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A Closer Look at Bruce Arians' Early Game Play Calling

There was a comment in a previous thread about Bruce Arians' tendency to come out flat early in games with his play-calling. The comment referenced the tendency of teams to script the first 10-20 plays of the game, which can be interpreted in a way as how that coordinator prepared during the week. Then, adjustments have to be made in-game. But to start, coordinators typically come out firing with what they think will work initially. Let's take a look to see if there's any merit to the claim that we struggled in our early game offense.

Week 1 vs. Clevland: TD on opening drive
Week 2 vs. Buffalo: 13 plays, 7:01, 34 yard made FG
Week 3 vs. SF: Turnover
Week 4 vs. Arizona: TD on 2nd possesion
Week 5 vs. Seattle: 0 pts in 1st quarter
Week 7 vs. Denver: 8 play, 60 yard TD drive
Week 8 vs. Cincy: 5 play 80 yard TD drive on 2nd possesion
Week 9 vs. Baltimore: TD drives on 3 of first 4 possesions
Week 10 vs. CLE: FGs on series 2 and 3 (both were at least 7 plays and 50+ yards
Week 11 vs. NYJ: A stinker from Arians, no doubt
Week 12 vs. Miami: Doesn't count, that wasn't football being played
Week 13 vs. Cincy: Poor offensive showing in 1st quarter
Week 14 vs. NE: 15 play, 59 yard FG drive that stalled on NE 5
Week 15 vs. JAX: Poor offensive 1st quarter. Opened 2nd with TD drive on series #4
Week 16 vs. STL: Scoring drives on first 4 series (3 TDs, 1 FG)
Week 17 vs. Baltimore: No Big Ben
Week 18 vs. Jacksonville: 10 play 80 yard opening TD drive


Outside of NE, I'm not sure there's too many teams that fared as well as we did early on in games. Sure we had some slipups - the NYJ game, the second Cincy game, and the 1st JAX game come to mind - but generally, we were very impressive with our 1st quarter opportunities. The problem, in my mind, was counterpunching after teams made adjustments. We also had some problems finishing off drives in the redzone, particularly as the season progressed. So, we can sift through some of this data together and make some more conclusions than the brief ones I just made, but I think this shows somewhat succintly that the problem with Arians doesn't rest in his inability to gameplan during the week and craft an early gameplan that can be successful. It's the adjustments and the situational stuff that irked me more.