Last year, the Redskins were 26th in the NFL on 4th downs, at only 4 for 14 (30.8%). Through 11 games this season, the Redskins are near the top at 5th, at 11 for 15 (73.3%). Taking a look at the top four teams, three of them have gone for 4th downs 6 times or less, so the Redskins could be considered ranked as high as #2. The Redskins clearly own 4th down.
I can think of III obvious reasons why the Redskins are so successful on 4th downs this year, but that is not the point of this post. The point is Kyle Shanahan’s aggressive 4th down approach is working. Against the Cowboys, for example, when everyone in that stadium expected a short run on that 3rd and inches, the (wide open) pass to Niles Paul was the last thing on anyone’s mind, especially the Dallas defense. And there’s been no silly, gadget, swinging-gate plays either; the Redskins just thrive on 4th downs and are playing as aggressive as I can ever recall.
If you’ve read Brian Burke at advancednflstats, indeed, teams should be going for it more on 4th down. The NFL has been trending (correctly) towards going for it on 4th downs more and more, and Kyle Shanahan’s offense is at the forefront. And why not?! They have one of the most electrifying rookie quarterbacks of all time, a diamond in the rough RB in Alfred Morris, and an option offense that time after time keeps defenses guessing and makes the LBs ineffective.
Sadly, the Redskins are 5th worst in the NFL when it comes to 3rd down percentage at 31.9%. So don’t be surprised if the Redskins don’t convert the 3rd down, but come up big on 4th down!
All stats were taken from: