FanPost

Understanding "1 FG in 17 2-min drives"

The statement comes from McDaniel’s interview on 104.3TheFan. 
Here is what he said (my transcription):

“We had 17 2-min drives last year. We scored 1 FG.”

 I did some quick checking and it seemed to indicate that in 2-min drives at the ends of halves, we were horribly ineffective.  But I thought the numbers deserved a little extra attention on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

At Oakland (W) 

Final drive of the first half:

Started at 1:44 remaining on the Denver 20, lasted 5 plays and 1:18, went 26 yards and ended with a punt.

Final drive of game:

Started at 1:34 remaining on Denver 16, Denver kneeled 3 times to run out the clock.

Analysis:  Denver was leading going into their final drive of the half 17-0, so the game was well under control.  But the 5 plays and punt gave OAK a chance before the half to bring the game within two scores.  Instead they went three and out.  You would like to see a little more "Killer instinct" from Denver in that situation.  The victory formation at the end of the game can be thrown out.

Vs. San Diego (W) 

Final Drive of first half:

Started at 2:25 remaining on the Denver 20, and went 80 yds in 11 plays for a TD. 

Final drive of game:

Started at 4:22 remaining on the Denver 20, went 80 yds in 12 plays for a TD.

Analysis:  The drive at the end of the half doesn't qualify exactly for a 2-min drive, but I think it qualifies in spirit.  If you are adding it in, then the study becomes one of ball control offense to end the half.  If you leave it out, you get a clearer picture of an end of half hurry-up type offense.  The drive at the end of the game was much longer in duration, and doesn't fit the dynamic.  Add in the Hoculi call and it isn't worth considering for analysis.

Vs. New Orleans (W) 

Final Drive of first half:

Started at :27 at the Denver 1 yd line, went -1 yds in 1 play and led  to a safety.

Final drive of the game:

Started at 1:55 at the Denver 33, went 3 yards in 4 plays, ending with a punt.

Analysis:  The drive at the end of the half came with denver ahead 24-19, and was an atrocious running call to Andre Hall out of the endzone, leading to an easy safety.  Blame the special teams for not doing a better job, and the horrible playcalling.  The drive at the end of the game came with a slim 2 point lead preserved after a Denver fumble led to a long drive and a missed FG by NO.  One first down after that would have ended the game with a victory formation, but as it was, NO got the ball back with 8 seconds and was unable to get into FG distance.

At Kansas City (L) 

Final drive of first half:

 Started at :35 at the KC 42, and went 4 yds in :24 and 4 plays, ending with a FG.

Final Drive of the game:

Started at 1:37 at the Denver 7, and went 57 yds in 6 plays and ended with the final whistle.

Analysis:  Denver was behind 7-13 when they got awesome field position at the end of the half, but never got going and ended up kicking the FG after only 4 yds.  For the final drive, Denver was behind then by 14 points and never really threatened to score at the end.

Vs. Tampa Bay (W) 

Final Drive of game:

Started at 2:02 at the Denver 14, went 20 yards in 2:02 and 6 plays, and ended in the victory formation.

Analysis:  The drive at the end of the the first half isn't listed because it was a 7 minute drive for a FG to tie the game at 6-6.  The drive at the end of the game was a Pittman-fest for a first down to cement a 3 point win.  It doesn't count exactly as a 2-min drive, and even if it did it wasn't able to score points, but I would say it was a successful drive by any standard.

Vs Jacksonville (L) 

Next to last drive of first half:

Started at 2:58 at the Denver 43, went 27 yds in 1:54 and 5 plays and ended on downs.

Final drive of first half:

 Started at :30 at  the Denver 27, went 2 yds in :26 and 3 plays and ended with a punt.

Analysis:  Behind 7-10 Denver has a stutter-start drive that ended on a failed 4th down conversion.  A fumble recovery go the ball back for the offense, but they didn't attempt to press the issue, and punted the ball back quickly with only a few seconds remaining.  They had no end of game drive as the Jags dominated the TOP and ran out almost 6minutes of clock.

At New England (L) 

Last drive of first half:

Started at :44 at the Denver 28, went 29 yards in :27 and 4 plays, and ended with a fumble.

Analysis:  Denver was behind 20-0 after a 4 and a half minute drive for a TD almost wound out the first half.  With only a few seconds to spare, Denver promptly fumbled and put an end ot the half.  NE had the ball to run out the game leading Denver 41-7

Vs. Miami (L) 

Analysis:  No 2 minute or less drives at the end of the half in this game.

Vs. Cleveland (W) 

Final Drive of first half:

Started at 1:09 at the Denver 20, went 39 yards in 1:09 and 8 plays and ended at the final whistle.

Final drive of game:

Started at :50 at the Cleveland 42, went -2 yds in :50 and  2 plays, and ended in victory formation.

Analysis:  Denver was behind 10-20 when they were driving at the end of the half and failed to get into FG range.  They were in victory formation at the end of the game and can leave that drive out.

At Atlanta (W) 

Final Drive of half:

Started at :55 at the Denver 15, went 1 yard in :46 and 3 plays and ended with a punt.

 Final Drive of game:

Started at :58 at the Denver 45, went 14 yds in :58 and 3 plays and ended in the victory formation.

Analysis:  Denver was behind 7-13 at the end of the half when they faliled to get going and punted.  The final set of downs in the game was essentially a victory formation where Denver ran out the clock to preserve a 4 point lead, so while it wasn't exactly a points coring drive, it was certainly successful.

Vs. Oakland (L) 

Final drive of first half:

 Started at 1:06 at Denver 26, went 49 yards in 1:06 and 5 plays and ended with a missed FG.

Analysis:  Blame Prater for this one.  With Denver behind 3-10, they were sluggish and out of rhythm crossing the midfield line, and their reward was a missed FG.   They would go on to lose the game 31-10, and the Raiders would dominate TOP with 9+ minute drive to end the game.

AT New York Jets (W) 

Analysis: no 2 minute drives, though Denver did have a a 3+ minute ball control drive at the end of the half to boost their lead to 27-14 with a FG.  They were well in the lead at the end.

Vs Kansas City (W) 

Analysis: no 2 minute drives, though Denver did have a nice 8 minute drive for a score before the half, and then a  4:35 drive to close out the game.

AT Carolina (L) 

Final Drive of first half:

Started at :34 at the Denver 18, went 7 yds in :27 and 2 plays and ended with a fumble. 

Analysis:  With :34 to get into FG range and cut the 17-10 carolina lead down to within 1 score they fumbled in their own territory and Carolina kicked a FG to go up 20-10.  By the end of the game Denver was 3 scores down and out of the running.

Vs. Buffalo (L) 

Final Drive of first half:

Started at :15 at Denver 22, went -1 yds in :15 and 1 play, ended at final whistle.

 Analysis:  The end of the half saw Denver up 13-10 and taking no chances.  This drive shouldn't count in the analysis.  The end of the game saw a 3 minute drive fall short as Denver lost 30-23.

At San Diego (L) 

Final Drive of game:

 Started at 1:15 at Denver 33, went 34 yards in 1:15 and 4 plays, ended at the final whistle.

Analysis:  Denver had a 3+ minute drive at the end of the half that ended in with an INT, but their sub 2 min drive at the end of the game is hardly telling, in that the game was blown out 52-21 by that point.

 

Conclusion: 

 If we count only drives that started with 2 minutes or less to go in the half (+/- 2 seconds), we get the enigmatic "17 2 min drives" that McDaniels mentioned in his interview, where we were ineffectual and only scored a single FG.

But after compiling some of them, I realized that not all 2 min drives are created equal. If you throw out all "victory formation" downs at the end, where the team did not need to get a first down, and all the sets of downs that were relatively pointless (such as the closing minutes of a blowout) then you get a different formulation of McDaniel's statement:

 "12 2 minute drives where we only scored 1 FG"

Out of those 14 drives we:

  • Scored 1 FG (positive)
  • Missed 1 FG (negative)
  •  Lost 1 turnover (negative)
  • Gave up 1 safety (negative)
  • Failed to score or run out clock 6 times (negative)
  • succesfully ran out clock 2 times (positive)

Many of those instances were sub 1-minute drives, so the 2 minute mark seems to be more a designation meant to signify that Denver was ineffective at hurry-up offense in high pressure situations, which is a relatively obscure measuring stick, but significant.  According to the above breakdown, Denver failed to execute drives at the ends of halves and games in high pressure situations.  What it doesn't account for is actual high-pressure performnce on a specific play, such as Eddie Royal's TD and 2point conversion at the end of the first SD game (which isn't accounted for above, since the drive was a long 4:32 drive.)

 

What is your guys' take on the significance of these numbers??  (You might want to double check my totals int he list, as I was in quite a hurry at the end.)

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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