WFT's third-down defense was dreadful and these stats prove it


They call third down "the money down" in the NFL. With that in mind, Justin Herbert and the Chargers got rich on Sunday against the Washington Football Team. 

Aside from Ryan Fitzpatrick's second-quarter injury, the Burgundy and Gold's inability to get Los Angeles off of the field was the story for Ron Rivera's club.

These (ghastly) numbers prove it, too.


That is the third-down conversion rate that the Chargers posted in the 20-16 victory. By comparison, Jack Del Rio's unit allowed its 2020 opponents to move the chains on third down 37.8 percent of the time — meaning Herbert's group was, essentially, doubly successful in that area in the 2021 opener.

In all, the visitors went 14-of-19 in those all-important situations, which was tied for the most third downs Washington has surrendered in franchise history. 

This franchise has existed since the 1930s, just so you're aware.


In a stretch that started with a little more than 10 minutes left on the clock in the third quarter and ran to just before the end of the fourth quarter, Los Angeles ripped off nine consecutive drive-extending conversions.


In a row!!

Without interruption!!!

Here's a summary of them all:

  • Third-and-3: Jared Cook 11-yard reception
  • Third-and-10: Jared Cook 23-yard reception
  • Third-and-5: Keenan Allen 6-yard reception
  • Third-and-7: Keenan Allen 20-yard reception
  • Third-and-3: Mike Williams 3-yard touchdown reception
  • Third-and-16: Keenan Allen 17-yard reception
  • Third-and-3: KJ Hill 19-yard reception
  • Third-and-7: Mike Williams 20-yard reception
  • Third-and-4: Keenan Allen 9-yard reception

By the way, the only reason their streak concluded is because Herbert kneeled on third down on the game's final snap.


Turnover differential is something coaches always cite as one of the most important stat columns in football. Well, on Sunday, the third-down differential proved to be more crucial.


Though Washington won the turnover battle by one, they lost the third-down conversion contest by 11. 

While the Chargers were downright electric when their backs were against the wall, Rivera and Scott Turner's offense short-circuited, going just 3-for-10 in their own right.

But hey, Washington kept things alive on their lone fourth-down try at FedEx Field. Los Angeles, meanwhile, didn't even attempt one.

That will surely be enough to completely calm fans down. Download and follow the Washington Football Talk podcast