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Red Bryant is a large man. He doesn’t really tackle people as much as fall in their general direction. Fans that watched closely last season knew how critical he was to the play of the defense. The defensive line ranked among the Top 5 in the NFL last season while he was healthy. Some have claimed that six games was not a large enough sample size, or that the opponents were not great rushing teams. Three games into the 2011 season, the Red Bryant Effect continues to show up. Take a look at all nine games in 2010 and 2011 when Bryant played a complete game:
That YPC would have been good for 2nd in the NFL in 2010, and would rank 4th so far in 2011. Five of those nine games were on the road, including games at Chicago and Pittsburgh. Only two teams have broke 100 yards rushing, and only one team had what could be considered a good rushing game (ARZ 20 for 113, 5.65 YPC).
The strength against the run has logically translated into a lower 3rd down conversion percentage. Opponents are only converting 32.31% of their 3rd downs when Bryant plays the full game. That would have been tied for 1st in the NFL last season, and is good for 5th this season. The Seahawks, overall, are only allowing a 29% conversion rate on 3rd downs this season, good for 3rd in the NFL.
Atlanta comes to town this week as a team that ranked #12 in the NFL in rushing yards a year ago. They are down to 19th this season. Michael Turner is 11th in the league in rushing yards. The Falcons are 13th in the NFL in 3rd down conversion rate. They become the latest to step to the line, hoping to defy The Red Bryant Effect. Good luck, Atlanta. History shows you will need it.