Tom Brady, The Bucs And Third Down Success Rate

July 26th, 2022

Third down monster?

Interesting numbers Joe found on the Bucs offense and Tom Brady on third downs.

Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL. Joe will entertain arguments for Pat Mahomes or Josh Allen or perhaps Matt Stafford. Yeah, Joe believes Stafford is that good, sorry.

Brady may be pushing 45 but he’s playing like he’s 30. The man is ageless.

But looking through Warren Sharp’s 2022 Football Preview, Joe may have stumbled across potentially Brady’s kryptonite. It seems Brady is only above average when it comes to third down success rate.

Before going over what “success rate” is in football stats, just know on third downs, “success rate” is no different than “third down conversion.” And there, Brady is just, well, OK.

Per Sharp, Brady’s only converts 40 percent of the time. The league average, per Sharp, is 37 percent.

Brady’s success rate passing on first and second downs is well above NFL average at 56 and 55 percent, respectively.  First down “success” is when the offense gains 50 percent of the yards needed for a first down; on second downs it is 70 percent of the yards needed for a first down.

Now here is where it gets pretty cool. While Brady’s success rate passing on third downs is so-so, when the Bucs run on third downs they have a strong success rate. The Bucs last season converted first downs on 69 percent of their third-down rushing attempts. The NFL average is 53 percent.

You know what that tells Joe? The Bucs are having a lot of third-and-short situations, which invite running the ball.

9 Responses to “Tom Brady, The Bucs And Third Down Success Rate”

  1. Bird Says:

    Never understood why we chuck it down field on 3rd and 1 recently . No need. Get the first , then go back to abusing defenses at will

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    ‘First down “success” is when the offense gains 50 percent of the yards needed for a first down; on second downs it is 70 percent of the yards needed for a first down.’

    Can’t recall ever seeing the term ‘success rate’ and pretty sure I’ve never seen it defined before. Seems kinda finite yet arbitrary at the same time. Example: 1 team has 1st-and-10, gets 5 yards, so they have 100% success rate? Another team has 1st-and-20 because of a penalty, they get 9 yards, so they have a 0% success rate? (I’d think that the 2nd team did better). Conversions on the other hand are pretty straight-forward; you either make it or you don’t.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we throw for 4 yards on 3rd & 3 instead of 20…..we would have better success……I can’t count the times we went downfield instead of just moving the chains.

  4. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    It’s because unless it’s near the end of the game and we NEED the first down, either Brady arians or leftwhich call a 40 yd bomb on 3rd and 2 every time

  5. geno711 Says:

    My eyeball observation. Brady is about average on 3rd down conversions in the 1st quarter/1st half just because he is low risk early in the game. But Brady is elite in 3rd down conversion in the 4th quarter.

    Example 1st Green Bay regular season game of the Brady/Bucs era. Bucs down 10 to 0 in the 1st quarter. 3rd and 3 yards at about midfield. Open receiver in the flat but it appears receiver did not make a strong comeback move. Probably could have been completed but Brady just throws it into the ground on purpose and we kick the ball. Just did not want to potentially risk the ball early in the game when the defense was fresh. Winston would have thrown the ball. 70 percent Winston would have completed it. 20 percent that it would have been a pick six.

  6. Upstate NY BUC Says:

    I went to the Philly game and Wash game on the road, and Brady had a few misfires on 3rd down conversions if I remember correctly watching him walk off the field to the sideline, head down and he seemed very flustered. Think we will see big improvement this year, go Bucs….

  7. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Peyton Manning, the greatest QB of all time, had this to say about 3rd downs:

    Don’t play to get to a “manageable” 3rd down. 3rd downs SUCK! The defense is fired up, the line has their ears pinned back and the coaches like to throw something exotic at you. 3rd downs are converted on 1st and 2nd by avoiding 3rd down. He basically described “staying ahead of the chains” as getting another first down on 1st down or 2nd down.

    @Geno is absolutely right about Brady managing his risks. One aspect of being a great QB is being a great game manager. Aaron Rodgers is also very good at managing the game, but sometimes he comes to risk adverse.

  8. Wild Bill Says:

    Brady is still human last time I checked. He does miss an open receiver sometimes but so does every qb. And some of the misses are because the receiver did not run the route the way he was supposed to or he got bumped off the route just before the ball was thrown. Brady sets a high standard for himself and also for his receivers. I am more concerned with consistency with the Bucs run game than their pass game.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    Brady is obviously Brady, but Winston also was one of the top guys on 3rd down conversions for almost his entire time here, including the Dirk years. When you have great WRs, and good TEs – that makes a big difference. But also you need to have a QB who isn’t afraid to throw for the 1st down and not just be a Mike Glennon or Derek Carr where you check it to the RB for 2 yards on 3rd and 9.