The defense is clearly better to my eye this year, but I wanted to see if the box scores back that up. Two big metrics for the defense are how they do on third down, and how many big plays they give up. So I tried comparing the first five games of 2010 to the first five games of this season. I counted all the 20+ yard plays, running and passing.
I think the teams we've played this year are better on average, but we've played 5 games at home versus 3 at home last year, so maybe thats a wash. The opponents third down conversion percentage is just about the same, ~42% last year to ~39% this year. So we're better than last year, but only because of Minnesota.
We gave up more long passes last year, 13 vs. 10, but we gave up fewer long runs, 6 vs. 4. Perhaps that is a reflection of having senior starters at LB last year, and more experienced DBs this year.
|2011||3rd conv||attempts||Pct.||20+ run||20+ pass|
|2010||3rd conv||attempts||20+ run||20+ pass|