Inside The Bills

Bills were throwing on 3rd down in Wk 1

Posted by Chris Brown on September 13, 2014 – 10:59 am

The Bills are already onto their Week 2 matchup with Miami at Ralph Wilson Stadium Sunday, but there was one interesting anomaly that came out of last week’s win over Chicago.

Buffalo’s offense had 12 third down plays in the overtime game, and they threw the ball every time. First and foremost it’s just one game and a relatively small sample size. So drawing any conclusions based on the third down plays from one game is foolhardy.

Nevertheless for a team that has a strong penchant for running the football to see them throw every time on third down was interesting.

Part of the reason for the passing only plays on third down in Week 1 could likely be attributed to the fact that all but three of their third down plays were less than 3rd-and-5. Once offenses get past 3rd-and-3 the league’s numbers shift heavily toward the pass and Buffalo was an example of that last week.

On their three 3rd-and-2 plays in that game they threw every time. To their credit they converted two of them for first downs. Chicago was also clogging up the box with defenders in the game daring Buffalo to throw. The Bears defense got what they wanted in the game with Buffalo only converting 33 percent on third down, but the Bills got out of there with a victory.

Not surprisingly, Buffalo’s four conversions came on the four shortest down and distance situations on third down. They converted the pair of 3rd-and-2s, a 3rd-and-5 and a 3rd-and-6. It further emphasizes why the offensive staff commits so much to the run because if they can get to 3rd-and-4 or less they stand a much better chance of moving the sticks, even if they choose to throw it.


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