Packers finding a big advantage on second-and-short

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Second-and-short is one of the best situations to throw downfield in football: It can produce a big play, but if the pass is incomplete, the offense still has a good opportunity to pick up the first down on third-and-short. But only one team is taking advantage of those situations.

That team is the Packers, who are the only team in the NFL that passes more than they run on second-and-short, and who average 14.2 yards on second-and-short, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Those stats exclude goal-line situations.)

No team is remotely close to as successful in those situations: The Packers are gaining twice as many yards on second-and-short as the next-best team.

The Packers have two different passes of 50 yards or longer on second-and-short this season; the rest of the NFL combined has one pass of 50 yards or longer on second-and-short this season.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers loves throwing deep downfield in situations where a bad play won’t be costly. We’ve previously noted that Rodgers takes advantage of free plays like no other quarterback, and second-and-short is another situation where Rodgers sees that a risk-reward analysis tilts heavily toward taking a risk by throwing deep.

Most teams on second-and-short usually run up the middle to pick up the first down. A wiser move would be throwing long, and saving those runs up the middle for third-and-short. It’s surprising that the rest of the NFL hasn’t caught on to what the Packers are doing.

49 responses to “Packers finding a big advantage on second-and-short

  1. If the situation is right, and the D is read properly, it’s all part of good coaching and play calling. And, of course, someone with just a tad of experience behind center.

  2. Packers will be a one and done in the playoffs, only glimmer of hope is they can face the Vikings in the first round. They stand zero chance versus the Saints, 49ers and Seahawks.

  3. The refs are giving them help earlier in the series because it’s become too obvious when Rodgers is completely shut down on 3rd down, he cry’s and gets his flag. It’s like a baby always getting whatever they want. I see what they’re doing here…..

  4. he refs are giving them help earlier in the series because it’s become too obvious when Rodgers is completely shut down on 3rd down, he cry’s and gets his flag. It’s like a baby always getting whatever they want. I see what they’re doing here…..

  5. I’ve always thought Joe Gibbs was the greatest coach of all time because he won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none of those QB’s were HOFers. Most great coaches throughout history all had HOF QB’s. Gibbs’ offenses always threw short passes on first down, and hence, were constantly in 2nd and short situations. Many times they pounded Riggins up the middle, but they also threw long a lot. Defenses were always left off balance. The hit on a lot of those deep throws, and they still had Riggins for 3rd and 1. The key was throwing high percentage short passes on first down. Whenever I hear the words “establish the run”, I’m literally embarrassed. I hear it every Sunday. Now Joe Gibbs has been dominating auto racing. You’d think someone would study what he did. One of the defensive coordinators who defended against Gibbs was named Bill Belichick. I always felt he took a page out of Gibbs’ offensive philosophy, and that’s part of the reason for his success. Borrow from the geniuses. Maybe it takes one to know one.

  6. . I think most teams (and) fans have caught onto that
    ——
    Nah, most teams and fans have let the Detroit game go. Only people still worried about it are the ones using it as an excuse for why their team lost.

  7. A lot of this is simply predicated by the Packers just naturally taking advantage of the defensive alignment, as most coordinators are playing run.
    It’s all about the simple game of taking advantage of matchups.
    If they aligned in a nickel, dime or some variation, I’m sure they would check into a run more often.

    I have to say, I do enjoy that the trolls are getting more and more frustrated and bitter, with some brand new aliases too.
    I imagine even they are a little bit shamed with the frequency they are posting their delusional rants.
    Regardless, their tears are delicious as always.

  8. Queen fans think the Packers get the calls because that is what they want to see. I see plenty of obvious calls that are never made, which would have helped the Packers. Bottom line, the refs either stink at their job, or they have other priorities. A week or two ago a defensive player for the other team ran onto the field, stopped, then turned and ran back off the field. When the ball was snapped he was 2 steps from the sideline, how do you miss that. Last week, I watched the play clock tick down…3…2…1…and when zero was on the clock Iooked at the other teams QB and it was a 2 count before the ball was snapped, now how do you miss that. Both times against the Packers. The refs stink or they have another agenda.

  9. I have been watching the NFL since the merger. I have always wanted to “kick” the tv when teams ran for a first down on second and short. It seemed to me they were far more worried about a first down than a touchdown. Which is best, first and ten or third and short after wasting second and short on a run?

  10. The Packers offense is a master class at showing a run formation, disguising the intent pre-snap and then attacking downfield in the passing game. Aaron is averaging 18 yards per pass attempt on 2nd and short.

    Let’s go get this W tomorrow!

    Bears week baby! This is personal!

    #GoPackGo!🏈

  11. With Rodgers averaging 14.3 yards on 2nd and short, it’s amazing that his average yards per attempt is just a measly 7.3.

    In other words, Aaron sucks on anything other than 2nd and short.

    Rodgers completion percentage hasn’t been north of 65% since 2016, before his 2nd broken collarbone. He had 40 TDs that season, averaging 2.5 TDs per game.

    Older, slower, injury prone and declining skills….

  12. Why can’t fans appreciate smart plays and strategies from certain team instead of whining about them? This is the kind of thing that I love about football, not stupid meatball talk.

  13. On the “free” plays, if the offensive line flinch-reacts, it’s called dead. If they don’t, Rodgers takes advantage. It’s directly a result of the solid discipline demonstrated by the offensive line and the coaching staff.

    It’s obviously a very bitter pill for haters. Good!

    Bon Appetit’

  14. When you consider the two-steps forward, one-step back progress continually made throughout this season, made necessary by new front office personnel, a new head coach, and an all-new offensive scheme, Rodgers is doing phenomenally well. He’s been climbing in the ranks and is currently in-between Mahomes and Garoppolo and In a dead-heat with Cousins. Cousins, by comparison, has the three best wide receivers that ever played for the same team, the best running back since Barry Sanders, and the most vaunted defense since the ‘86 Bears. Rodgers doesn’t have those silver-platter assets To work with. Rodgers shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a true leader and champion. If someone had told me the Packers would be entering Week 15 in first place of their division with a 10-3 record, I’d have said that’s good enough, you can stop.

  15. Green Bay beneficiary yards: 853
    Minnesota beneficiary yards: 611
    I severely underestimated how badly the NFL wanted Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs one last time. Its also why his free plays always continue when others and have them blown dead

  16. When the defense jumps the play is not blown dead unless the offensive line reacts. Everybody wants to give credit to Rodgers for his timing and presence-of-mind, and his athleticism, which all combine to make those plays memorable. The reason the plays work is because of discipline and coaching. Watch and learn.

  17. The Vikings and the Packers are in a virtual tie for penalties which gifted them first downs. Dead heat. Look it up.

  18. If most teams were capable of stopping or slowing Rodgers down without holding or interfering with his receivers, they wouldn’t be penalized so often. They have to take chances against the best, and they get caught. It’s not the ref’s or the Packers’ fault they have no choice but to take those chances, or really get lit up.

  19. December 14, 2019 at 12:57 pm
    More long attempts on 2nd and short is more hero ball from the winner of the audible battle.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

    That’s a bad thing?

  20. codylaws says:
    December 14, 2019 at 10:19 am
    Also the most choke/collapse team in NFL history.
    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    The Vikings own the all-time NFL records for the most postseason losses and the most one-and-done postseason appearances. You look up choke in the dictionary and you’ll find the Vikings logo.

  21. Green Bay beneficiary yards: 853
    Minnesota beneficiary yards: 611
    ——
    Thanks for highlighting just how much smarter our coaches and qb are than yours.

  22. bubbasmithguy says:
    December 14, 2019 at 7:11 am
    The Packers are also the most aided by the officials in the league. That may have a lot to do with it. I think most teams (and) fans have caught onto that.

    ***********
    You can disagree with this, but it is the truth. Did anybody even watch the Lions game?

  23. cellarperformance says

    Rodgers shows no signs of slowing down.
    ###

    You just proved you haven’t been watching Rodgers play.

    The year before Rodgers broke his own collarbone for the second time, he had 40 TDs.

    Aaron is unlikely to hit 30 TDs for the third year in a row.

    Older, slower, injury prone with declining skills.

  24. The biggest difference among all NFCN teams and their expectations for success is STILL Aaron Rodgers.

  25. Rodgers does more with less than any quarterback currently playing in the NFL. If the Packers had “the three best wide receivers to ever play for the same team (eye roll),” the Packers sure wouldn’t be languishing in second place like the Vikings are, especially if it were all guaranteed!

  26. cheeseisfattening says:
    December 14, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Green Bay beneficiary yards: 853
    Minnesota beneficiary yards: 611
    I severely underestimated how badly the NFL wanted Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs one last time. Its also why his free plays always continue when others and have them blown dead
    _________

    Yes, you’ve firmly kept this convenient excuse about the NFL wanting Aaron Rodgers to win firmly at the forefront all season long.
    Congratulations, you’ve now got the perfect fall back to justify any of the Packers’ success, or the inevitable Vikings’ failure.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, the Barneys, making pathetic excuses while playing the pitiful victims for almost 60 years.

  27. Viking fans sure do their research on the Packers so they can come here and post their irrelevant stats yet the Vikings have the most post season losses and never won a super bowl, how does that feel?

  28. Not only the yards the packers get but First Downs through penalties the packers lead the NFL by a wide margin. Those penalties keep drives alive, helps them score. But packer fans don’t want to admit the obvious.Sorry the NFL is helping your team this year WWE style.

  29. charliecharger says:
    December 14, 2019 at 9:41 am
    I’ve always thought Joe Gibbs was the greatest coach of all time because he won 3 super bowls with three different QB’s, and none of those QB’s were HOFers. Most great coaches throughout history all had HOF QB’s.
    _____________

    Thats because in todays game It feels like Gms coaches and QBs are all handcuffed together, a GM wants to get HIS guys in, at coach and QB. Like TT MM and Rodgers. Depending on the amount of success, they have they may get another shot. Reid/McNabb, Garrett/Prescott. Dorsey/Kitchens/Mayfield. McVay/Goff. Pederson/Wentz… and if you whiff on the QB or the coach can’t develop them, well you have a situation like what the Broncos Dolphins and Vikings have been doing since the the late 90’s.

  30. This year Green Bay is finally getting the PI calls they deserve, but they hardly lead the league “by a wide margin.” These are per-game penalties that provide a first down. They are hanging with these teams. Last year, the Packers were fourth lowest……tied with the Vikings. Complain about that!

    Green Bay 3.0
    Pittsburgh 2.9
    Kansas City 2.8
    Atlanta 2.8
    Indianapolis 2.7
    Minnesota 2.6

  31. stellarperformance says:
    December 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm
    If most teams were capable of stopping or slowing Rodgers down without holding or interfering with his receivers, they wouldn’t be penalized so often.
    //////////////
    While 10-3 is certainly good, your analysis of your team is quite overrated. The Packers are in the middle for points scored, and for points against. If anything, you should be talking about your teams ability to win close games. That’s a good attribute. Then again, I would just point out that you beat several bad teams in close games while being lit up by good teams (and also a crushing loss to a mediocre Chargers team).

    Smoke and mirrors will be the story for the 2019 Packers team. I look forward to the rematch in Minnesota.

  32. conormacleod says:
    December 15, 2019 at 11:11 am
    What are they doing with the rest of their downs then, since they are middle of the pack in the NFL for points scored.

    ———

    Winning more frequently than the Vikings.

  33. Zebras will be making sure Rodgers doesn’t hit the ground today. Arrongant Rodgers will be whining to those refs all game. Seriously when do we ever see him not whining. I want see Khalil Mack hit him like a Mack truck today. Go Bears!!!! No pack No!!!!

  34. stellarperformance says:
    December 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm
    If most teams were capable of stopping or slowing Rodgers down without holding or interfering with his receivers, they wouldn’t be penalized so often. They have to take chances against the best, and they get caught. It’s not the ref’s or the Packers’ fault they have no choice but to take those chances, or really get lit up.

    ——————-
    Since week 5 Cousins has thrown more TD passes than Rodgers.

  35. I said most penalties resulting in first downs not PI’s by a wide margin. Reading comprehension is important.

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