Completing First Downs

April 13th, 2019

First down machine.

Joe loves the stat but hates the name.

It’s actually an oxymoron., a stat thinktank Joe respects, has a statistic called “failed completion.” Of course, that’s an oxymoron. How can a completion be a failure? That’s the whole point of throwing the ball.

But this stat is actually a pass that fails to make a first down. It should be called “failed conversion.”

The best quarterback in the NFL at converting first downs is Pat Mahomes of Kansas City. Only 16.2 percent of his passes in 2018 did not end in a first down, or 83.8 percent of his completions went for first downs.

The second-best quarterback in the NFL for throwing for first downs? You guessed it. That would be America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. Of Jameis’ passes, 82 percent of his completions were for first downs.

Now was this a product of Jameis’ talents or Dirk Koetter’s (Todd Monken’s?) offense? The quarterback who completed passes for first downs at the third-highest rate was former Bucs journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick at 81.1 percent.

32 Responses to “Completing First Downs”

  1. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Well if Fitz sucks like so many say, then the answer would have to be the scheme and receivers.

  2. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Now we get to play 2 times a season again against Koetter’s playbook. Lucky us

  3. Clean House Says:

    We had 2 & 3 but sucked what a waste

  4. Mort Says:

    You captioned the wrong person. Should’ve been Mike Evans. P

  5. FortMyersDave Says:

    The stat could be considered irrelevant unless it only was calculated for 3rd and 4th down as a lot of teams would take a 8 or 9 yard completion on first down and keep the D guessing on 2nd and short (given the team has a strong enough running game to make the play action a viable option unlike Koetter’s vanilla run play calling). I wonder what % teams like the Saints and Pats had…..

  6. Rod Munch Says:

    Winston had the 4th highest QBr for a reason, it’s because he threw the ball to pickup first downs. The Bucs were one of the best at moving the ball, and in particular getting 1st downs on 3rd down. Winston, on 3rd down, I believe had the 2nd highest yards vs the 1st down marker, meaning on 3rd and 10, he was throwing to get the first down, not taking the Mike Glennon route of getting 3 yards and then having people pat you on the back for a nice completion percentage.

    Anywho a lot of it was the offense, the Bucs were the only true deep ball offense in the NFL, the only team still running the 1970s Air Coryell offense. Personally, I love that. The team was the top passing team in the league, I loved that. I don’t really care about the running game when you can use the passing game as part of the running game (thus Hump playing near the LOS and getting all those easy receptions).

    Anywho when you’re the top passing team in football, the #3 offense overall, yet have the worst defense year in year out, and you blame the offense for losing, well, you’re an idiot.

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Mahomes threw 50 td’s with only 12 interceptions
    Jameis and Fitzpatrick had combined 36 td’s and 26 interceptions

    14 more interceptions and 14 less td’s = 7 less wins

  8. DB55 Says:

    DB55 Says:
    April 12th, 2019 at 4:01 pm
    If im not mistaken JW 3rd down conv % is pretty high so at least he’s got that

    No Joe, Winston is simply ATM! just goes to show how much some Bucs fans and media really know about the game they watch through their beer goggles.

    I just want to know of the 21-33 record JW has, how many of those losses fall on the shoulders of the 6 time pro bowlers ring of honor high character can’t hold his gap jumping offsides no goal line stand having future hall of famer with the greatest smile on earth? None, of course, bc that wouldn’t fit their narrative of the big bad wolf from FSU.

    Most of yuz don’t know what you got and have no clue what you’re talking about but wtfdik.

  9. Jeffbuc Says:

    You can find stats that jameis is 2nd or top ten at. But I don’t give a crap. All I care about is wins. And we don’t get much of those. Until he starts getting a lot of those he isn’t a franchise qb. I know it’s a team game. But the losses keep piling up so something has to change either more wins or a new qb. This will be his 5th year and we are still hearing the same things we were when he started his 2nd season. If he can cut down on turnovers and dumb mistakes. How long until we say you are who you are. You can’t sign him to a 5 year contract and then in 5 years say he is only 30 he will make the jump this year. Take a deuce or get off the pot. I don’t care who is are quarterback as long as we get victories. All we hear is we have talent we have talent. And each new coach fails. I am coming into this season with optimism like always but we have to have a backup plan if bengals game jameis shows up. And from what history has shown us the last 4 years it will. We are picking in the top ten Again with him as are quarterback. So maybe we need to take a qb with that pick for once. Because heargraves and vea don’t equal a true game changing qb. So let’s not waste another year on hope that one player finally gets it. Draft a qb see what you got if jameis pans out you can always trade that qb for a 1st or 2nd if he shows out in pre season and mop up Duty. So it’s a good investment to me. Like you always say joe how many quarterbacks have had the chance to be as bad as jameis for this long. Not many Blake bottles held the jags back and they finally got rid of him. After waiting 4 years to long. If anyone thinks he isn’t going to have at least 6 multi interception games again with at least two of them being 3-4 you are fooling yourself. Coaching doesn’t matter when the buklets are flying live you revert back to your tendencies. I hope I am dead wrong but I know I’m not.

  10. JameisAlmighty! Says:

    Jameis’ growth was hampered by the Fitz-Tragic mess. Glad Fitz and his side kick MeSean Jackson are gone. Also Bumphries got vastly overpaid by the Titans who have Marcus Sorryota. Dream situation here Bucs fans. Jameis will surely be improving this year to be the best QB not named Tom Brady. And for the record, I think Mahomes is overrated.

  11. BrianBucs Says:

    It is true that Winston’s and Fitz’ s passes resulted in a lot of first downs – For The Other Team

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    All the more reason why the boneheaded turnovers are unnessasary. Especially if it’s not even third down.

    He has to learn how to take a loss on a play or a throwaway. The good news is he showed it coming off the bench last year. If he can master this art he can easily become a dynamic QB.

    GO BUCS!!

  13. BucssFan90 Says:

    So if its a positive stat it might be because of the fired coaches, but if its a negative stat it is strictly Jameis’ fault? Interesting…

  14. geno711 Says:

    @RodMunch Winston had the 4th highest QBR for a reason.

    You have used in this blog a charge of “fake news” a bunch – Munch.

    So let us have a go at whether your statement fits your own definition of fake news.

    I will let you define it in a reply.

    I look at the QBR of Winston for 2018 of Winston and it appears to be 8th not 4th. Maybe you are using another reference for QBR but I think there is just the ESPN created version of QBR.

    But possibly the bigger flaw in why I think many would say it is fake news is that it is only a statistic that Winston fans have mentioned this past year. Never in 2015 (19th), 2016 (12th), or 2017 (18th) were Winston fans pushing the QBR as a key indicator of why Winston was good.

  15. geno711 Says:

    So here is what I see:

    Over reliance by Jameis lovers to go to last years QBR.
    It also seems to me that he was 26th in passer rating last year.

    I am not saying that one is better than the other. However, I am saying that both should be looked at.

    Controversy erupted when the Total QBR system gave the Denver Broncos’ Tim Tebow a higher rating than the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers in their respective Week 5 contests in 2011. Noting that Rodgers completed 26 of 39 passes for 396 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Atlanta Falcons, while Tebow completed four of 10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown, and six rushes for 38 yards and a touchdown, in a loss to the San Diego Chargers.

    In a more recent example, a game played on September 24, 2017, Alex Smith of Kansas City Chiefs received an inexplicable QBR of 7.8, half as much as the equally-bad QBR of 16.1 for his counterpart Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, even though Smith had a higher completion rate (16/21 vs. 20/40), a better average per completion (7.8 yds vs. 5.9), a far superior TD/int ratio (2-0 vs. 0-3), and won the game handily 24-10. For comparison, the RTG, 128.1 for Smith and 37.2 for Rivers, was by far a better metric of success.

    So we all watch the Buc’s on this site. I think most of us agree that Winston was not a top 4 or top 10 QB last year. Maybe some really believe that Winston was a top 4 QB. I hope that Winston gets to be a top QB this year!

    P.S. Seems to me just relying on QBR is similar to just using PFF to get ratings on players or just reading the grade on a college player at to determine whether he is going to be a good player.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    First downs are great.

    Lets improve our red zone percentage!

  17. DB55 Says:

    Dude, I could intercept the seem pass to Brate on 3rd & goal from the 18 yard line. Oh wait don’t throw the pass so that the kicker can miss a 32 fg. Yea that’s it, that’s the ticket.

    True or false, Manning Brady and even Mahomes, Foles, Russell Wilson, all of them have had a running game to punch the ball into the end zone. How many positive rush yards/plays did we have in the redzone? How many RZ rush TDs, what’s that percentage?

    Consider this, in his sophomore year JW was a tiebreaker away from going to the playoffs. Coincidentally the Bucs had a five game stretch where the defense wasn’t bottom of the barrel.

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    Db55-I think of that 2nd season the only time JW3 had anything resembling a decent defense and a running game and they won 9 games. These chuckleheads want to run Jameis off because he’s not single handedly winning more games. We just watched one of the greatest Qb to play the game Aaron Rogers struggle through a losing season for the same reasons.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Definitely do not understand these statistics Joe. Nothing adds up. Using Patrick Mahomes stats, you wrote … “Only 16.2 percent of his passes in 2018 did not end up in a first down, or 83.8 percent of his completions went for first downs.”

    Mahomes completed 383 passes last year, but the Chiefs only made 239 first downs by passing. That’s exceptional IMO, but it’s not 83.8% but rather 62.4%.

    Football Outsiders defined ‘failed completions’ as … “A failed completion is any completed pass that fails to gain 45 percent of needed yards on first down, 60 percent on second down, or 100 percent on third or fourth down.”

    Using THAT definition (factoring in 1st & 2nd down completions for 45% & 60% of the yardage required for a 1st down) then yes, Mahomes did hit on 83.8%. But that seems like a rather irrelevant statistic. You either make a 1st down or you don’t.

    Regarding Jameis coming in second using that criteria, it seems like yet another way to pat Jameis on the head and say ‘Good boy; if only the rest of the pack could hunt we’d catch a lot more foxes.’ Or maybe should’ve said ‘If only Poor Jameis had a running game & defense we’d be Super Bowl winners’. Gotta call horsepuckey on that Joe. EVERY position group on the Bucs TEAM contributes to losses, just as surely as EVERY one of them contributes to wins. And that INCLUDES our QBs. Yes, even Jameis.

    Wonder if Chiefs fans are moaning ‘Poor Patrick, if only he had a running game & defense we’d be Super Bowl winners’ (Chiefs defense was ranked #31 last year using your YARDS ALLOWED criteria and #16 in rushing offense). Poor Chiefs; they ONLY went 12-4.

  20. Magadude Says:

    Mike Glennon seems to be the master of the “failed completion.” So we could also call it the failed checkdown. And guys always talked about him completing more than 60% of his passes and having few INTs. Yeah, and few wins and TDs too.

  21. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Thanks for clearing that up DR. Until QB and QBR ratings include total turnovers,
    it will be an incomplete rating system ,IMO.

  22. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The answer here is quite simple……When & where were the 18% misses…….at crucial times and in the red zone i’d bet.

    Missing in the clutch.

  23. DBS Says:

    All these stats are useless. The only thing that matters is they could run it down the field and not get it over the goal line. Going for field goals all the time will not win games.

  24. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Didnt the sheep watch enough of klueless coaching the last 3 years?

    For 4 years now JW3 has shown us he can throw downfield at will to any group of recievers…accumulating alot of yards

    However klueless gets schphicter turtleitis whenever we get in scoring territory. Klueless predictably bogs down the offense/JW3 from scoring Tds

    This is what 2019 season is all about…

    Our defense suked last and will again this year

    Will BA unlike Klueless playcall/play design the Bucs offense/JW3 into TDs at the redzone

    BA offense will dictate games and help our defense by being ahead

    We will be the #1 scoring offense in the NFL


    Kobe Faker

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @Kobe … “Klueless predictably bogs down the offense/JW3 from scoring Tds”. Interesting take Kobe, and it was most likely PART of the (not-scoring) problem. Personally though I think that 2 other factors were key inside the Red Zone: (1) lack of a power running game (to include RBs AND our OLine); and (2) Jameis seems very slow in terms of reading his progressions compared to some QBs like Brady, Brees & yes Mahomes (inside the 20 is no place for slow developing plays IMO).

    Thus far our running game hasn’t improved any far as I’m concerned (we still NEED a RB to ‘complement’ Barber & a RG as a minimum). And whether BA, Byron Leftwich & (especially) Clyde Christensen can ‘fix Jameis’ is anyone’s guess at this moment. Only time will tell.

  26. Kobe Faker Says:


    Your right probably a combination

    The top scoring offenses use legal pick/slant routes to create separation in the redzone

    The rams, saints, pats and chiefs use alot of screen/swing routes to get the rb shooting toward the corner endzone

    Its a copycat league. With the new fast defenses and attacking the QBb offenses are going to the quick high percentage completion offense schemes. 3 billion dollar franchises are giving their keys to young 35 year offensive play callers because they want the next mcvay who can design offensive plays because


    JW3 in the last 4 years has been 1 of the best throwers on the run, Klueless never used this skillset in his play design

    Kobe thinks BA time consuming plays DOES NOT WORK

    BA will get JW3 killed like his offense did to big ben and carson palmer

    Ive been here 4 years and i am rarely wrong

    JW3 wont make it thru the whole year. If he goes out before half the season, Bucs wont extend his contract and they will go with a rookie QB next year”

    Kobe life coach Faker

  27. Oneilbucs Says:

    We need to focus on defense. We need to go back to our roots and build a defense. Why do we have to be like every other teams? We have brought our team down cause we are trying to be like everyone else. We have been a losing team cause all the focus have been on our quarterback and offense. We used to crush teams all the time with a good defense and a running game. I don’t care about how many yards our quarterback has are our running backs have. If you can’t stop the other teams from scoring we are going to lose. Why do our offense has to score 40 points a game just to win? Yall have been fooled by the national media about football and the Patriots with Brady. They know how to stop the other teams from scoring when that team needs to . We can’t stop anybody from scoring. Rogers had 35 TDs and 5 interceptions and they still didn’t make the playoffs. Quarterbacks doesn’t win football games . It takes a defense to win games as well. The Patriots won cause of their running backs and defense not quarterback. We need to go back to buc ball and focus on defense and running game. Jamies is good enough to win with.

  28. NOSBOS Says:

    Kobe I get where you’re coming from about the offensive play calls taking too long but that can negated by ample running of the football. In 2016 BA ran the ball 452x for 1900+ total rush yards,in 2017 399 rush attempts for 1700+ total rush yards. My belief is his mind set will revert back to the 2016 mark thusly taking away some of the more time consuming play calls that increase the risk to the QB.

  29. Kobe Faker Says:


    Thats why i hope we get a 3 down back duel threat runningback

    Barber isnt a smooth receiver and his total 92 yards receiving wont hack it

    JW3 is going to need a oulet runningback to dump to when the blitz comes before he gets killed

    without the rb screen, we are not a threat in the first 10 yards. defenses are going to play deep zone and blitz on every down. defenses are not going to let our downfield routes develop

    we need the linebackers to worry about the rbs on the pass routes for our wrs to get behind them

    BA has to know barber is no David Johnson and BA better know that the rb screens is a must for his his offense to click

    *That is why Ellington was BAs first acquisition. but we need a 3 down rb. rb screen play on 1st down is magic

    Have the Buc fans forgotten the Warrick Dunn screens and the havoc it creates to defenses and def coords?”

    Kobe Faker

  30. Figures Says:


  31. Buccobrucejr Says:

    The Bucs are going to get Josh Allen by any means necessary! How many years now have your heard Jason Licht say great pass rushers are hard and rare to find? He’s the pic by any means necessary!

  32. Buccobrucejr Says:

    He glows when talking about pass rushers!