3rd and Long - Reversing the Chargers' polarity

So after another bad week against the Pats in which the Broncos gave up a horribly high conversion rate on 3rd and Long, I was really interested to what the D would do against the Bolts. The numbers were quite good.

Here are the situations and the results

3rd and 11 at SD 35 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass incomplete short middle to A.Gates.
3rd and 8 at SD 25 P.Rivers pass deep middle to M.Floyd to 50 for 25 yards (J.Leonhard).
3rd and 25 at DEN 42 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass short right to R.Brown to DEN 36 for 6 yards (W.Woodyard).
3rd and 8 at DEN 45 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass short left to R.McMichael to DEN 40 for 5 yards (M.Adams). FUMBLES (M.Adams), recovered by SD-R.Brown at DEN 35. R.Brown to DEN 35 for no gain (J.Leonhard).
3rd and 8 at DEN 33 (Shotgun) P.Rivers sacked at DEN 35 for -2 yards (E.Dumervil). FUMBLES (E.Dumervil) [E.Dumervil], RECOVERED by DEN-T.Carter at DEN 35. T.Carter for 65 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Assistant challenged the fumble ruling, and the play was Upheld.
3rd and 8 at SD 31 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass deep middle intended for R.Meachem INTERCEPTED by T.Carter at DEN 35. T.Carter ran ob at 50 for 15 yards (R.Meachem).
3rd and 7 at DEN 41 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass intended for E.Royal INTERCEPTED by C.Harris at DEN 34.
3rd and 16 at SD 41 (Shotgun) P.Rivers pass incomplete short middle to R.Goodman (E.Dumervil).

So that is only 1 of 8 that the D allowed to be converted on 3rd and long - the 25 yard gain to Floyd on 3rd and 8. I guess you could count the McMichael fumble that was recovered far enough down field by the Chargers to gain first down yardage, but I am choosing not to count that as converting on 3rd and long. The chargers were in 15 3rd down situations so more than half of the time they got to 3rd down, it was 3rd and long. The D played exceptionally well for the whole game - only allowing one scoring drive (the two special teams' turnovers deep in own end and the pick 6 account for the other Chargers points). It is also interesting to note that the 3rd and longs in the second half resulted in these outcomes:

fumble foward for a first down, sack-fumble recovered by the Broncos for a TD, sack, INT, INT, incompletion

That is an amazing set of outcomes. Overall (not counting the 3rd down converted by fumbling forward) the Bolts only converted two 3rd downs in the second half.

On the season now the Broncos have put opponents in 3rd and long 44 times and have allowed 18 conversions (41%). That is down from 47% after last week. Overall the the team is allowing 46% conversion on 3rd down. The league average is 38.5% conversion allowed on 3rd down. I still cannot find data for league average conversion percentage allowed on 3rd and long. The Broncos currently rank 29th (tied) in 3rd down conversions allowed - slightly better than the Jets, Steelers and Faiders. Plenty of room left for improvement. The Dolphins are currently the best in the league at stopping 3rd down conversions, allowing only 26% to be converted. In the Broncos three wins we have allowed 39% conversion on 3rd down. In our three losses we have allowed 52% conversion on 3rd down. It is interesting to note that even in our wins our 3rd down D has only been league average (in terms of conversion rate).

Let's hope the bye week helps the D get healthy and focus on the things that worked well in the second half against the Pats and the Bolts.

Go Broncos!

This is a Fan-Created Comment on The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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