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On whether Cardinals can gain a yard

10/1/2011

The Arizona Cardinals' struggles against Seattle in third-and-1 rushing situations killed two drives and endangered another.

That was costly during a game lost by such a narrow margin (13-10).

There are reasons to suggest the struggles were temporary:

  • Seattle's defense appears well-constructed for these situations. The Seahawks have not allowed a rushing conversion on third-and-1 this season. San Francisco failed against them on its only try. The Cardinals failed on three such tries Sunday.

  • Beanie Wells' absence was a factor. Wells had rushed for 22 yards against Carolina and 1 yard against Washington in converting the Cardinals' only previous third-and-1 rushes this season. Having him available against Seattle would have helped.

  • The Cardinals' Week 4 opponent hasn't fared so well with third-and-1 defense. The New York Giants' opponents have converted three times in four chances when running the ball on third-and-1 this season.

The chart shows the Cardinals' third-and-1 rushing plays this season. Note that the longest third-and-1 rushing gain for Arizona came on the only such play featuring three wide receivers. Teams generally use more run-oriented personnel in those situations. Also, the Cardinals converted a fourth-and-1 rushing attempt after failing on a third-and-1 against Seattle.

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2011 Arizona Cardinals Third-and-1 Rushing