Fewest Third Downs in an NFL Game

The Arizona Cardinals were unstoppable in the recent NFL playoff game against Green Bay, on January 10, 2010.  How unstoppable?  They were 3 for 5 on third down conversions.  That’s right, they only attempted FIVE third down conversions.  That’s gotta be some kind of NFL record, or at least close to it.

I did some brief surfing but couldn’t come up with an official record.  I’m assuming that some high school team has probably gone a whole game without facing third down, and possibly in college as well.  But the NFL?

I did find that the biggest blowout in NFL history was 73-0 (a 1940 playoff game), but the box score I found did not include third down stats.  So I guess the first order of business would be to find out when people started keeping third down stats.  And since that time, has any team tried fewer than 5 third down attempts in a game?

Oh, and for the purposes of this question, if a team is faced with third down but doesn’t try for a first down, it doesn’t count.  For example, if a team kicks a field goal on third down because it’s the end of the half or game, that doesn’t count.  We’ll only count times when they attempt to get a first down; this should make it easier to look up the statistics for this.

If anyone has any info on this, I’d be interested in hearing it.

One Response to “Fewest Third Downs in an NFL Game”

  1. admin says:

    According to one source, San Diego had the fewest third-down attempts in the 2009 season, 187, an average of 11.7 per game. Not sure what the record for fewest in a season is, either.