3rd Down struggles are back
Over the last two weeks, the Seahawks have improved on third down. Third down efficiency has been the kryptonite of this successful offense. Mainly because Seattle is finding themselves in long down and distances come third down. In the loss against the Rams and win over the Cardinals, the Seahawks got better and better on 3rd down conversions in each game. But, in the win over the Eagles, the Seahawks struggled mightily on 3rd down, converting 2 of 10 (20%) tries.
Although they were able to win this game, that conversion rate will not take this team far in the playoffs. On Seattle’s first two offensive drives, they failed on two fourth down conversions. The first, coming at the goal line (which I wasn’t a fan of the play call) and the other coming in Philly territory. The poor third down play brought up the fourth downs and hence, the failed conversions followed.
Come playoff time, a crucial element in close games in the fourth quarter is the ability to convert on 3rd downs. If you remember in the 2018 AFC Championship game that went to overtime, Tom Brady converted on three straight 3rd and 10s that ultimately set up the game-winning touchdown. What this Seattle team needs to be better at is getting closer to the sticks, so that they face a 3rd and 4 instead of 3rd and 10.
With both running backs at full strength and the return of Rashard Penny on the helm, the Seahawks should be able to get closer to the sticks and create shorter down and distances on crucial plays. Russell Wilson is an exceptional player maker and thus, shorter down and distances put more pressure on the defense in high leverage moments in the playoffs.