This post is sponsored by Comcast and their NFL RedZone channel. Want to see every touchdown from every NFL game as it happens as well as live look-ins to all of Sunday's games in key situations? Then you need Comcast's NFL RedZone.
If we are going to have a sponsorship deal, we might as well find a way to incorporate said sponsorship into something that is near and dear to Broncos fans - the team's performance in the Red Zone. This has been a key point of contention for a long time with Denver - take last year into account - 2nd in Yards, 16th in points.
Each week we'll take a look at the Broncos' trips into the Red Zone and how they fared. Good teams, playoffs teams, score in the Red Zone. If the Broncos want to be a playoff team, they'll need to as well.
Overall in 2009, the Broncos Offense looks like this -
'09 OFFENSE TOTALS
Now, before going any further, you can look at the Broncos season as two different ones - the 6-0 start and the 0-4 after the BYE. After 6 games, the Broncos were one of the better teams converting Red Zone appearances in 6 points. The offense had made 19 trips inside the 20, scoring TDs on 9(9/19 - 47.4%). That averaged out to just over 3 trips per game, with the Broncos scoring on just about half.
Now for the last 4 games. With four trips against the Chargers, the Broncos have made just 6 trips in 4 games(1.5 per game), while scoring just 1 Touchdown(1/6 - 16.7%). It's easy to do the math - the Broncos are getting to the Red Zone about half as much as they were to start the season, scoring 1/3 fewer times when they do get there. In other words, they are really struggling on offense when it matter most.
Here is what the Defense looks like so far this season -
'09 DEFENSE TOTALS
Like the offense, the Red Zone has been a tale of two seasons for the defense as well. In the first 6 games, the Broncos allowed just 11 trips inside their 20, giving up touchdowns on 5 of those.(5/11 - 45.5%) Opponents were averaging just under 2 trips per game(1.8) and scoring less than half the time.
The past four games has been a completely different story. In 4 games, the Broncos have allowed 17 trips inside the Red Zone(4.25 per game), allowing touchdowns on 9 of those trips(9/17 - 52.9%). Teams are getting twice as many opportunities in the Red Zone and are making the Broncos pay for it.
Whatever the reason, the offense and defense are both going the wrong direction inside the 20. If the Broncos are going to pull themselves out of this funk they are in, both sides of the ball need to improve when it matters the most - inside the Red Zone.