Bills' early-down struggles lead to 3rd-and-long disaster

Posted Oct. 22, 2010 @ 10:02 a.m.
Posted By Eli Kaberon

One of the many reasons the Bills' offense has been so poor in 2010 is that it struggles to engineer any sustained drives. The team has converted only 26 percent of its third downs, the second-worst mark in the league. Much of the blame for the lack of success on third downs is due to trouble moving the ball on first and second downs. When Buffalo faces a 3rd-and-5 or less, it has converted 57.9 percent of its attempts, 11-of-19. But on 3rd-and-6 or more, the conversion rate drops to only 10.5 percent, 4-of-38. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick told reporters, "All season long we haven't been good enough on the 3rd-and-longs, and that's something we looked at during the bye week and hopefully something we'll improve on moving forward." Expect the team to be more aggressive early in drives, which could mean more running plays. The team ranks fifth in average gain per rush, compared to 30th on average gain per pass play.