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Colts' third-down D perhaps not the issue it appeared

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Sep 8, 2008.

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    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

    The Colts struggled to hold on third downs against Chicago on Sunday night as the Bears converted 10 of 16 chances.

    "They didn't pick up many 3rd-and-longs," Coach Tony Dungy said at his Monday press briefing. "They got to 3rd-and-medium quite a bit. They did a good job on 2nd down. We had a lot of 2nd-and-9s and 2nd-and-10s that ended up getting to 3rd-and-3 or 3rd-and-4. I thought that was the best part of what they did. They stayed out of long-yardage situations. They ended up with 16 3rd downs and they converted 10 of them. They got a couple of 3rd-and-6s, 3rd-and-7s, but there were a lot of 3rd-and-2s and 3s that we couldn't get stopped."

    But wobbly third-down defense isn't, in itself, a concern for Indianapolis. The Colts allowed opponents to convert 45.2 percent of third downs against them last year, ranking ahead of only Miami and Detroit. Even giving up all those first downs, Indy had the league's best scoring defense and third-best yardage defense.

    The offense's ability to convert third down at a league-best 49.3 percent also did much to offset the defensive deficiency. Teams may have put drives together against the Colts, but the Colts usually topped those drives themselves.

    Against Chicago, the Colts were just five-for-13 on third and fourth down. The defense can certainly be better, but the thing that qualified as more out of whack was the offense's ability to extend drives.


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