3rd & 14

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Like thinking about how Isaiah Stewart was suspended for more games than LeBron, despite the fact that Stewart didn't throw a single punch or draw any blood and LeBron did.


The more I think about it, the less sense it makes. Here's the play-by-play that led up to the 3rd & 14 call:

  • 5:16 on the clock, 1st & 10 from the 16 - short pass over the middle to Hockenson goes for 24 yards
  • 4:40, 1st & 10 from our 40 - J. Williams runs behind the LG for 0 yds
  • 4:01, 2nd & 10 from our 40 - screen right to G. Igwebuike for -4 yds

We didn't need to be super concerned about the time, but man could we not afford to waste a down. Nice call on 1st down pays off, then we go super predictable on the next set of downs. When the ball is snapped on our 3rd & 14 play, we will have burned over 2 minutes of clock with only 20 yards gained. The lack of urgency on this drive was even worse than how we burned the clock at the end of the first half, when we ran the 2 minute version of the 1-minute offense.

Ok, so there's 3:14 left on the clock when we snap the ball, coincidentally, for our 3rd & 14 play, and we're on our own 36. Before breaking down the playcall, here's what we'd done on 3rd down all day:

  • 3rd & 11 - Swift runs draw for 1 yd (FAIL)
  • 3rd & 13 - short pass to Swift picked off due to miscommunication (FAIL)
  • 3rd & 7 - short pass to Hock knocked down at line, incomplete (FAIL)
  • 3rd & 1 - Cabinda runs up middle for 0 (FAIL - 9 guys in the box, 5 on the line))
  • 3rd & 1 - short pass to ARSB for 3 yds (SUCCESS!)
  • 3rd & 8 - short pass to Hock for 9 yds (SUCCESS, but time ran out so also fail)
  • 3rd & 7 - short pass to Raymond incomplete (FAIL)
  • 3rd & 8 - Swift runs off RT for 57 yds & a TD (SUCCESS big time)
  • 3rd & 14 - screen left to Swift for -1 yds (FAIL)
  • 3rd & 2 - Swift runs off RT for 1 yd (FAIL, settle for FG)
A couple of interesting things. First, we converted 3 of 11 3rd downs in this game, and two of those were by passing. Granted, that was while we were running our 2-minute offense with 1 minute left in the half, but Boyle was 5 for 7 in that stretch for 18 yds (ugh) and picked up 20 yds in penalties on the Browns. Not a huge endorsement of his passing ability, but you could argue he got in a bit of a rhythm there when given a chance. Second, we only ran play-action on like a quarter of our drop-backs, but play-action passing accounted for almost half our yards. I feel like we should be running PA at least a third of the time.

Third, we ran, did a draw, or threw a screen on 3rd down 5 out of the 10 opportunities prior to our last play. One of those tries worked out really well (thanks in no small part to an un-called hold on Sewell), but the other 4 tries all failed and netted a total of 1 yard. It's 3rd and 14. Please don't just run a draw or a screen again. If you're going to run, do something tricky that might gash them for 8 or 9 yards, making the 4th down a more reasonable try. Or, you know, PLAY ACTION because they know we don't want to pass.

So what did Dan Campbell call on 3rd & 14? A draw. It gained 5 yards and burned 37 seconds off the clock. It's a super low percentage play, and it all but guaranteed that IF our defense managed to get a stop, Tim Boyle would only have about a minute, minute & a half, with no time outs, to march down the field and get us some points. The same Tim Boyle that Dan Campbell didn't trust to throw the ball on 3rd & 14.

You see why this thing pisses me off?

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