Third And Short Run Defense

Something that has been bugging me about the Chargers defense in the has been their inability to stop the third-and-short run plays. When teams run the ball on the Chargers during third-and-short, opponents are a perfect six for six in converting the third down.

The Indianapolis Colts ran the ball twice on third and short and both times they gained enough yards for the first down. The Tennessee Titans, a much more run-oriented team, ran the ball on third and short four times against the Chargers and all four times they got the first down.

Stopping teams on third down is crucial to a team’s ability to win a game and the Patriots are going to be an incredible challenge. There is no question in my mind the Chargers have what it takes to win on Sunday, but its going to take a special effort from all eleven players on defense to stop such a high-powered offense. Re-watching the Titans and Colts games points to some shoddy tackling on the part of the safeties in third and short... especially from the strong safety spot. In the words of Shawne Merriman "You cannot know what a team is going to do and not stop it. This is football!"

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January 18, 2008

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