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Third downs are a downer

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006

    Time of possession hurting Chargers, Go ahead and talk about the head coach and the quarterback and the lack of pressure and passion. But do it with knowledge of the bottom line.

    Plain and simple, this is a team that can't do it when it matters.
    On a third-and-7 early in the Chargers' loss Sunday at Jacksonville, Antonio Gates caught a pass well before the first-down marker and came up a yard short on third down. Two series later, on third-and-7, Legedu Naanee ran a route too long and Philip Rivers threw too early, and a pass fell to the ground. The Chargers finished the day 4-for-12 on third down.
    Meanwhile, the Jaguars converted five of their eight third-down tries in the first half and had two first-quarter fourth-and-1 conversions as they built a 17-3 lead – too much to overcome even when the Chargers stopped the Jaguars on all six of their third-down tries in the second half. There is a straightforward explanation for why the Chargers are the league's worst offense and second-worst defense over the past four games.
    A game's flow and a team's success or failure is so much about time of possession.
    The Chargers have had the ball an average of 25 minutes, 3 seconds in their past four games, less than any other team in the NFL over its past four.
    And that horrendous statistic is because of other horrendous statistics, primarily having to do with the Chargers' performance on third down.
    The offense is converting just 38 percent of its third-down tries this season, 23rd in the league, while opponents are converting 42.6 percent of their third-down tries, making the Chargers 21st in third-down efficiency defense. Over the past four games, those numbers are 29.2 percent (30th) and 47.5 percent (27th).
    “We've been having our troubles,” linebacker Shaun Phillips said. “If we could get off the field on third down, the games would look a lot different.”
    Certainly, offense and defense play off each other. So both sides can take blame.
    The offense is not getting enough chances because the defense isn't giving it enough chances.
    “If we get off the field and put the ball in our offense's hands,” linebacker Stephen Cooper said, “it gives them a better opportunity to make plays.”
    The defense has to work too long and hard because the offense can't sustain drives to stay on the field.
    “We've got to get more first downs, keep our defense off the field, eat some clock up,” fullback Lorenzo Neal said. “We're not helping our defense.”
    That's a fact defensive players won't deny, even as they assume blame.
    “It is tough,” Cooper said of the Chargers defense having been on the field an average of 72 plays over the past four games compared with the opposing defenses' average of 53. “It takes a toll on your body. Guys are tired. Breakdowns are definitely going to happen the more you're on the field. But as the defense, we can't have that. It's part of the game. We need to get off the field.”
    The Chargers are tired of comparing everything with last season. But the fact is that 2006 is a standard for success.
    One of the biggest reasons for the Chargers' success last season was their defense's ability to get off the field quickly. A stunning 36 percent of their opponents' drives lasted three plays or fewer, either because of punt or turnover. This season, the Chargers are forcing teams off the field that quickly in just 22 percent of their drives.
    And for all the talk about performance on first and second down setting up third down, every defensive player questioned this week acknowledged there must be an edge on third down – be it third-and-1 or third-and-13. “We've just got to knuckle up and get off the field,” safety Clinton Hart said. “Third down is a mentality.”
    “Really, if you look at it, they were 7-of-8 on third downs,” Norv Turner said, factoring in the yardage gained on third down to set up those fourth-down tries. “That's why they were able to keep the ball. The time of possession was way, way, way in their favor. That's why they were able to drive.”
  2. Electric Chair

    Electric Chair Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2006
    "Chargers are the league's worst offense and second-worst defense over the past four games."

    Just sickening. :tdown::tdown::tdown:

    BOLTS4LIFE Banned Banned

    Oct 13, 2006

    Oh Man. That really sucks!!! :broncfan:

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

    Jul 11, 2006

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