Ahhh, Third and Long. Besides being a great sports bar in New York City, third and long has described the bane of the Denver Broncos’ existence.
The team is 2-for-22 on third down in their last two games. They are ranked 26th in the league converting on third down just 34.3% of the time.
The top eight teams in converting on third down all have winning records. Keeping drives alive is absolutely essential to team success.
Against the Rams, the Broncos were in third and long situations way too many times. They had two third downs of 10 yards or less and 7 third downs of 10 yards or more.
In Josh McDaniels’ eyes, the reason why the Broncos faced so many third and long situations is because the Rams made a lot of negative plays.
“They made a few more negative plays on us, which forced us into the third down and longs,” McDaniels said. “In those three drives at the beginning of the game where we moved the ball very effectively, I think we only had two third downs, period. And they were the two third downs at the end of the drive that we ended up kicking a field goal right after.”
In 26 plays, they had two third down conversions because the offense made big plays on first and second downs.
“We were staying on schedule and converting on first and second down, and doing a nice job of being productive there,” McDaniels said.
Against the Chiefs in week 10, the Broncos went 6-for-10 on third downs, one of their best performances of the season. Don’t expect it to be that easy this week in Kansas City, however.
When the Broncos have success on first and second down, it gives them more options to work with come third down. It’s a lot easier to call from a long list of plays on 3rd and 4 than it is on 3rd and 9. A threatening running game also aides in third down conversion rates.
“Third and long” has to be punted from the Broncos’ vocabulary to put points on the board.
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