Playcalling on 2nd and 10 after an incomplete pass on 1st down in the NFC East

In the car today, I was listening as a Giants fan (we’ll call him Vinnie from Staten Island) called into WFAN complaining about Kevin Gilbride’s play-calling on 2nd and 10 after an incompletion on 1st down.  It went something like this, in Vinnie’s thick Staten Island accent:

“This jamoke offensive coorinatah, Gilbride, he’s always cawlin’ run plays on second down, and the defense is always goin ‘Get outta ‘ere wit that weak stuff.’ It’s like 90 pahcent wit this guy.”

My own dad has complained about it to me with the Eagles in the past, and it’s a fairly common thing I hear NFL fans complain about.  It’s understandable.  If your team throws an incomplete pass on 1st down and then gets a 2-yard run on 2nd, you’re annoyed, and you immediate think of other times it has happened.  You begin to think your team doesn’t pass on 2nd and 10.

2nd and 10 is a difficult play call.  Do you run in hopes of getting 5+ yards, making for a manageable 3rd and short, or do you pass, perhaps looking for more, but risking an incompletion (or worse) and a low percentage 3rd and 10?

I did a little research just for fun, and contrary to Vinnie from Staten Island’s suggestion, the Giants pass on 2nd and 10 more than they run, as has the rest of the NFC East so far this season:

Giants Opponent Pass Rush
Redskins   2
Redskins 0  
Redskins   7
Redskins 14  
Rams   15
Rams   0
Rams   2
Rams -8  
Eagles   15
Eagles 0  
Eagles   1
Cardinals 0  
Cardinals   -1
Cardinals 14  
Cardinals 12  
Cardinals 0  
Cardinals   5
Cardinals 26  
Seahawks   1
Seahawks 0  
Seahawks   3
Seahawks 9  
Seahawks 41  
Total Yards 108 50
Attempts 12 11
Yards per attempt 9 4.55

The rest of the NFCE after the jump…

Eagles Opponent Pass Run
Rams 41  
Rams   -1
Rams 0  
Rams 11  
Rams 0  
Rams 0  
Rams   11
Falcons 2  
Falcons   4
Falcons 7  
Giants   3
Giants   4
49ers 8  
49ers 7  
49ers   1
49ers 11  
49ers 5  
49ers 5  
49ers   4
49ers 19  
49ers 15  
Bills 3  
Bills 35  
Bills   32
Total Yards 169 58
Attempts 16 9
Yards per attempt 10.56 6.44
Redskins Opponent Pass Run
Giants 0  
Giants   1
Giants   2
Cardinals 5  
Cardinals 8  
Cardinals   1
Cardinals 0  
Cardinals   5
Cowboys -3  
Cowboys   2
Cowboys 0  
Cowboys -7  
Rams   5
Rams   9
Total Yards 3 25
Attempts 8 7
Yards per attempt 0.38 3.57
Cowboys Opponent Pass Run
Jets 0  
Jets   3
49ers   1
49ers   2
49ers 1  
49ers   5
49ers 5  
49ers 4  
Lions 0  
Lions 0  
Lions 7  
Lions -10  
Redskins   6
Redskins 25  
Total Yards 32 17
Attempts 9 5
Yards per attempt 3.56 3.4

It’s actually kind of funny. The 1-4 Eagles are fantastic on 2nd and 10, while the 3-1 Redskins are comically bad. Obviously, small sample sizes apply.


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  26. retiredjim says:

    Nice work but you do not take the game situation into place. Early in game, the team might be more likely to run on 2nd and 10 whereas, late in game and behind, more likely to pass. Andy Reid definitely runs more early in the game on 2nd and 10 after an incomplete pass.

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