Third-down efficiency keying Colts' run

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Nov 26, 2008.

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  1. NewsGrabber

    NewsGrabber Guest

    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky Nothing has sparked the Colts' recent run more than fantastic play on third down.

    Indianapolis has the best third-down offense in the league, converting at a 49 percent clip, and has regained the familiar comfort level with one area that's been a key to their offensive success during the Peyton Manning era.

    A month ago the Colts were 3-4 and converting third downs at a 41.6 percent rate.

    During the four game winning streak since it's been 60.3 percent.

    Third down was a big topic today when Manning and coach Tony Dungy talked with the Indianapolis press.

    The relevant excerpts:

    PEYTON MANNING

    (on what has made the Colts' 3rd-down efficiency better)
    "I guess I couldn't say for sure, but for the most part we've done a better job of being in third and manageable. I know we've had more of the 3rd-and-1s and 2s and 3s. We haven't had a ton of the 3rd-and-12s and 15s, although we have had some of those and we have converted some of those. We had a big one against Houston and had a big one the other night against San Diego to get into field goal range. For the most part, what we're really trying to do is be good on first and second down. We talk about no negative plays on those downs. We talk about keeping the down and distance in phase, where you're not getting a 2nd-and-15 or a penalty to make it a tough first or second down that puts you into a tough third down. That's the mindset, and also it's just a mindset to stay out there on the field. You have to have good play calling, but you have to have good execution to stay on the field. I've always thought third downs are converted, if you will, on first and second down."

    (on the Colts being on top of the NFL in 3rd-down efficiency for the last few years)
    "Obviously, when you get out there on offense you want to stay out there, so it's a mindset to stay out there on the field. When we're really rolling, you don't have to get into third down. You are allowed to get a first down on second down. That's what you like, when you're really just going first down, second down. It's a challenge every week trying to figure out a team's third-down scheme and what the best plays are against it. But, just trying to execute and stay on the field is the main thing."

    (on spreading the ball around on 3rd down)
    "You're going to call a play. Every play is going to have a progression to it. (WR-Anthony Gonzalez) had some big third downs the other night (at San Diego). (RB) Dom(inic Rhodes) had a big one on a third down and of course had the fourth down (TD catch), so everybody's live."

    TONY DUNGY
    (on the Colts improving 3rd-down efficiency recently)
    "The biggest thing is we've avoided the catastrophes on offense. We haven't had as many penalties, we haven't had the first- and second-down sacks, so you stay in 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-6 and that helps your percentages. We've been pretty good on 3rd-and-longs, the ones that we've had, we've been able to convert our share. More than anything it's been staying out of 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-14 that's helped us, and that's been just overall sharpness of everyone."

    (on if increasing 3rd-down efficiency gives you more plays) November 26, 2008
    "It does, it definitely does. We had the one 3rd-and-1 that we didn't make (at San Diego), and that can cost you the ball game. That was one we needed to put the game away. When you make those third downs, you get three more plays if you aren't turning the ball over. That does help. A lack of turnovers and converting those third downs has caused the time of possession and number of plays to go in our favor."


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