Indianapolis Colts Football

Key to Future 3rd Down Success is Finding Managebale Situations

Posted by Kevin Bowen on December 19, 2013 – 2:20 pm

The slow starts for the Colts offense over the past two months have been difficult to put a finger on.

A lack of execution has been the most frequent answer from many Colts players.

When it boils down though, the inability to sustain drives due to a 5-of-40 third-down performance in first halves is the most alarming number.

That was the case heading into Sunday’s game versus the Houston Texans.

However, a 5-of-5 third-down effort followed in the first quarter and it was no coincidence that led to a 20-3 halftime lead.

Here are a few reasons why the Colts were so successful in the first half on Sunday:

3rd and manageable: Of the five conversions in the first quarter, four came in third-and-three or smaller situations. The Colts got into those down and distances thanks to plenty of first-down success. The Colts had gains of 7, 0, 7, 5 and 8 yards on first-down during those five conversions. In possessing the ball for 11:05 of the opening quarter, the Colts can point directly to ample first-down success in allowing for more manageable third-down conversions.

1st down success: Building off that point, the Colts averaged 4.5 yards on their 28 first-down plays on Sunday. The Colts gained at least 5 yards on 11 separate first-down plays against the Texans. A reason why the Colts did not see the same third-down success the rest of the game is that 9 of those 11 plays of at least five yards came in the opening quarter. After the first quarter, the Colts had just two third-downs that were less than a 3rd-and-5 situation. That relates directly to fewer “big” plays on first down.

Pep Hamilton’s thoughts: The next step for the Colts offense comes in trying to build off the sustained drives they showed early on Sunday. The Kansas City Chiefs are second in the NFL in allowing just 31.9 percent conversions on third-down.

“Having that run/pass threat on third-down makes it more feasible to convert third-downs,” Hamilton said on Thursday. “It’s our goal to be efficient on first and second down and, if there is a third-down, make sure that it’s third-and-short-or-medium.


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