The Bengals are last place in the NFL when it comes to converting on third downs with only a 24 percent conversion rate. In the last two games they've only converted on two of 21 third downs. This has been the major complaint of Bengals fans about the Bengals offense.
Rookie offensive coordinator Jay Gruden believes that the team may do better on third downs if rookie quarterback Andy Dalton learns to make plays with his legs as well as his arm.
"The quarterback has to hang in there a little longer and make things open with his legs," Gruden said. "He might have to take it down and run for a first down or he can also buy time and let someone work to get open."
Gruden understands that Dalton is no Michael Vick (he actually said, "He can move around, he's not Michael Vick but he can roll around"), but he wants Dalton to keep the idea of scrambling for the first down in his head instead of just throwing the ball away, forcing a pass into coverage or taking a sack.
In Dalton's three games, he has three rushes for eight yards including a five yard scramble against the 49ers, though none of them resulted in first downs.
The Bills defense has the lowest amount of sacks in the NFL with only two. Hopefully the Bengals can give Dalton a clear pocket throughout the entire game but if for some reason they fail to do that, hopefully Dalton can grab a few yards on the ground if he has to.
The Bengals third-down problem stems from what they do on first and second down. If Dalton can help pick up a few yards here or there, the team's lowest ranked third-down conversion percentage may start to climb a little.