Among many issues the Redskins had against the Jets was the recurrence of a problem that they had all of last year. They converted just five of 15 third down situations, a 33 percent success rate. That is down there with the 31 percent conversion rate they had in 2014, which was 30th in the NFL.
What made yesterday so frustrating for the Redskins was that they failed on many makeable third down situations. They had five situations where they had between one and five yards to go for the first down and couldn’t get it done. Only once were they behind the sticks with more than 10 yards to go.
One situation embodied the Redskins situation yesterday. Late in the first quarter with the game tied at 7-7, they had the ball at their own 46 with a second and two. First Cousins threw too high for a wide-open Pierre Garçon. On third down it looked like he had Chris Thompson open on the right but again the pass was too high and Thompson was injured trying to make a leaping catch before landing flat on his back on the MetLife Stadium field turf.
Two tries to get two yards to keep a promising drive alive and they couldn’t do it. The fact that neither of the attempts to get the two yards was a run also was telling. Although it was early it was apparent that the Redskins’ running game was not going to get rolling. Alfred Morris had carried four times and gained just six yards.
The Redskins were converting third downs at a 45 percent clip coming into the game so this one was an aberration in 2015. But the Redskins are going to have to be careful that it doesn’t start a trend like their recent inability to run the ball. What was a strength earlier in the season is now quickly becoming an issue. This team is on “code red” as Jay Gruden said and they can’t afford to see their few remaining strong points fade.