Thursday, November 26, 2009

Manning and Colts converting 3rd down

My dad and I were talking at the Colts/Ravens game Sunday and I was saying on one of the third down plays that I actually would rather see the Colts in 3rd and 1 or 2 than 3rd and 4 or 5 cause it just seems like Manning always picks up the latter, while the former might not be as easy since there’d be a greater chance they run the ball and the Ravens had a better chance of stopping the run.

So I decided to test that theory, looking at Manning’s conversion rate (first downs or touchdowns divided by total third down attempts, not including kneels or spikes), the Colts overall conversion rate (adding rushes into the mix), and then for the heck of it looked at the league’s overall conversion rates.

On third downs, with the following yards to go, this is the conversion rate (first down and touchdowns divided by attempts, removing penalties, spikes, kneels, and other non-plays) for Manning throwing, Colts overall, and the league overall. Note that the Colts overall attempts and conversion rates include Manning's passing.

3rd and 1
Manning: 60% (5 att)
Colts: 67% (18 att)
League: 66% (430 att)

3rd and 2
Manning: 50% (8 att)
Colts: 55% (11 att)
League: 54% (300 att)

3rd and 3
Manning: 60% (10 att)
Colts: 50% (16 att)
League: 45% (332 att)

3rd and 4
Manning: 56% (9 att)
Colts: 50% (10 att)
League: 43% (329 att)

3rd and 5
Manning: 58% (12 att)
Colts: 58% (12 att)
League: 39% (363 att)

3rd and 6-9
Manning: 42% (33 att)
Colts: 40% (35 att)
League: 33% (1,145 att)

3rd and 10+
Manning: 26% (19 att)
Colts: 25% (30 att)
League: 20% (1,149 att)

Not surprisingly, I was wrong about rate of success from those distances. Also not surprisingly, the Colts are better at converting on third down from pretty much any distance than the rest of the league. In some cases, a great deal better. In particular, note how much better they are at converting 3rd downs between 5 and 9 yards. Speaks a great deal to their offensive success.


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