By Brian Tinsman

WASHINGTON — For the second-straight season, offensive production is down around the NFL for yards per game, the statistic of choice for team offensive rankings.

Here are six facts that best  illustrate this point:

  • Between 2015 and 2016, average yards per game fell just 2.26 yards.
  • Between 2016 and 2017, that number fell another 16.33 yards.
  • In 2016, three teams averaged more than 400 yards of offense per game.
  • Zero teams averaged 400 yards per game in 2017.
  • The last season when no teams averaged more than 400 yards of offense was in 2010, before most of the current players were in the NFL.
  • The median for average yards per game also fell in each of the last two seasons, from 355.5 yards in 2015 to 354.1 in 2016 and 324.9 in 2017.

The median average in 2017 belonged to the Washington Redskins, who are in part to blame for the drag around the league.

The Redskins were one of three teams that averaged more than 400 yards of offense each game in 2016, before falling nearly 80 yards per game in 2017. Here are a few other alarming stats:

  • In 2016, Kirk Cousins was sacked just 23 times behind a consistent offensive line.
  • Protected by nearly 30 different combination of linemen, Cousins was sacked 41 times in 2017.
  • In 2016, the Redskins ran 1,009 plays, averaging 6.4 yards per play.
  • In 2017, the total number fell to 982 plays and averaged just 5.3 yards per play.
  • In 2016, the Redskins converted 45 percent of third down opportunities, good for fifth in the NFL.
  • In 2017, the Redskins plummeted to last in the NFL with just 32 percent of third down conversions.


The defining stat for the Redskins appears to be that ability to convert third downs and keep drives alive. It explains the drops in yardage per play and game, as well as the number of total play, ability to score and ultimately win games.

But it also is the defining stat for the league as a whole. The Redskins’ 45 percent third-down conversion rate from a year ago would have led the NFL in 2017.  On average, the third-down conversion rate across the league fell from nearly 40 percent in 2016 to just 37.25 percent in 2017.

Blame it on injuries, weather, suspensions or talent, but the tables turned against the NFL offense this season, and perhaps nowhere more noticeably than in Washington. Look for numbers like these to influence the team’s personnel decisions this offseason.


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