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2010 NFL Staying Out Of 3rd & Long Stats & Conversion Rates


I started this research initially to see how the Steelers did against the other 31 teams percent wise at staying out of 3rd and long situations and when they were in 3rd and long, how they did converting them. For this stat project I used 6-10 yards as the variable for “long” on 3rd downs. In the sortable table below, the first column is the number of plays each team ran needing between 1 and 10 yards for a first down. The second column is the number of plays ran on 3rd down needing 6-10 yards for a first down. The 3rd column is the percentage of the first and second columns to find out the percent of 3rd down plays with 10 or less yards to go were run from 3rd and long. That should be pretty clear.

As you can see, by sorting the 3rd column, that the Steelers did a pretty good job in relation to the number of 3rd downs needing 10 yards of less at staying out of 3rd and 6 or more yards to go for a 1st down. The Packers led the league in this percentage of staying out of 3rd and long which really helps open up your play selection a bit more. 9 of the 14 teams with percentages under 48% made it to the playoffs. The Bears and Jets were the two worst teams in this percentage and it is a testament to the play of their defense that they were able to make the playoffs.

I next wanted to see how teams did at converting these 3rd and longs percentage wise. The 4th column is the number of first downs converted on those 3rd and long plays and the last column is the success percentage of the 2nd column. As you can see, the Steelers did a great job of converting 3rd and long situations during the regular season as they converted 42% of the time with 6-10 yards to go on 3rd down. This was with Ben Roethlisberger even missing a quarter of the season due his suspension. Of the 12 teams converting at 37% or better, 8 made the playoffs. The Bears only converted 28% of the time in these situations and once again it is a testament to their defensive play. The Seahawks came in at 29%. They made the playoffs as we all know, but did so out of the week NFC West.

Nothing earth shattering really in summation. Stay out of 3rd and long or you better convert them at a 40% rate or better unless you have a top notch defense that keeps you in many of game.

Team 3rd Plays 3rd L Plays 3rd L Plays % FD FD %
Bears 153 81 53% 23 28%
Jets 200 104 52% 37 36%
Cowboys 175 91 52% 33 36%
Broncos 163 84 52% 28 33%
Rams 186 96 52% 31 32%
Lions 199 101 51% 42 42%
Raiders 168 85 51% 26 31%
Redskins 156 80 51% 17 21%
Dolphins 189 94 50% 34 36%
Browns 171 86 50% 25 29%
49ers 173 87 50% 25 29%
Chargers 158 78 49% 38 49%
Ravens 171 84 49% 35 42%
Buccaneers 173 85 49% 35 41%
Bills 166 82 49% 30 37%
Panthers 166 82 49% 23 28%
Vikings 160 76 48% 22 29%
Cardinals 163 79 48% 17 22%
Falcons 205 96 47% 40 42%
Steelers 175 83 47% 35 42%
Patriots 157 74 47% 30 41%
Giants 161 76 47% 22 29%
Colts 181 84 46% 30 36%
Titans 158 73 46% 23 32%
Saints 184 82 45% 35 43%
Texans 164 74 45% 23 31%
Seahawks 170 76 45% 22 29%
Eagles 167 73 44% 27 37%
Jaguars 165 72 44% 20 28%
Chiefs 181 78 43% 33 42%
Bengals 188 77 41% 27 35%
Packers 166 65 39% 26 40%

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About Dave Bryan

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