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Posts tagged with "Broncos 3rd & long"

The offense on Sunday was eerily similar to the 2015 game in Jokeland where we couldn’t get TDs in the redzone and eventually lost 15-12. Yes, we did score a single touchdown (unlike that game), but that doesn’t change the fact that our offense was given the chance to put the game out of reach twice in the second half and they didn’t.

We started one drive at the Faider 31 (gained 3 yards on 5 plays and kicked a 46-yd FG) and another at the Faider 15 (gained 4 yards on 7 plays and missed a 29-yd FG). After two games were were near the top of the league in red zone TD efficiency (7 TDs in 9 red zone trips). After 4 games we are middle of the league at 50% TD efficiency in the red zone with 8 TDs in 16 trips.

The good news is that we are still near the top of the league in red zone trips per game (4.0 per game is 3rd behind LAR and NE who are tied for first with 4.8). We just need to do a better job of getting TDs not FGs when we get to the red zone.

Oakland Raiders v Denver Broncos

Stuffing the run on first down

As we have done in the first three games, so did we in the fourth. Our front seven did a masterful job of limiting yardage on first down runs. Jokeland had 22 first down plays against us and only chose to run on seven of them gaining 18 yards (2.57 ypc). Many of their first down plays came after they were down by double digits in the second half when teams generally elect to throw so don’t read too much into the passing skew. Remember how Tyrod Taylor was 10/10 passing the ball on first down last week, well that was fixed this week as we held the Faider’s two QBs to 8/14 on first down (they did get 163 passing yards throwing on first down – the 64-yd TD was on 1st down). It’s interesting to note that 163 of their 230 passing yards against us were gained on first down (71%).

For the season we have held opponents to 102 rushing yards on 40 first down carries (2.55 ypc). If you remove the first run of the year against us, Gordon’s 21-yd carry, we have allowed 81 yards on the remaining 39 first down carries (2.08 ypc). In four games we have 4 TFLs and 6 stops for no gain on first down runs. We are currently leading the league at stopping the run on first down (CLE is a close second allowing 2.58 ypc). Conversely JAX is allowing 6.24 ypc on first down runs.

In terms of stuffing the run overall, our defense is on a historic pace. The best value in the history of the NFL (post-merger) at stuffing the run is 2.69 ypc allowed. We are currently allowing 2.42 ypc. The lowest total rushing yards allowed by a team post-merger is 970 yards. Our D is on pace to allow a total of 812. Only two teams in the history of the league (post-merger) have allowed fewer than 1000 rushing yards in a season – the 2006 Vikings (985) and the 2000 Ravens (970). The 2000 Ravens won the super bowl with a flaccid offense and a smothering defense. The 2006 Vikings finished the season 6-10.

League-wide 44.3% of all runs have gained 2 or fewer yards this season (stufft run%). Our defense currently has a league leading value of 57.9% of all runs against us gaining 2 or fewer yards. It’s nice to note that the P*ts have a league worst stufft% of 33.3%.

Comparative Performance vs first down runs

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The Denver Broncos did well in key situations on defense, but lost anyway.

The were many reasons why the Broncos lost on Sunday. Neither 3rd & long defense nor first down run defense were factors in the loss. Both were silver linings.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

Stopping the run on first down

As we have done in the first two games, we did so in this game. We stuffed the run on first down. The Bills ran the ball 13 times on first down for 27 yards (2.08 ypc). The Bills had 24 first down plays (excluding kneeldowns). Of those 13 runs, two ended in TFLs (both 4 yards behind the LOS) and one in a stop for no gain. Their longest run on first down was 9 yards (Mike Tolbert in the second quarter). So our D was quite effective at stopping the run on first down. For the season we have held opponents to 90 rushing yards on 31 first down carries (2.90 ypc) with 4 TFLs and 3 stops for no gain.

Unfortunately we were equally as ineffective at stopping the pass on first down. Tyrod Taylorwas 10 for 10 throwing the ball on first down for 82 yards and a TD. We did sack him once on a first down pass, but three of those passes resulted in a first down (31 yard catch by Nick O’Leary and 15 and 10 yard catches by LeSean McCoy) and one resulted in a TD (6-yd catch by Charles Clay). The last time a QB completed every first down pass against us was before 1998, if it has ever happened before. Tom Brady hasn’t done that against us. Philip Rivershas never done that against us.

For the game Taylor was 20 of 26 – 77% completion. Going back to the 1998 season, there have only been 22 instances of opposing starting QBs (leaving out the guys who came in for garbage time relief passing a blowout) completing 75% or more of their passes against the Broncos. The Broncos are 4-18 in those games. The last time we won a game where we allowed that high of a completion percentage was 2008 – when we beat the Bucs with Jeff Garcia completing 13 of 17 passes against us for 93 yards.

Overall the run defense was good for the game holding the Bills to 75 yards on 33 carries (2.27 pc). For the season we have the best run defense in the league – allowing 2.59 ypc after three games (179 yards on 69 carries). The Seahawks (who who had the best ypc allowed last season) are currently allowing a league worst 5.34 ypc.

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