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The money down belongs to Miami's offense

Readers of this blog -- and there have been over 180,000 unique visitors so far this month -- know the NFL game consists of first down, second down, the money down, and fourth down.

Third down is where players make their big money because it is the most important down.

If the offense is converting on third down, it is staying on the field and depressing the heck out of the defense. If the defense is winning on third down after third down, it is shutting down the opposition's opportunities to score because the opposition is busy headed to their seats on the bench.

So I think we can all agree, third down is the money down.

Now, let's agree on this. The Dolphins are doing excellent work on third down so far this season.

I wrote earlier this week how the Dolphins are very good at converting third-and-2 or fewer yards. Very good is translated as they are converting 85 percent of the time in those situations and no one in the NFL is doing any better.

Well, today we expand on that a little bit.

Simply said, the Miami offense -- for all its flaws and shortcomings -- leads the NFL in third down conversion. The Dolphins have converted 42 of 75 third down plays into first downs this year. That's a 56 percent conversion rate and, it bears repeating, that is the NFL's best rate.

[Quick aside here: The Dolphins are tied for the NFL lead in fourth down conversion. They've converted 5 of 5 situations this season for a perfect 100 percent rate. Atlanta and the New York Jets also have a 100 percent success rate on fourth down.]

So despite a QB change, despite a receiver corps that begs upgrading, Miami's offense is doing work on third down. The defense?

Good. But not great.

Miami's defense is rated No. 12 in the NFL in stopping third down conversions. Miami's defenders have allowed 21 of 58 third down plays to convert into first downs or touchdowns. That's 36.2 percent.

And that's better than Pittsburgh (42.4) or Minnesota (41.4) or Indianapolis (45.6). But it pales compared to Denver (28.4) or, sure enough, New Orleans (26.8).

By the way, Miami's offense matching up against the Saints defense on third down should be interesting. Both are outstanding on the money down as you see above.

The Saints offense is rated No. 8 in third down efficiency so they seem to have a slight advantage satistically against Miami's defense. But the difference is not as vast as the teams' records suggest.

Anyway, the chart below breaks down Miami in every third down situation it has faced this year on offense and defense. You will note the Dolphins offense is not very good in third-and-nine or more (3 of 16). That speaks to Miami's need to improve its passing game.

The defense is giving up too much success on third-and-10 or more (7 of 16). That is not acceptable because the defense has a built-in advantage in long passing situations and Miami's defense isn't cashing in on that advantage so far this season.


  .........1.......2......3.....4.....5......6.....7.....8.....9....10+  TOT.    %

Miami 11-12..6-8..7-7..2-6..7-11..3-6..2-6..1-3..0-6..3-10..42-75  56.0%

Opps. 3-5.....2-4...3-6..0-4..1-4...1-4...2-4..2-7..0-4..7-16..21-58  36.2%


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Well, just think. When all the newspapers are finally out of business you can probably get a job as a statistician...

Can't wait for Sunday I believe the RnR express will run over the saints D sending their stats spiralling quicker than the jets season also expect another great game from Henne as there is still not alot of game action for opposing defenses to get a handle on him.
Smith steps up for defense returns one to the house Fins 30 Saints 20

I really dislike all of the hype that this new Orleans team is getting because they are 6-0. (this has nothing to do with you Mando). But honestly when you look at the stats we ARE better in some Colums. Just like they ARE in others. We need to pay less attention to their record and more attention to what they are going to have to stop. We have the running game down. So let's use it affectively and keep Brees on the sideline. Talking about the game doesn't do anything. We need to all show up at the game and hope for the best, we need to let our team do all the talking out there. Love the blogs Mando. Can't get enough of them.

New Orleans is not a grass team. They are a turf team. 4 of their 5 wins came off turf. The Eagles (grass) gave them a hard time until Kolb started throwing picks. The score was 17-10 in the 3rd. 3 of their 5 wins were at home on TURF.

Going from turf to grass is like going from grass to mud for New Orleans. This will slow down their receivers quite a bit.

We match up good with NO in Landshark Stadium.

How are the jets 100 percent when their fake field goal last week was sqashed by buffalo.

If a wet field slows them down, get it real wet.
And run the rock right down their throats.

Sunday's forcast is 87 degrees with steady rain. Advantage Rick - Ron!

Armando (Mr. Statistition),

Can you get us some stats on how good we are on 3rd and 4th down conversion the last two games? A bit difference offense with Henne in there versus CP10.

Armando, I'd be interested to see a breakdown of Run vs Pass on the attempts on third down.
Our Run Defenese has been pretty good while the Pass Defense has left a lot to be desired. If I were the opposition on 3rd and 1, I'd pass against a suspect LB corp that Miami has. It won't be long until that trend continues. Miami's run D is also skewed statistically: When you can pass as effectively as Miami has allowed, opponents will abandon the run only because they can pass at will. Big challenge this week. Defense MUST pressure Brees, especially from the middle, and force errant passes to get the Saints Offense off the field. Should be interesting. Stick your game plan Dan Henning: Run and Run some more. Go Dolphins!

SAINTS SUCKS.THEY BEAT A NY TEAM WITHOUT THE STARTING CBs SAFETY OLB DT that's 5 of their starting 11 defenders out.

PLAYED THEM GOOD 3-4 Ds Blitz packages
A better 3-4 team is coming.

EAGLES 4-3 with blitzs played them well without McNABB

GIANTS just do not blitz. And it gave BREES to much time.


Mando must have been a Nasa neard in a former life.

We dont blitz very much either, we'd better blitz this Sunday or we'll be down by 20+ points too.

Nice work Mando, Like the Chart

Lovin the rain forecast. A low score slop fest will go in our favor. 17-14 phins

Nice Stats, Mando.

The thing i dont understand, is why are the dolphins looked down upon. Everyone doesn't give us the credit we deserve. When arguing with rival fans, Everyone brings up 1-15 season from two years ago and the forgets the 11-5 season of last year.

Its time for a big win this weekend to shut up all haters.

Go Dolphins!


Isn't New Orleans 26.8% stopping third down conversion a little skewed in the same way Henning said NO's run defense is? In that, opponents are falling behind early, and switching to pass only offenses to catch up. If you run on 1st and 2nd down you can have manageable 3rd down yardage. When all you're doing is passing, you're more apt to have 3rd and longs when 1st and 2nd downs are incompletions.

accu weather says 89 w 101 heat index. if that is true N.O. is toast

Make that (over 180,000) -1 visitors visiting this blog. I secretely logged on as Dr. Leo Pendergrass earlier this week when I was at work so they would not recognize me by by real name.

Run the trap counter left-blue rocket 82 on 3rd and less than 4. 60% of the time it works every time.

I would only run the trap counter left-blue rocket 82 if it was a hot route, red 7.

So if the defense can keep the Saints to 3rd & 4 and 3rd and 9 all afternoon they'll never get a first down, right?? Unless they make it on 4th down. Their punter will be thier best player on the field.

Henne the Hero!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ronnie the Rabid Beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ricky the Rhino!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Grove the Grunter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Earthquake Wake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good to see the nation get more optimistic about our teams chances this Sunday. We have a team that doesn't need to bow down to anyone!!!

Saints can not handle Miami weather outside not in fancy dome

Eagles (with no mcnabb or vick)
giants (very injured also with easy sched.)

These are teams N.O. beat, nobody on here as tuff as miami with hard schedule. Miami ready to punch the aints in the mouth and Henne the Hero and Ronnie the Rabid beast will show them what a real offense do.

FYI we are getting no love from Saints fans on their blogs. They think this will be an easy win for them. We will get the last laugh. This is the NFL.com blog I am talkin about

Colts are much better team than saints and dolphin hang with them until last minute. This dolphins team is now much better and together than team that lost to Colts. This will be great statement win for the MIAMI DOLPHINS!!!!!!!!


Hey, while Mando is breaking down tape and giving us great information, can we also come up with a nickname for the offensive line?

Nickname journalism, that's what I'm talking about.


Excellent breakdown and Mando is right: We need to improve the WRs or the chemistry between Henne and these WRs to get better on third and loooong.

Imagine what kind of offense we'd have with the best running game and an above average passing game? Super.

Whodatnation will be enjoying a nice plate of opossum chops and raccoon ribs while sitting down to watch game.

Who teach Bobby Bouchea to type?

Man's got 180K unique visitors in a month, he's got no worries. Papers go out of business he'll just start his own website on the Dolphins and make a bundle.

U know what I love? All the optimism we have in this game. Look at te blog comments....it seems like everyone is forgetting that the 'aints' have the best offense in the league, the best passing game against our secondary which is the worst in the afc. Unless we change our game plan on defense, it's not going to be pretty.

inimounts mama and sister not too pretty either.

Dolphins will destroy the saints outside with no fancy dome. This is the end to their cake schedule.

This is serious work, Mando. How about those stats on third-and-1 2 or 3. They're awesome!

And Harvey and Omar whatever are right. I glanced at the other blog (from the paper that will not be mentioned) and they were asking for nicknames to something or other. Those guys are terrible.

Read an article that Saints have done a lot of prep for Wildcat, w/ Reg Bush at the helm.....so there goes that letdown-unprepared theory as to why our offense mught thrive.

But the real culprit here is our defense, esp. safeties & MLs---we are simply going to get shredded. I wish we had last years secondary here instead of Gerbil Wilson & friends.

The closer the weekend gets, the more depressed I get at the coming whupping by the Saints.

The optimism on this board is not helping...it's just sad.

I agree that some think they know the best way to win and thats ok.But if your a fan ya gotta have faith while keepin it real.


I like to call 3rd down the coochie down


The Aint's are going to be playing in an ari-conditioned 72 degree dome on turf. I would have rather had the game played at 1pm but it shouild still be nice and toasty with little wind at 4pm. Miami's ground attack will wear out that defense in the heat. Remember also that Henne has only played two games of the five thus far so any numbers do not reflect who is currently the QB. Dolphins have a history of upsetting undefeated teams and they will be jacked up to shut-up the nay-sayers out there. Miami wins 31-27.... Lastly Raiders comes through with an upset over the lowly Wet's.

OK,Whodatnation you can go back to your 1st year N.O blog site and continue to be what you have always been.THE TAINT.

Correction: are NOT going to be playing in an air-conditioned dome..... damn typo's



All taints prep against the wildcat will not help. Every team knows ronnie brown is going to run at them and can't stop him.

You can come back here sunday at 7:15 to tell me I was right.

However you may have missed a very important point.

Reviewing the stats at the bottom, which I love, but I am Rainman like that. It is clear that we are not doing so well on 3rd and long. ie. over 7 yards

Over 7 yards we are a woeful 6 of 25 or 24%.

So it begs to differ.. is the Money down FIRST Down... to put ourselves in a situation of "easier" conversion.

On 3rd down and less than 7 we are...wait for it...36 conversions out of 50 attempts or an off the charts 72% conversion.

So where does the money really go...

Great info though Armando...

i am a math teacher and based on that chart saints will win 45 to dolphins 3.

The D has stopped them 17 out of 23 on 3rds from 4-9 yards (all basically passing downs), but just 9 out of 16 times when it is 3rd and 10+ yards.

Might make sense if we'd put a lot of team into to garbage time but except for the Bills...

Is our secondary backing off too much on the long 3rds?

We come over here and dominating in the comments just like Saints are coming to Florida and dominating on the field.

You guys got no game.

Parcells is your coach right? Didn't he say you are what your record says you are. Your team is 2-3.

That's a LOSING record LOSERS.

Go Saints! Watch us all come here and taunt you stiffs.

Crips mando I thought you were math challenged. This week you've been burning up that calculator of yours.

Excellent information though.

All this crap from fans of a team who's city was built BELOW sea level and right NEXT water.LOL

Ignore the paper bag wearers. They're so jacked that their team is actually good this year that they are letting their mouths write checks their team can't cash. The Fins are gonna wake the Saints and their fans up from their wet dream this weekend. GO FINS!!!

Pain train comin'...WOOOOWOOOO!!!!
R&R Express...all aboard...bring your Wildcat pass!

saints are 5-0........................'
fins are 1-4.............................................sad

Nice, Fins Up, Nice

You must be old,Macdaniel

The Fins are 2-3. Get it straight Saints homer. Come Monday there will be some crow eatin' Saints fans. Dolphins win 38-28. Sorry but the party's over Saints!


need to get pressure on brees if we are to have a chance.

i hope it rains

The Saints today are not even close to most of the Dolphin squads Marino quarterbacked. As good as Marino was, the quick strike capability was a double edged sword. The achilles heel was always power running teams. They would grind down our D with long scoring drives. Marino would answer with a quick strike TD and our D would be right back on the field. By the early 4th quarter the advantage would be apparent.
So we had to live or die with Marino's heroics. Thank god he was as good as he was.
Unfortunately for Taints fans, when it comes to Bree's, a Marino he aint!

why i have the feeling some one is talking to himself ?

F you punks hoping for the weather to help.

How about a great game plan. Some superior execution and tackling.

Some of you sound like your praying for a fluke. That's totally wussified!!!!

The Dolphins team that I root for has proved itself as a run it down your throat smash mouth football team. One like the Saints aint played against in a while.

Don't be afraid of the competeion. This is THE oppurtunity we've been waiting for. The acid test. The only way we get respect is by beating the so-called best. Bring it beeatches!

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