It wasn’t a perfect game on offense by any means. Yards were hard to come by on first and second down, but Buffalo was a respectable 9-for-19 on third downs for a conversion rate of 47 percent. That’s almost 15 percent above their season average (33.3%). Here’s why there success rate was higher Sunday.
Part of the reason was Buffalo’s ability to convert on some third and longs in the game. In fact four of Buffalo’s nine third down conversions were third and longs. Bills center Eric Wood gave a ton of credit to QB Thad Lewis.
“He did a great job again,” said Wood. “Composed, poised, made some plays in key situations. We were so bad on third and long coming into this game and he really made some plays on third and long, which was great.”
Lewis hit Fred Jackson early and he converted a 3rd-and-15 with a 21-yard catch and run on the team’s first series.
T.J. Graham converted a 3rd-and-17 with a 30-yard catch in the second quarter from Lewis.
Stevie Johnson converted a 3rd-and-7 with a seven-yard catch, then followed up with a conversion of a 3rd-and-11 with an impressive spin move to elude a would be tackler to gain the extra necessary yards to move the sticks.
Scott Chandler converted a 3rd-and-9 with a 12-yard catch.
“It’s just a situation where we need to make plays,” said Johnson. “We’ve been pretty average on third downs. I don’t know if that play was on third down, but I feel like we’ve been pretty average. We should be way better on third downs and I feel like I should be way better on third downs for the team. Basically, we have to get back to the basics and working.”
Though it was only a 3rd-and-medium situation, Fred Jackson had the biggest third down conversion of the game when he ripped a run off right tackle on 3rd-and-4 for 10 yards with 2:37 left in the game.
Nevertheless seeing the Bills overcome long down and distance instead of the opposition was a welcome change.
“We had a lot of passes in the game plan this week, that’s a stout front,” said Wood. “We want to be an offense that’s not predictable. We’re trying to break some of our tendencies that we’ve built. We kind of threw out a bunch of different personnel groups. We gave them a bunch of different looks and we thought we had a lot of good matchups in the passing game. Obviously, when we got the runs called, we would have liked to have been more effective. But we did throw the ball well at times and that was part of our game plan.”
Tags: 3rd and long, Eric Wood, Fred Jackson, Scott Chandler, Stevie Johnson, T.J. Graham, Thad Lewis
Posted in Inside the Bills