Three-and-outs are no fun for everyone involved.
For the quarterback and the rest of the offense, three-and-outs stunt rhythm.
For the coaches calling the plays, three-and-outs force them to get out of their gameplan, in an effort to jumpstart a drive.
And for fans, three-and-outs mean no points for their team, which means no fun for the fans, because points are fun.
For the Redskins this year, however, none of those things have really been an issue, because Washington's offense avoids three-and-outs better than every other unit in the NFL — and it's not exactly a tight race.
In 2016, the Redskins have had 97 offensive drives, according to SportingCharts.com.
The same site's data says the Burgundy and Gold have punted without getting a first down on only nine of those drives, which is absurd (remember, the 'Skins have played nine games, so they're only averaging one a game).
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Here are a few more bullet points to further hit home how excellent the team has been at staying on the field:
- The next closest offenses to the one run by Kirk Cousins, Jay Gruden and Sean McVay in terms of fewest three-and-outs are the Cowboys (16), the Saints (15) and the Falcons (14). So, as already mentioned, the 'Skins are tops in pro football by a fairly sizable margin.
- The only franchise to go three-and-out on less than 10 percent of their drives resides in FedEx Field (as of now, their number is at 9.28). No one else can say they're in single digits. The Falcons are second at 12.73 percent.
- In the past five seasons, the Redskins have gone three-and-out on 24.44 percent of possessions (2015), 20.31 percent (2014), 23.62 percent (2013), 19.13 percent (2012) and 17.55 percent (2011). In other words: this type of thing doesn't usually happen 'round these parts.
- Finally, if Washington can keep on this pace, they'll be the only organization to complete an entire season with a three-and-out percentage below 10 since at least 2009 (that's as far back as the data goes). That's one heck of an achievement.
From a practical standpoint, it's obvious why the Redskins are so deft at sustaining offensive momentum: Their players on that side of the ball are exceptional.
Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder have a serious distaste for being covered, Rob Kelley hardly ever gets taken down for negative yards, Vernon Davis and Pierre Garçon rarely drop passes and Kirk Cousins is very comfortable orchestrating the show.
From a statistical standpoint, it's also clear. Consider these facts: The Redskins are third in the NFL in yards per play, sixth in the NFL in third down conversion percentage and average .352 first downs per play, which is fourth in the NFL, all per TeamRankings.com. Those are all major indicators of a group that keeps the ball moving when they get it.
There are many exciting signs in the Redskins rebuild, but the development of a potent offense has to be near or at the start of the list. Well, exciting for those associated with the Burgundy and Gold, at least.
For opposing defenses, meanwhile, it means they better hydrate and stretch before stepping in between the lines to face Washington's O, because once they're out there, they'll likely be out there for a while. Might as well be prepared for it.
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