Math Explains Third-Down Defense Improvement

November 26th, 2021

Bucs DC Todd Bowles

You hear it all the time: The defense needs to get off the field on third downs.

Two weeks ago at Washington, the Bucs didn’t do that. Washington converted a grotesque 11 of 19 third downs.

On Monday night against the Giants, that flipped. The Giants succeeded on only one third down out of nine tries. Why the change?

Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said early Thursday morning, it was math.

“It just didn’t work out in Washington,” Bowles said. “We had too many third-and-shorts.”

So Bowles was saying to set yourself up for strong defense on third down, you have to suffocate your opponent on first and second downs. Makes sense.

Joe assumes this is the way to beat the Colts on Sunday. The fewer chances Jonathan Taylor has to burn the Bucs on third down, the better. Stop him on first and/or second down and force Carson Wentz to throw.

9 Responses to “Math Explains Third-Down Defense Improvement”

  1. Espo Says:

    This is very enlightening to anyone who has never seen a football game before.

  2. ModHairKen Says:

    So, stop them on 1st, 2nd and 3rd down, don’t let them score and if the Bucs get one score, then they win? Got it.

  3. Unmedicated Pete Says:

    Todd Bowles is such a prolific defensive strategist. It’s simple. We just need to play better on all downs and outscore our opponents. Oh, and its also best that we play teams with offenses worse than our defense.

    Thankfully, Todd Bowles brought the wisdom that served him so well from the Jets.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘Math Explains Third-Down Defense Improvement’? I don’t get the title I guess Joe. At first I thought, oh ya, winning on 1st and 2nd down equals winning on 3rd down, so 1+2=3, got it. But if it was THAT simple, it’d be hard to explain how the Bucs let so many teams convert so many 3rd-and-longs earlier in the season.

    MAYBE the Giants being a team in disarray had a lot to do with us doing better on 3rd down conversions, or that their attack didn’t match up well against our defensive strengths? MAYBE it was as simple as getting SMB back to shore up our Secondary? Or MAYBE the Bucs playing better, more consistent defensive football in that game was because our defensive players, after us losing 2 straight, finally said ‘Enough is enough’.

  5. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Espo Says:
    November 26th, 2021 at 3:56 am
    This is very enlightening to anyone who has never seen a football game before.

  6. unbelievable Says:

    Uh, they actually made a ton of stops and multiple TFLs and first and 2nd down. Washington was still converting 3rd and longs…

    Bowles is full of it.

  7. unbelievable Says:

    *on 1st and 2nd down

  8. captivajim Says:

    Bowles is FULL OF IT …..” it just didn’t work out ” does NOT reflect a genuine understanding of the concept of game planning to counter any opponent’s particular strengths..

  9. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    What good is stopping them on 1st & 2nd when they have a hard time stopping 3rd and 10? Either the the line can’t put pressure on fast enough or the secondary can’t cover long enough.