Today we’re looking at how NFL offenses do on their first drive of each half; four games for each team, so eight drives for everyone.
First drive of a game:
Who game plans best during the week?
— 49ers have three TD’s and FG on their first drive of a game, 24 points (41 plays, 255 yards).
Denver has three TD’s on their first drives (35 plays, 236 yards)
Rams have two TD’s, two FG’s on their first drive (44 plays, 248 yards)
— Miami is averaging 10.8 yards/play on its opening drives (28 plays, 302 yards); they’ve scored two TD’s and field goal on those drives.
— Minnesota’s offense has run 21 plays for 129 yards on opening drives, but the opponents’ defense has outscored the Viking offense, 7-0, thanks to a 99-yard pick-6. Not good.
— Giants/Browns have both been outscored 7-3 on their first drives. Giants gave up a blocked FG for a TD, Browns gave up a defensive TD.
— In their four games, Jets have run 14 plays for 32 yards on their first drive.
Steelers have run 17 plays for 24 yards.
Jaguars have run 22 plays for 71 yards.
None of those teams have scored on an opening drive.
First drive of second half:
Who makes the best offensive adjustments at halftime?
— Green Bay has three TD’s on their first drive of 2nd half (29 plays, 222 yards)
Eagles have two TDs, two FG’s on their first drive of 2nd half (34 plays, 160 yards)
— Dallas has run 45 plays for 234 yards on their first drive of 3rd quarter, but scored only one TD- they kicked three FG’s, too.
— Surprisingly, Arizona has run 33 plays for 227 yards, scoring 18 points, part of why they’re 3-1 against the spread already.
— Buffalo has run 36 plays for 208 yards, but only has a TD and a FG to show for it.
— Detroit has run only 10 plays for 12 yards on its first 3rd quarter drive; three 3/outs and a lost fumble. They only gained 84 yards on 16 plays on their first drive of the game, surprising.
— There are four teams who haven’t scored on their first drive of third quarter:
Denver 20 plays, 129 yards
Detroit 10 plays, 12 yards
Houston 19 plays, 14 yards
Las Vegas 23 plays, 79 yards, 2 INT’s.
First drive of all eight halves:
— Rams/Eagles play each other this week; they also share the NFL lead with 33 points scored on their first drive of a half.
Dolphins, Packers, 49ers are next, with 31 points each.
— Dallas has gained 446 yards on 79 plays (29 points) on their first drive of a half, the most yards of any team, followed by the Rams (77 plays, 438 yards), Eagles (76 plays, 425 yards)
— Giants have run 71 plays for 320 yards, good for 10 points, but they also gave up a TD on a blocked FG, so they’re only +3 in points on first drives.
— Vikings have run 47 plays for 236 yards, scoring a TD, giving up a TD to the defense.
— Houston Texans have run total of 41 plays for only 83 yards on their first drive of a half, fewest yards in the league.
Detroit, surprisingly, has run 26 plays for only 96 yards.
NFL games are relatively short (nine or so drives per team); the first drive of each half makes up maybe 20-25% of all drives, which is significant.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at which defenses do best/worst in this situation.