By Rich Tandler
One of the issues the Redskins had last year was third down conversions. In 2010 they faced 208 third down situations and they made first down on 61 of them. That 29.3 conversion percentage was the second worst in the NFL. The NFL average was 38.3 percent.
The Redskins are doing better this year but not substantially. They have converted on 11 of 32 third downs, 34.4 percent. That’s good for 22nd in the league.
The numbers are a bit deceiving here. For one thing, the Redskins are two for two on fourth down tries. So, after two failed third downs they did end up converting. And two penalties after the whistle on third-down plays have given the Redskins first downs.
But you can’t rely on cheap shots or fourth-down touchdown passes to bail you out. If they are going to join the ranks of the better teams in the league, they need to move the chains and keep the other team’s offensive weapons off of the field.
The top team in third-down conversions last year was the Chargers, who made almost 45 percent of their attempts.
Update: @skinstweeter pointed out that against the Cardinals the Redskins converted three third downs on their fourth-quarter drive that ended up in the fourth-down touchdown pass to Santana Moss. And since the converted two third downs on their opening drive, they went seven possessions in between those while converting just one third down.