Inside The Bills

3rd down breakdown

Posted by Chris Brown on September 12, 2016 – 10:45 am

It wasn’t pretty on third down for the Bills on offense Sunday in Baltimore. Buffalo had just three conversions on 13 attempts with their last conversion coming at the 5:57 mark of the second quarter. Here’s a breakdown of their third down opportunities.

Eight of their 13 third down opportunities were 3rd-and-6 or more. Buffalo failed to convert on a pair of 3rd-and-1s and a 3rd-and-2, all of which were run plays including a 3rd-and-goal at the one-yard line. Six third down plays went for no gain or negative yardage including a pair of sacks of Taylor. The three conversions were made on passes by Taylor to Watkins, Woods and Clay.

Taylor said a lot of new looks were thrown at them by the Ravens on third down.

“Scheme-wise they did a couple of things that we’ve seen and a couple of things we haven’t seen,” Taylor said. “They did a good job of pressuring. We spent a majority of the game in 3rd-to-5 or more. That’s when most teams get exotic and are able to bring some heat and mix some different pressures up.”

Here’s a look at how all of Buffalo’s 13 third downs turned out.

3rd-and-14 at BUF 28 – complete to Gillislee for minus-4 yards
3rd-and-6 at BAL 43 – incomplete (Clay)
3rd-and-4 at BUF 31 – Watkins 5 yards – 1st down
3rd-and-6 at BUF 40 – sack for minus-4 yards
3rd-and-4 at BUF 47 – Woods 6 yards – 1st down
3rd-and-13 at BAL 37 – Clay 33 yards – 1st down
3rd-and-1 at BAL 1 – Taylor sneak for no gain
3rd-and-1 at BAL 37 – McCoy for no gain
3rd-and-16 at BAL 32 – Woods for 1 yard
3rd-and-2 at BUF 47 – Taylor run for minus-2 yards
3rd-and-8 at BUF 44 – Clay for 7 yards
3rd-and-7 at BUF 38 – Taylor scramble 3 yards
3rd-and-6 at BUF 26 – sack for minus-12 yards


Posted in Inside the Bills

Players know 3rd down needs a jump start

Posted by Chris Brown on December 1, 2014 – 1:44 pm

The Bills offense had a trying time of converting on third down Sunday in their win over the Browns. So although they enjoyed the win, the men on offense realize they’ll need to dramatically improve their third down conversion rate this coming Sunday in Denver.

“We didn’t do well on third downs, I don’t know if we converted one, at all? But we won the game,” said Robert Woods. “That’s something we have to work on. We’ve got to win on third downs and put ourselves in good situations.”

Buffalo was 2-for-15 on third down conversions in the game. The Bills did not convert on their first 11 third down opportunities. Their first conversion came with 7:29 left in the game when Marqueis Gray took a short pass for 41 yards on a crucial 3rd-and-1. The other conversion came three plays later, on another 3rd-and-1, with Fred Jackson getting the necessary yard. Buffalo eventually kicked a field goal.

“We weren’t executing on third downs,” said Eric Wood. “We still didn’t play great. A lot of times, those four yard runs in the first half, those turned into six and seven yard runs in the second half.  And we were saying then, we want to be patient.  But at the same time, it’s frustrating when you’re not scoring.  We gotta do a better job on third down, that’s for sure.”

The Bills rank 26th in the league in third down conversion percentage at 36.3%.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Spiller: Offense must improve in same areas

Posted by Chris Brown on August 8, 2014 – 9:12 am

There have been a couple of persistent problems when it comes to Buffalo’s offensive execution the last few years. Third down conversions and red zone scoring efficiency. Last season the Bills finished 29th in both categories. C.J. Spiller said the two areas have been a primary focus this offseason.

“We know where we want to go as an offense, we know the things we want to get better at,” Spiller said. “It’s just things that hurt us last year that we’re trying to work on like third down, the red zone and two minutes. There’s different situations we’re trying to get better at as an offense and we understand that.”

On Friday night the Bills will be facing a Carolina defense that ranked 12th in third down defense and third in the NFL in red zone defense allowing opponents to reach the end zone just over 41 percent of the time (41.5%).

Tags: , ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Lewis on when & why he throws short of sticks

Posted by Chris Brown on October 21, 2013 – 1:34 pm

There were a few occasions where Thad Lewis threw to receiving targets, who were short of the first down marker on some third down plays. Buffalo on some of those occasions was unable to convert for a fresh set of downs. But Lewis better explains why he chose at times to go to targets short of the markers.

“It’s something where I have to go there when there’s nothing else available past the sticks,” Lewis told “When it’s third down and all the defensive backs are dropping back you don’t want to try to force the ball in there. If I do that then I’m going to have a turnover. It’s better to punt and get field position than a turnover.

“You never know. If I throw a screen or if I throw underneath and one guy misses a tackle that could be a first down. It’s pretty much taking what the defense gives me. I have reads downfield, but if they’re covered I have to take what the defense gives me, live to see another day and guys on that (checkdown) play hopefully we can get it to them the next series.”

The Bills were a very respectable 9-for-19 on their conversions in Sunday’s win (47%).

Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

A 3rd down figure for Bills-Ravens

Posted by Chris Brown on September 29, 2013 – 8:02 am

As we covered on this weekend, third and long has been a problem not only for Buffalo’s offense, but surprisingly for their defense as well as they’re giving up conversions on third-and-long 52 percent of the time. On Sunday they face a Baltimore team, that while struggling a bit in offensive production has found a way to convert on third down.

No offense in the NFL has more third down conversions than Baltimore. The Ravens have racked up a total of 24 through three games.

On the flip side of that, only one other defense has surrendered more third down conversions than the Bills. Cleveland has given up 24 third down conversions, which is just one more than Buffalo (23).

The Bills will need to go hard in the opposite direction of those numbers to post a win against the defending Super Bowl champions today.

Tags: ,
Posted in Inside the Bills

Third down test

Posted by Chris Brown on November 7, 2010 – 9:06 am

Buffalo’s offense has shown dramatic improvement in terms of conversion percentage the past two weeks, but they’ll have a supremely difficult task maintaining their rate of success today.

Buffalo has converted more than half of their third down conversions over the last two games (22-40, 55%). But they’ll be facing the league’s best third down defense in the Bears here at the Rogers Centre.

The Bears are allowing opponents to convert less than 30% of their third down opportunities this season (29-98, 29.6%).

Third down success for the Bills will be something to monitor during this game today for sure.

Posted in Inside the Bills

Don’t blame the run game

Posted by Chris Brown on November 5, 2009 – 12:09 pm

With third down conversions a major focus for the Bills in their bye week, I came across some interesting figures.

As we mention in today’s story on the home page (Offense focused on moving the sticks) converting on third and short has been one of the biggest problems. Further proof that the run game is doing it’s job are the following numbers.

On first down this season the run game is averaging 3.91 yards per carry. On second down its averaging 4.18 yards per carry. Those add up to 8.09 yards combined, leaving a lot of third and shorts to convert, but they still haven’t happened.

I realize that the Bills aren’t running on every first and second down, but the figures are even better in terms of average gains on first and second down when Buffalo is passing. On first down they’re averaging 5.41 yards per pass play. On second down its an average of 4.79. Nothing fantastic granted, but those two averages together make for 10.20 yards gained, which is a first down without even the need for a third down play.

The worst combination of run and pass from the first and second down averages equals 8.70 yards. It still leaves third and short, but converting in short yardage has been difficult. It’s what has the Bills ranked 30th in third down conversion percentage (26%). Incomplete passes have been the biggest problem and there are more errant throws than drops. Sacks (yes, sacks on third and short) are part of the problem too.

Hopefully the Bills rectified a lot of what has ailed them on third down in their two bye week practices and their execution improves in the second half because the Bills are robbing themselves of extra offensive plays on the field each week by not converting. Last week was a perfect example. Buffalo was 2-10 on third downs and as a result had just 45 offensive plays in the game compared to 76 for Houston, which accounted for the disaparity in time of possession as well (Houston – 39:08, Buffalo 20:52).

Posted in Inside the Bills
%d bloggers like this: