Hello Fellow Rumblers,
I have done the research and now plan to post it. I have stated all along about how bad the D has been all year. I have been told, but, Suteck, it's out of context, in a vacuum, in space, rotating around the sun and has no real bearing. Or I hear how I want an elite defense and I really don't. Or how I am unreasonable and it is points that is the biggest tell-tale sign for a defense.
I have a few words for that: HOGWASH ON RYE BREAD!
The game of football is very complicated. We can all agree on that. There are many games within games in each game. Sometimes, it is field position. Sometimes it is clock control. There are many variables. I believe that the first half game is important, but, it is the second half that good teams are defined by. Good teams stand up in the second half. I guess it is b/c no lead that a team gets is safe in the first half. We all know our Beloved Buffalo Bills history against the Houston Oilers in the comeback game, down 31-3 at one point, I believe 28-3 at halftime. So, almost no lead is safe IMO. In the game today, teams are very close and what separates them is the second half when both teams are tired and emotion has died down and skill is the difference. That is one reason why good teams find ways to win and bad ones don't. I believe that points and leads in the second are far more damaging then in the first half. Why you ask? Simple really, teams have less of a chance to come back and respond. You can give Brady 40 seconds and he can't come back all the time. Give him 5 min and I am worried about holding onto a lead. So, IMO, good teams get better in the second half and defense, which is what this team is built on, is built to win in all kinds of weather.
Boomsauce said but, Suteck, what if (in basketball) James scores 38 in the first half and then 13 in the second half, did he play poorly? Great question. The answer is yes IF IF IF this is a trend. Again, good and great players make plays in the entire second half, not just in little increments of time and effort. Whether it is fair or not, we remember Jordan winning the NBA title at his end of game heroics, not the points he put in before. We remember the winning shot in the USA victory in the miracle on ice. Not the saves our goalie made before and after that goal. Heck, most of us don't even remember that when we beat the Russians, we still had another game to play AND WIN in order to win the gold. We are fans, and that is how we are wired.
But, Suteck, is that fair? Not for me to say, really. But, the truth is, second half of anything is worth more then the first half. The later it goes in a close tennis match, the more exciting it is. It isn't that the plays before aren't as important, but, it is late in the match, or year that good teams win and bad ones lose. The creme rises to the top, so to speak.
So, what does this have to do with our Buffalo Bills, who have played much better in the last few weeks. Especially the defense, right, anyone can see that, right? WRONG. One of the most important stats is third down. Third down plays into many major facets of the game, convert and the clock stays under your control, and the field position is in your favor. The other offense is off the field and your defense is resting. Fail and uncertainty rules again. There are 2 types of bad defenses, those that give up big play after big play, and those that might not give up the big play, but, continue to get beat on third down, the dreaded "bend but don't break" mentality that we have all come to hate (thanks DJ). IMO, giving up a quick strike for a TD is better then giving up a long 8 min drive. Why? Simple really, it gives your team more time to respond. If Brady marches down the field in 4 plays for a TD, and it took 2 min, you have the rest of the period and game to respond. The D isn't really tired, the field position isn't altered etc. Now, let Alex Smith run an 8 min drive down our throats and that does a lot of things. It takes time off the clock. Our D is tired. Our O needs to respond or the entire team is in trouble. A collapse could happen if the O goes 3 and out, and any team scores again, especially in the second half, when time to respond is dwindling with every second of the clock. The worse part is, even if they hold the ball just for 6 min, the damage might be so great that the game is essentially over. Why you ask? fair question. B/c if they get the ball back, run off 8 plays for 40 yards in 6 min, then punt the ball back, time is gone, and field position has been changed. No longer does our team get to play field flipping (by punting) to try and control that part of the chess game. Nope, now, we have to score b/c the D has given up one quarter already and even if we are at the 5, the result is we have to convert, and their D knows that and plays accordingly. That is the damage of control in the second half. How bad has our team been?
Well that is the point of the post and here is the damage: Oh, I didn't know that defensive penalties that give them a first down don't count in their conversions, so, I added those in. I listed every third and 4th down that we had thus far and counted every conversion that went for a TD as a success (but not FGs, they are failures for this study).
FIRST QUARTER SECOND THIRD FOURTH/OT (NOTES)
JETS (10/15) 4/4 3/5 1/2 2/4
CHIEFS (5/14) 0/3 2/3 1/4 2/4
BROWNS (3/11) 0/3 1/3 3/4 0/2 (ONE BY BUF PENALTY)
PATS (4-11) 0/1 1/5 1/2 2/3
49ERS (7/11) 0/3 2/2 2/2 4/5 (ONE IS 4TH DOWN CON)
CARDS (5/16) 0/2 3/6 2/4 1/6 (2 ARE 4TH DOWN CON)
TITANS (9/14) 1/1 3/4 2/3 4/7 (ONE IS 4TH DOWN CON)
TEXANS (4-11) 1/3 0/2 2/3 1/3
PATS (7/12) 2/3 2/2 2/3 2/5 (ONE BY BUF PENALTY)
MIAMI (3/10) 0/2 1/4 2/4 3/3 (THREE BY BUF PENALTY)
INDY (8/16) 1/3 3/6 4/5 1/3 (1 WAS KNELL DOWN EOG, ONE BY PEN)
JAGS (1/10) 2/5 0/1 1/3 0/3 (2 BY BUF PENALTY)
RAMS (7/17) 0/3 2/5 4/5 3/5 (2 BY BUF PENALTY)
TOTALS 11/36 23/52 27/44 25/50
% CON 31% 44% 61% 50%
As you can see, the D has been very good in the first, holding teams to 31%. Even in the second, the 44 is not great, but, you can see the start of the decline.
So, what say you now? Is the D smoke and mirrors based on third down for the year? Can you honestly say that good defenses give up 61% in the third quarter and 50% in the 4th, when everything means the most?
crap the lines don't hold, sorry about that.