browns).  That was higher than expected.  Average is stopping 1 out of every 3.  The Colts need to strive for that next season (and it's what the Titans ended up with this season).
  • Overall on short yardage 3rd downs, the Eagles were best in the league at 45%.  The Steelers were 2nd (their defense was pretty good this season, huh?)  The same two teams were also the best against passes on 3rd down.
  • The Chargers were unbelievable on 3rd and longs, only allowing a 1st down 12.5% of the time.  The Colts on 3rd and long against the Chargers in their two games?  1/8.  Right on average for the Chargers.  Their defense was better than they were given credit for.
  • Overall on third downs, the Steelers were #1 (31%).  Their Super Bowl Opponent, the Cardinals? 27th (44%).

Our new Defensive Coordinator should take these numbers to heart.  If we can only improve in one area on defense next season, it sure as hell better be on 3rd downs.  Thankfully, the offense is a complete 180 from the defense (those stats coming this weekend or early next week).

Short (≤ 3) Middle (4 - 7) Long (8+)
Run Pass Run Pass Run Pass
Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct
49ers 21 35 0.600 14 27 0.519 1 4 0.250 25 68 0.368 1 14 0.071 21 71 0.296
Bears 18 25 0.720 13 29 0.448 1 5 0.200 27 61 0.443 0 14 0.000 22 98 0.224
Bengals 26 39 0.667 13 35 0.371 1 6 0.167 34 62 0.548 0 5 0.000 19 71 0.268
Bills 18 33 0.545 11 21 0.524 0 12 0.000 22 53 0.415 3 12 0.250 19 71 0.268
Broncos 24 39 0.615 18 28 0.643 6 11 0.545 24 53 0.453 1 9 0.111 16 62 0.258
Browns 19 38 0.500 15 25 0.600 7 18 0.389 35 65 0.538 2 9 0.222 17 52 0.327
Buccaneers 20 34 0.588 16 34 0.471 2 5 0.400 28 60 0.467 0 9 0.000 15 72 0.208
Cardinals 26 37 0.703 20 34 0.588 1 7 0.143 22 47 0.468 2 13 0.154 21 69 0.304
Chargers 28 41 0.683 20 37 0.541 2 3 0.667 26 62 0.419 1 6 0.167 7 58 0.121
Chiefs 22 29 0.759 19 40 0.475 4 9 0.444 30 60 0.500 4 12 0.333 21 61 0.344
Colts 31 36 0.861 22 36 0.611 3 9 0.333 28 62 0.452 0 10 0.000 16 58 0.276
Cowboys 17 23 0.739 12 28 0.429 1 7 0.143 28 68 0.412 1 7 0.143 18 83 0.217
Dolphins 18 26 0.692 18 33 0.545 3 8 0.375 20 47 0.426 0 9 0.000 20 86 0.233
Eagles 16 27 0.593 11 33 0.333 4 10 0.400 26 63 0.413 0 8 0.000 16 86 0.186
Falcons 17 29 0.586 9 26 0.346 3 9 0.333 27 58 0.466 2 9 0.222 21 77 0.273
Giants 15 22 0.682 13 24 0.542 3 8 0.375 29 57 0.509 2 10 0.200 21 83 0.253
Jaguars 19 31 0.613 15 27 0.556 1 4 0.250 25 52 0.481 1 13 0.077 21 73 0.288
Jets 16 25 0.640 24 40 0.600 1 6 0.167 21 54 0.389 1 10 0.100 18 75 0.240
Lions 20 29 0.690 17 27 0.630 3 12 0.250 27 57 0.474 2 17 0.118 20 54 0.370
Packers 20 32 0.625 15 25 0.600 4 8 0.500 26 67 0.388 1 4 0.250 14 74 0.189
Panthers 21 30 0.700 15 30 0.500 4 7 0.571 27 63 0.429 0 14 0.000 20 74 0.270
Patriots 20 28 0.714 22 41 0.537 2 14 0.143 26 53 0.491 1 6 0.167 20 63 0.317
Raiders 28 37 0.757 16 27 0.593 2 11 0.182 33 65 0.508 2 14 0.143 22 78 0.282
Rams 20 24 0.833 16 23 0.696 7 18 0.389 13 42 0.310 1 16 0.063 17 64 0.266
Ravens 14 20 0.700 17 36 0.472 0 3 0.000 16 51 0.314 0 10 0.000 24 92 0.261
Redskins 13 21 0.619 20 39 0.513 3 6 0.500 20 56 0.357 1 7 0.143 16 78 0.205
Saints 23 30 0.767 12 31 0.387 4 7 0.571 27 67 0.403 1 6 0.167 15 65 0.231
Seahawks 14 23 0.609 20 38 0.526 1 10 0.100 37 75 0.493 1 9 0.111 21 67 0.313
Steelers 11 22 0.500 12 28 0.429 3 10 0.300 26 73 0.356 0 6 0.000 19 87 0.218
Texans 20 26 0.769 15 30 0.500 1 7 0.143 19 48 0.396 1 7 0.143 18 70 0.257
Titans 14 21 0.667 17 37 0.459 1 6 0.167 31 73 0.425 2 4 0.500 14 85 0.165
Vikings 12 20 0.600 18 32 0.563 2 8 0.250 16 46 0.348 2 10 0.200 18 87 0.207

 

Run Pass Short (≤ 3) Middle (4 - 7) Long (8+) Total
Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct Cvt Att Pct
49ers 23 53 0.434 60 166 0.361 35 62 0.565 26 72 0.361 22 85 0.259 83 219 0.379
Bears 19 44 0.432 62 188 0.330 31 54 0.574 28 66 0.424 22 112 0.196 81 232 0.349
Bengals 27 50 0.540 66 168 0.393 39 74 0.527 35 68 0.515 19 76 0.250 93 218 0.427
Bills 21 57 0.368 52 145 0.359 29 54 0.537 22 65 0.338 22 83 0.265 73 202 0.361
Broncos 31 59 0.525 58 143 0.406 42 67 0.627 30 64 0.469 17 71 0.239 89 202 0.441
Browns 28 65 0.431 67 142 0.472 34 63 0.540 42 83 0.506 19 61 0.311 95 207 0.459
Buccaneers 22 48 0.458 59 166 0.355 36 68 0.529 30 65 0.462 15 81 0.185 81 214 0.379
Cardinals 29 57 0.509 63 150 0.420 46 71 0.648 23 54 0.426 23 82 0.280 92 207 0.444
Chargers 31 50 0.620 53 157 0.338 48 78 0.615 28 65 0.431 8 64 0.125 84 207 0.406
Chiefs 30 50 0.600 70 161 0.435 41 69 0.594 34 69 0.493 25 73 0.342 100 211 0.474
Colts 34 55 0.618 66 156 0.423 53 72 0.736 31 71 0.437 16 68 0.235 100 211 0.474
Cowboys 19 37 0.514 58 179 0.324 29 51 0.569 29 75 0.387 19 90 0.211 77 216 0.356
Dolphins 21 43 0.488 58 166 0.349 36 59 0.610 23 55 0.418 20 95 0.211 79 209 0.378
Eagles 20 45 0.444 53 182 0.291 27 60 0.450 30 73 0.411 16 94 0.170 73 227 0.322
Falcons 22 47 0.468 57 161 0.354 26 55 0.473 30 67 0.448 23 86 0.267 79 208 0.380
Giants 20 40 0.500 63 164 0.384 28 46 0.609 32 65 0.492 23 93 0.247 83 204 0.407
Jaguars 21 48 0.438 61 152 0.401 34 58 0.586 26 56 0.464 22 86 0.256 82 200 0.410
Jets 18 41 0.439 63 169 0.373 40 65 0.615 22 60 0.367 19 85 0.224 81 210 0.386
Lions 25 58 0.431 64 138 0.464 37 56 0.661 30 69 0.435 22 71 0.310 89 196 0.454
Packers 25 44 0.568 55 166 0.331 35 57 0.614 30 75 0.400 15 78 0.192 80 210 0.381
Panthers 25 51 0.490 62 167 0.371 36 60 0.600 31 70 0.443 20 88 0.227 87 218 0.399
Patriots 23 48 0.479 68 157 0.433 42 69 0.609 28 67 0.418 21 69 0.304 91 205 0.444
Raiders 32 62 0.516 71 170 0.418 44 64 0.688 35 76 0.461 24 92 0.261 103 232 0.444
Rams 28 58 0.483 46 129 0.357 36 47 0.766 20 60 0.333 18 80 0.225 74 187 0.396
Ravens 14 33 0.424 57 179 0.318 31 56 0.554 16 54 0.296 24 102 0.235 71 212 0.335
Redskins 17 34 0.500 56 173 0.324 33 60 0.550 23 62 0.371 17 85 0.200 73 207 0.353
Saints 28 43 0.651 54 163 0.331 35 61 0.574 31 74 0.419 16 71 0.225 82 206 0.398
Seahawks 16 42 0.381 78 180 0.433 34 61 0.557 38 85 0.447 22 76 0.289 94 222 0.423
Steelers 14 38 0.368 57 188 0.303 23 50 0.460 29 83 0.349 19 93 0.204 71 226 0.314
Texans 22 40 0.550 52 148 0.351 35 56 0.625 20 55 0.364 19 77 0.247 74 188 0.394
Titans 17 31 0.548 62 195 0.318 31 58 0.534 32 79 0.405 16 89 0.180 79 226 0.350
Vikings 16 38 0.421 52 165 0.315 30 52 0.577 18 54 0.333 20 97 0.206 68 203 0.335
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