Answers in Search of a Question: Stuffed! Another Urban Legend?

"We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself." -- Lloyd Alexander.

    As I have been perusing posts and comments over the last several weeks, I've noticed a rather persistent perception that keeps arising, a view of the Broncos 2009 season that has begun to take on the tone of an urban legend.  An urban legend, you might recall, is a story believed by its tellers to be true, is widely circulated, may show some variation over time, and becomes important to the community that is preserving and propogating it.  An urban legend is often repeated, and can be found in conversations, news stories, and is often distributed via email.  It is often prefaced with "Well, everyone knows that . . . ."  There is such a story making the rounds of various communities in Broncos' fandom, and has been seen here at MHR on more than one occasion.

    What is this story, you might ask?  Please, please, yes, what is the story?  (Just kidding, sorry)  It is the often repeated statement that Denver only ran up the middle on third down, and almost always got stuffed.  Yes, I have heard that statement applied to our 2009 third downs in general, although, to be fair, it is mostly used to describe/deride the play calling on 3rd and short -- which is most commonly defined as 3rd and 1 or 2 yards to go.

After the fold, we'll take a look at the reality behind "Stuffed: Another Urban Legend"

    This article is an attempt to discern whether or not the claim that the Broncos only ran up the middle on 3rd and short is a valid one, or simply an urban legend.  The first task is to define "up the middle."  In the play-by-play sections in NFL Gamebooks --  a wonderful resource available for free from NFL.com which summarizes the statistics, trends, plays, etc from each NFL game -- running plays are described as: left end, left tackle, left guard, middle, right guard, right tackle, right end.  I was unable to find a concensus answer as to what constitutes "up the middle."  Some answers suggested that it was running directly behind or slightly to either side of the center.  Other answers suggested that the runs behind the guards and center should all be included.  Since NFL Gamebooks distinguishi between runs behind each of the guards and have a category called "middle," I'm inclined to treat the runs behind the guards as separate from "runs up the middle," but I will leave that to each reader to decide for him/herself exactly what constitutes a "run up the middle."  This article will be broken into 3 parts: (1)Some overall observations about what Denver did on 3rd downs, (2)A summary of our 3rd downs by distance, and (3)The play-by-play data used to generate the first two sections -- this can be skimmed over by those who do not wish to repeat the research that I did in preparing the summaries, if you so choose. 

GENERAL COMMENTS ABOUT THE DENVER BRONCOS AND 3RD DOWNS IN 2009

A disclaimer: NFL.com's Broncos' stats page shows our 3rd down conversions as being 78 out of 215, or 36.3%.  The play-by-play data shown in the Gamebooks show Denver as having converted (that is gotten a touchdown or a first down) as being 82 out of 228, or 36%.  If you take out 3rd down plays that resulted in touchdowns, the one field goal or the one instance in which Chris Simms knelt down to end a half, the numbers match.  In either case, a 0.3% discrepancy is not particularly significant.

Some statistics:

    1)25.3% of our 3rd downs had the offense needing 11 or more yards for a 1st down.
    2)31.9% of our 3rd downs had the offense needing 9 or more yards for a 1st down.
    3)51.3% of our 3rd downs had the offense needing 6 or more yards for a 1st down.


I was horrified when I figured out these first three statistics.  Over half of the time that the team had a 3rd down situation, it needed more than half of the original 10 yards to get the 1st.  It was equally distressing to see how 1/3 of the time, our team was faced with almost the entire 10 yards on third down.  This suggests that the offense was not particularly adept, in many cases, at picking up yards on 1st and 2nd downs, and/or we had many untimely penalties.

    4)3rd and 1 was our most successful conversion distance -- converting 16 out of 29, or 55.1%.
    5)3rd and 2 was our 2nd best distance, converting 52.9%.
    6)3rd and 10 was our worst, converting only 3 out of 22, or 13.6%.


So, while our 3rd and 1 and our 3rd and 2 conversion rates were not particularly good, they were the best among all of our 3rd down plays.

Here are some other random statistics about our third down plays:

    7)57.4% of our 3rd downs came in the 2nd and 4th quarters.  This would suggest that the offense was very      slow to get into a rhythm at the start of each half.
    8)66.7% of our 3rd downs occurred on Denver's side of the 50 yard line.  Field position is extremely important, and this statistic suggests that we were consistently losing the field position battle.
    9)The overwhelming majority of our 3rd down plays were run out of the shotgun.  This really should come as no surprise since over half of our 3rd downs needed 6 or more yards to get the first.


A SUMMARY OF DENVER'S 3RD DOWN PLAYS BY DISTANCE

1)3rd and 1
Denver converted 16 out of 29 plays, or 55.2%.  The Broncos scored 2 Touchdowns, and earned 14 First Downs.
In this situation, 3 passes were thrown and the ball was run 22 times.  There were also 4 offensive penalties on 3rd and 1.
The passes break down this way: 2 short middle and 1 short right.
The runs break down this way: 1 left end, 2 left tackle, 3 left guard, 7 middle, 5 right guard, 4 right tackle, 0 right end.
The conversion rates for each pass direction were: short middle 50%, short right 100%.
The conversion rates for each run direction were: left end 0%, left tackle 50%, left guard 66.7%, middle 57.1%, right guard 80%, right tackle 75%.


An observation at this point:  if you choose to lump the runs from left guard to right guard as all constituting runs up the middle, the conversion percentage from middle runs rises from 57.1% (4 out 7) to 66.7% (10 out of 15).  While still not particularly impressive, it does show that between 57% and 67% of the time, the Broncos converted on 3rd and 1 using a run up the middle.  By way of comparison, runs to the tackles and outside only converted 57.1% (4 out of 7) of the time.  The run up the middle offered a better opportunity to convert.

2)3rd and 2
Denver converted 9 out 17 plays, or 52.9%.  The Broncos scored 1 Touchdown, and earned 8 First Downs.
On 3rd and 2 plays, Denver threw the ball 14 times and only ran it 3.
The following passes were used: 3 short left, 3 short middle, 7 short right, 1 deep left.
The 3 runs were to left tackle, left guard, and the middle.
The conversion rates for the passes were: short left 100%, short middle 33.3%, short right 28.6% and deep left 100%.
The conversion rates for the runs were: left tackle 100%, left guard 100% and middle 0%.


An observation: The urban legend that the Broncos mainly ran up the middle on 3rd and short and we got stuffed fails at this point.  Because what we find is that Denver had 46 plays that could qualify as 3rd and short.  17 of those plays were passes (36.9%) while 25 were runs (54.3%) and 4 were offensive penalties.  We ran the ball barely half the time.  Though, to be fair, 68% of those runs were between the guards, but the conversion rate for those runs was 64.7%.

3)3rd and 3
The Broncos converted 11 out of 23 plays, or 47.8%.  They scored 1 Touchdown, and earned 10 First Downs.
18 passes and 5 runs were attempted on 3rd and 3.
The passes were composed of 7 short left, 5 short middle, 5 short right, and 1 deep right.
The runs were 1 left end, 1 left tackle, 1 left guard, 1 middle, and 1 right guard.
The conversion rates for the passes were: short left 42.8%, short middle 40%, short right 80% and deep right 0%.
The conversion rates for the runs were: left end 100%, left tackle 0%, left guard 0%, middle 0%, right guard 100%.


An observation: 3rd and 3 was the second most common distance in our shorter distance 3rd downs.  It was also a distance we struggle with, converting less than 50% of our opportunities.

4)3rd and 4
The conversion slide continued at this distance, as the Broncos only converted 6 out 15 attempts, or 40%.
They logged 1 Touchdown and 5 First Downs.
Denver used 14 passes and only 1 run on 3rd and 4.  The QB was also sacked twice.
The passes were: 6 short left, 3 short middle, and 3 short right.
The run was to the middle.
The conversion rates on the passes were: short left 50%, short middle 33.3%, short right 33.3%.
The run failed to convert for the first down.


An observation: We would have expected a better showing on this distance, since the McDaniels' offense uses a lot of short passing routes.  This may have been indicative of other teams figuring out the Denver offense.  It may also have been a reflection of the inconsistent performance of our running game.  A 14-to-1 ratio suggests that the coaches did not have a lot of confidence in our ability to pick up 4 yards on the ground.

5)3rd and 5
This was our third best distance for converting a 3rd down into a 1st down: 14 out of 27, 51.9%.
On this type of play, we scored 2 Touchdowns, and earned 12 First Downs.
We used 20 passes and 3 runs, though there were 3 offensive penalties and 1 interception.
The passes were: 9 short left, 7 short middle, 4 short right, and 1 deep left.
The runs were: 1 left end, 1 middle, and 1 right tackle.
The conversion rates on the passes were: short left 66.7%, short middle 57.1%, short right 50%, and deep left 0%.
We did not convert any of the runs into First Downs.


An observation: We played relied heavily on passing to the left side on this distance.

6)3rd and 6
The drop off between 5 yards to go and 6 was dramatic.  We converted 4 out of 17 3rd downs at this distance, or 23.5%.
We did not score, and managed only 4 First Downs.  We also had 2 sacks and 1 interception.
We used 13 passes and 2 runs to attempt to gain the 1st down.
The passes were: 5 short left, 2 short middle, 2 short right, 1 deep left, 1 deep middle, and 1 deep right.
The runs were: left tackle and left guard.
The conversion rates on the passes were: short left 0%, short middle 0%, short right 50%, deep left 0%, deep middle 50%, deep right 50%.
Neither of the runs achieved a 1st down.


An observation:  This distance is the beginning of Denver's struggles with 3rd down conversions.  After 3rd & 4's single run, this was the fewest runs attempted on 3rd down, until we move into the 7 or longer range.

7)3rd and 7
The downward spiral on conversions continued here as the Broncos conversion rate dropped to 21.4% (3 out of 14).
While we did score 1 Touchdown on a 3rd and 7 play, we only converted 2 opportunities into First Downs.
Denver attempted 9 passes and 1 run, but were slowed by 2 offensive penalties, helped by 1 defensive penalty, experienced 1 sack, and missed a field goal attempt.
The passes thrown were: 3 short left, 2 short middle and 4 short right.
The run was to the middle.
The conversion rates for the passes were: short left 33.3%, short middle 50%, and short right 25%.
The run did not gain us a First Down.


An observation: The conversion rate for this distance was truly distressing.  It was the third lowest conversion rate for any 3rd down distance.

8)3rd and 8
Strangely enough, we did better on 3rd and 8 than on either 3rd and 7 or 3rd and 6, converting 6 out of 13 attempts, or 46.1%.
We scored 1 Touchdown and achieved 5 First Downs.
We were assisted by 2 defensive penalties, though hurt by 1 sack and 1 interception.
We only passed on 3rd and 8, throwing 11 passes.
The passes were: 2 short left, 4 short middle, 4 short right and 1 deep middle.
The conversion rates were: short left 0%, short middle 75%, short right 25%, and deep middle 100%


An observation:  It is interesting to note that the Broncos were better at 3rd and 8 than at either 3rd and 6 or 7.  I would have expected the reverse to be true -- that our conversion rate would steadily drop the further we had to go to get the first down.

9)3rd and 9
After the surge at 3rd and 8, the conversion rate again dropped slightly falling to 33.3% (5 out of 15).
We made 5 First Downs and did not score a Touchdown.
Oddly enough, we ran twice along with throwing the ball 11 times; there was 1 sack, and 1 field goal attempt.
The passes were: 5 short left, 2 short middle, and 4 short right.
The runs were: 1 left end, and 1 right end.
The conversion rates for the passes were: short left 60%, short middle 50%, and short right 25%.
Neither run garnered a First Down.


An observation: It is again odd to think that we did better at 3rd and 9 than at either 3rd and 6 or 3rd and 7.

10)3rd and 10
This distance had our worst conversion rate of any 3rd down distance, converting only 3 out 22 attempts, or 13.6%.
There were no Touchdowns scored, and only 3 First Downs.
The Broncos passed 16 times, and ran twice.  We were helped by 2 defensive penalties, one of which resulted in a First Down.
Denver also suffered 2 sacks.
The passes were: 5 short left, 3 short middle, 4 short right, 3 deep left, 1 deep middle.
The two runs were both QB scrambles up the middle.
The conversion rates on the passes were: short left 20%, short middle 33.3%, neither short right nor the deep passes converted a First Down.
Neither of the QB scrambles logged a First Down.


An observation:  This was a tremendously frustrating distance.  On the one hand, it was distressing to see that bare over 10% of our 3rd & 10s were converted to First Downs.  On the other hand, it was equally distressing that almost 10% of our 3rd downs required 10 yards to achieve a First Down.

11)3rd and 11+
Third Downs with 11 or more yards to go were converted to First Downs 16.7% of the time (6 out of 36 tries).
Having 15.8% of the 3rd Downs require 11 or more yards for a First Down was way too large a percentage.
Those distances over 10 yards included: 7 3rd&11s, 3 3rd&12s, 8 3rd&13s, 2 3rd&14s, 3 3rd&15s, 3 3rd&16s, 4 3rd&17s, 1 3rd&18, 2 3rd&19s, 1 3rd&20, 1 3rd&22, and 1 3rd&25.
The Broncos scored 1 Touchdown and achieved 5 First Downs.
Denver used 27 passes and 2 runs.  There was 1 offensive and 3 defensive penalties.  There were 3 sacks and 1 Fumble.  There was 1 kneel down at the end of a half.
The passes were: 6 short left, 3 short middle, 9 short right, 4 deep left, 3 deep middle and 2 deep right.
The runs were: 1 left end and 1 right tackle.
The conversion rates for the passes: short left 0%, short middle 33.3%, short right 0%, deep left 50%, deep middle 0%, and deep right 0%.
The conversion rates for the runs were: left end 100%, right tackle 0%.


An observation: It was not a good thing that 15% of all of our third downs required the Broncos to travel 11 or more yards.  Especially when the number of 3rd and 10s is added in, then the number of long distance third downs jumps to 25% of our 3rd downs required 10 or more yards to convert.  Offensively that is not a good situation to be in.

One Side Note About Play Calling or Did We Spread the Ball Around on 3rd Down?

Denver's play calling on 3rd Down looked like this:




Short (1-2 to go)



Pass Short Left
Pass Short Middle
Pass Short Right

Pass Deep Left
Pass Deep Middle
Pass Deep Right
3
5
8

1
0
0
Run Left End
Run Left Tackle
Run Left Guard
Run Middle
Run Right Guard
Run Right Tackle
Run Right End
1
3
4
8
5
4
0










Medium (3-5 to go)



Pass Short Left
Pass Short Middle
Pass Short Right

Pass Deep Left
Pass Deep Middle
Pass Deep Right
22
15
12

1
0
1
Run Left End
Run Left Tackle
Run Left Guard
Run Middle
Run Right Guard
Run Right Tackle
Run Right End
2
1
1
3
1
1
0










Long (6-9 to go)



Pass Short Left
Pass Short Middle
Pass Short Right

Pass Deep Left
Pass Deep Middle
Pass Deep Right
15
10
14

1
2
1
Run Left End
Run Left Tackle
Run Left Guard
Run Middle
Run Right Guard
Run Right Tackle
Run Right End
1
1
1
1
0
0
1










Very Long (10 or more)



Pass Short Left
Pass Short Middle
Pass Short Right

Pass Deep Left
Pass Deep Middle
Pass Deep Right
11
6
13

7
4
2
Run Left End
Run Left Tackle
Run Left Guard
Run Middle
Run Right Guard
Run Right Tackle
Run Right End
1
0
0
2
0
1
0










Overall



Pass Short Left
Pass Short Middle
Pass Short Right

Pass Deep Left
Pass Deep Middle
Pass Deep Right
51
36
47

10
6
4
Run Left End
Run Left Tackle
Run Left Guard
Run Middle
Run Right Guard
Run Right Tackle
Run Right End
5
5
6
14
6
6
1


We can see that there was a fair amount of diversity in play direction, though the plays seemed to favor moving to the left a bit more than the right. 

If we lump the runs behind the guards along with the ones labeled "middle" then there was an overwhelming tendency to "run it up the middle."  However, if you treat each of the play directions separately as they are listed, then while the middle did have over twice as many runs as any other single position, the running was relatively evenly spread along the line: 14 middle runs, 12 behind the guards, 11 behind the tackles, 6 to the ends.

The overwhelming majority of the passes were short passes, but that was to be expected given the nature of the offense that McDaniels was installing.  There was also a tendency to throw more to the left than in any other direction.

Some Final Comments

The play-by-play data shows that we did not always run up the middle on 3rd and 1, nor even on 3rd and short (1-2 yards to go).  We also converted more than we failed on.  Thus relegating that claim to the realm of an urban legend.

A side issue that arose through this research is the struggles that the offense had on 1st and 2nd downs.  The yardage gained on those two downs must improve.  It is simply mind boggling to think that 51.3% of our 3rd downs required the offense to gain 6 or more yards for a 1st.  This must change.  It makes logical sense.  Denver converted over 50% of its 3rd and shorts.  If the Broncos can improve on 1st and 2nd down to raise the number of 3rd & shorts they face, even if we simply maintain the current 3rd & short conversion rate, we will see a significant rise in the number of first downs.  This will lead to more extended drives, which should -- barring penalties or turnovers -- lead to increased scoring.

The Raw Play-by-Play Data (For Those Who Like This Sort of Thing)

Distance
Qtr/Time
LOS
Formation
Play
Result
1
2nd(2:42)
1st(6:02)
1st(3:34)
2nd(4:22)
3rd(2:22)
4th(12:41)
3rd(3:18)
3rd (0:42)
3rd(8:08)
OT(12:10)
3rd(13:03)
4th(9:51)
2nd(1:26)
3rd(10:51)
2nd(2:00)
2nd(0:51)
3rd(12:58)
2nd(7:21)
4th(4:36)
2nd(1:03)
1st(10:10)
3rd(5:03)
4th(12:28)
3rd(14:04)
4th(13:40)
2nd(11:07)
1st(13:57)
2nd(14:10)
4th(4:37)
DEN15
OAK1
OAK14
OAK36
DEN39
OAK4
DEN44
DAL30
NE6
NE48
SD46
SD47
BLT49
BLT6
DEN25
WAS12
DEN45
NYG1
DEN14
IND45
IND33
IND15
IND20
DEN29
DEN10
PHI16
DEN29
KC1
DEN49
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
NH Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Under C
Moreno run right tackle for 1 yard
Hillis run middle for no gain
Moreno run right guard for 9 yards
Moreno run right tackle for 1 yard
Moreno run right guard for 4 yards
Moreno run left end for -2 yards
Moreno run left guard for 5 yards
Moreno run right guard for no gain
Moreno run left guard for no gain
Orton pass short right for 8 yards to Royal
Illegal Shift Penalty on Marshall
Moreno run middle for 1 yard
Buckhalter run left guard for 2 yards
Orton pass short middle inc to Graham
Orton pass short middle for 18 yards to Marshall
Moreno run right guard for 2 yards
Moreno run left tackle for 36 yards
Moreno run right tackle for 1 yard
False Start Penalty on Kuper
Moreno run right tackle for no gain
Delay of Game Penalty on Orton
False Start Penalty on Hochstein
Orton run middle for 2 yards
Orton run middle for 1 yard
Orton run middle for no gain
Hillis run middle for no gain
Moreno run left tackle for no gain
Moreno run right guard for 1 yard
Orton run middle for 3 yards
1st
4th
1st
1st
1st
4th
1st
4th
4th
1st
Pen 4th
1st
1st
4th
1st
1st
1st
TD
Pen 3rd
4th
Pen 3rd
Pen 3rd
1st
1st
4th
4th
4th
TD
1st
1
29
1st - 4
2nd - 9
3rd - 9
4th - 6
OT - 1




Den 10
Opp 19








29 Under C
1 No Huddle








2 TDs
14 FDs
3 Passes
22 Runs
4 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
Passes: 2 short middle (1 FD, 1 inc), 1 short right (FD)
Runs: 1 left end (loss of yards), 2 left tackle (1 FD, 1 NG), 3 left guard (2 FD, 1 NG), 7 middle (4 FD, 3 NG), 5 right guard (1 TD, 3 FD, 1 NG), 4 right tackle (1 TD, 2 FD, 1 NG)

2
2nd(5:24)
3rd(4:28)
1st(8:07)
4th(4:06)
1st(2:11)
1st(2:57)
2nd(8:23)
2nd(10:31)
4th(15:00)
2nd(13:40)
3rd(10:13)
4th(3:39)
1st(8:18)
3rd(13:51)
1st(2:47)
4th(11:04)
4th(8:40)
DEN28
DEN44
CLE2
CLE43
OAK2
DEN28
DEN18
SD25
SD26
DEN31
DEN47
DEN28
DEN19
DEN27
DEN30
PHI45
PHI48
Shotgun
Under C
Under C
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Orton pass short right inc to Hillis
Orton pass short left for 2 yards to Scheffler
Jordan run left guard for 4 yards
Orton pass short middle for 2 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short middle for 1 yard to Marshall
Orton pass short left for 10 yards to Royal
Moreno run left tackle for 6 yards
Orton pass short left for 9 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short right for 11 yards to Royal
Simms pass short right for 5 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short right inc to Gaffney
Buckhalter run middle -1 yard
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Orton pass short middle inc to Stokley, penalty on Stokley (ejected)
Orton pass short right inc to Lloyd
Orton pass deep middle for 18 yards to Gaffney
4th
4th
TD
1st
TD
4th
1st
1st
1st
1st
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
1st
2
17
1st - 5
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 5





Den - 10
Opp - 7








Under C - 5
Shotgun - 12







1 TD
8 FD
14 Passes
3 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
Passes: 3 short left (1 TD, 2 FD), 3 short middle (1 FD, 1 short, 1 inc), 7 short right(2 FD, 5 inc), 1 deep left (1 FD)
Runs: 1 left tackle (1 FD), 1 left guard (1 FD), 1 middle (loss of yards)

3
2nd(0:34)
2nd(1:15)
4th(2:00)
2nd(4:36)
3rd(2:07)
4th(6:39)
OT(10:20)
1st(11:39)
2nd(0:42)
4th(11:03)
2nd(5:15)
1st(12:00)
3rd(12:22)
1st(10:19)
4th(2:31)
3rd(6:38)
1st(9:24)
3rd(12:34)
4th(6:01)
2nd(14:22)
2nd(7:12)
1st(8:07)
3rd(0:17)
DEN37
OAK3
OAK37
NE11
NE39
NE35
NE22
DEN45
BLT40
DEN44
DEN18
SD27
NYG29
DEN44
DEN22
IND30
OAK6
DEN37
OAK3
DEN37
DEN27
DEN48
KC3
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Under C
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Under C
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short right for 11 yards to Royal
Orton pass short middle inc to Royal
Jordan run middle for 2 yards
Orton pass short right for 11 yards to Marshall
Moreno run left tackle for -3 yards
Orton pass short left for 6 yards to Royal
Orton pass deep right inc to Marshall
Orton pass short right for -1 yard to Moreno
Orton pass short left inc to Marshall
Orton pass short middle inc to Royal
Orton pass short middle for 15 yards to Stokley
Moreno run right guard for 8 yards
Orton pass short left Intercepted
Orton pass short right for 10 yards to Marshall
Hillis run left end for 13 yards
Orton pass short left for 6 yards to Marshall
Moreno run left guard for 1 yard
Orton pass short left for 4 yards to Stokley
Orton pass short left inc to Scheffler
Orton pass short middle for 15 yards to Lloyd
Orton pass short middle inc to Marshall
Orton pass short left inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short right for 3 yards to Stokley
1st
4th
4th
TD
4th
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
1st
1st
INT
1st
1st
1st
4th
1st
4th
1st
4th
4th
TD
3
23
1st - 5
2nd - 7
3rd - 5
4th - 5
OT - 1






Den - 10
Opp - 13










Under C - 8
Shotgun - 15









1 TD
10 FD
18 Passes
5 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
1 Interception
Passes: 7 short left (3 FD, 3 Inc, 1 Int), 5 short middle (2 FD, 3 inc), 5 short right (1 TD, 3 FD, 1 Loss), 1 deep right (Inc)
Runs: 1 left end (FD), 1 left tackle (loss), 1 left guard (short), 1 middle (short), 1 right guard (FD)

4
4th(12:37)
4th(6:22)
2nd(13:41)
3rd(4:29)
4th(2:43)
2nd(1:24)
3rd(4:33)
4th(13:12)
2nd(14:24)
1st(2:22)
2nd(2:27)
1st(7:53)
2nd(10:28)
2nd(0:37)
4th(5:30)
DEN41
50YL
DEN47
DEN36
DEN32
DEN31
SD28
SD11
DEN29
IND44
IND5
DEN38
DEN49
KC7
DEN29
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short middle for 9 yards to Marshall
Moreno run middle for no gain
Orton sacked -7
Orton pass short left for 6 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass short middle inc to Gaffney
Ortong pass short right inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short right for 9 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short left inc to Royal
Orton pass short middle inc to Royal
Orton pass short left for 3 yards to Royal
Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Marshall
Orton sacked for -5 yards
Orton pass short left inc to Stokley
Orton pass short right inc to Stokley
Orton pass short left for 11 yards to Lloyd
1st
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
4th
TD
4th
4th
4th
1st
4
15
1st - 2
2nd - 6
3rd - 2
4th - 5





Den - 9
Opp - 5
50YL - 1







Under C - 1
Shotgun - 14







1 TD
5 FD
14 Passes
1 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
2 Sacks
Passes:  6 short left (1 TD, 2 FD, 1 short, 2 inc), 3 short middle (1 FD, 2 inc), 3 short right (1 FD, 2 inc)
Runs: 1 middle (NG)

5
1st(7:28)
3rd(0:24)
4th(7:54)
2nd(15:00)
2nd(11:49)
1st(5:04)
2nd(5:45)
1st(13:21)
2nd(0:29)
4th(8:04)
4th(3:01)
1st(9:51)
2nd(3:06)
2nd(7:45)
3rd(0:24)
4th(0:24)
1st(4:11)
3rd(10:05)
2nd(13:10)
4th(12:32)
4th(5:10)
4th(1:55)
2nd(7:24)
2nd(4:01)
4th(9:49)
1st(0:49)
3rd(2:57)
1st(2:53)
DEN21
CIN32
CIN24
DEN35
CLE5
DEN35
DEN17
DEN31
DEN28
SD39
SD5
DEN25
DEN35
PIT39
DEN30
DEN37
DEN25
SD5
NYG29
NYG31
NYG5
NYG43
DEN25
IND19
IND5
OAK41
PHI20
DEN10
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Orton pass short middle inc to Stokley
Orton pass short middle inc to Stokley
False Start Penalty on Hamilton
Orton pass short middle for 37 yards to Stokley
Orton pass short right inc to Scheffler
False Start Penalty on Harris
Orton pass short right for 23 yards to Buckhalter
Orton pass short left for 7 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short middle for 8 yards to Stokley + 14 additional yards from defensive penalty
Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Stokley
Buckhalter run left end for -2 yards
Orton pass short left for 7 yards to Royal
Orton pass short left inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short left for 4 yards to Stokley
Orton pass short left Intercepted
False Start Penalty on Weigmann
Orton pass short middle inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short right inc to Stokley
Orton pass short left for 12 yards to Gaffney
Buckhalter run middle for -1 yard
Buckhalter run right tackle for no gain
Orton pass short middle for 23 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short right for 8 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Marshall
Orton pass deep left inc to Royal
Orton pass short left for 8 yards to Lloyd
Orton pass short middle for 6 yards to Gaffney
4th
4th
Pen 3rd
1st
4th
Pen 3rd
1st
1st
1st
4th
TD
4th
1st
4th
4th
INT
3rd
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
1st
1st
TD
4th
1st
1st
5
27
1st - 7
2nd - 9
3rd - 4
4th - 7





Den -14
Opp - 14








Under C - 2
Shotgun - 26







2 TD
12 FD
20 Passes
3 Runs
3 Offensive Penalties
1 Defensive Penalties
1 Interception
Passes: 9 short left (2 TD, 4 FD, 1 Short, 1 Inc, 1 Int), 7 short middle (4 FD, 3 Inc), 4 short right (2 FD, 2 Inc), 1 deep left (Inc)
Runs: 1 left end (Loss), 1 middle (Loss), 1 right tackle (NG)

6
1st(0:34)
2nd(1:56)
3rd(5:12)
4th(6:43)
1st(11:11)
2nd(13:44)
2nd(12:26)
3rd(5:31)
2nd(4:04)
4th(14:08)
4th(4:36)
2nd(13:52)
3rd(9:44)
3rd(4:43)
2nd(11:23)
2nd(5:34)
1st(5:50)
DEN48
DEN20
DEN47
DAL12
NE30
NE40
DEN40
DEN41
DEN43
DEN24
DEN9
DEN34
IND38
IND20
DEN39
DEN24
KC49
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton sacked -5 yards
Orton pass short right for 11 yards to Royal
Orton pass deep right for 25 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short right for 2 yards to Moreno
Orton pass short middle inc to Stokley
Orton pass short left inc to Scheffler
Orton pass deep middle for 27 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass short left inc to Moreno
Orton pass short middle inc to Scheffler
Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Buckhalter
Hillis run left guard for 6 yards
Moreno run left tackle for 2 yards
Orton sacked for -7 yards
Orton pass deep left Intercepted
Orton pass deep middle inc to Scheffler
Orton pass short left inc to Jordan
Orton pass short left inc to Gaffney
4th
1st
1st
4th
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
INT
4th
4th
4th
6
17
1st - 3
2nd - 7
3rd - 4
4th - 3






Den - 11
Opp - 6









Under C - 2
Shotgun-15









0 TD
4 FD
13 Passes
2 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
1 Interception
2 Sacks
Passes: 5 short left (1 short, 4 inc), 2 short middle (2 inc), 2 short right (1 FD, 1 inc), 1 deep left (Int), 2 deep middle (1 FD, 1 inc), 1 deep right (FD)
Runs:  1 left tackle (short), 1 left guard (FD)

7
3rd(10:48)
2nd(13:43)
2nd(8:08)
2nd(8:03)
2nd(0:03)
4th(0:38)
1st(10:35)
1st(4:02)
2nd(10:13)
4th(0:29)
3rd(3:44)
1st(12:42)
4th(7:26)
2nd(9:25)
CLE20
DEN25
SD16
SD16
SD36
DEN40
PIT22
DEN47
DEN34
DEN29
DEN27
DEN28
DEN33
PHI11
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Field Goal
NH, Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
NH, Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short left inc to Stokley
Orton pass short right for 11 yards to Buckhalter
Offsetting penalties
Orton pass short left inc to Royal
Prater missed 54 yard FG
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Orton pass short right for 5 yards to Marshall
Moreno run middle for -3 yards
Simms sacked -10 yards
Orton pass short middle inc to Gaffney
False Start Penalty on Graham
Orton pass short middle for 63 yards to Stokley
Orton pass short left for 11 yards to Gaffney
4th
1st
Pen 3rd
4th
End of Qtr
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
Pen 3rd
1st
TD
7
14
1st - 3
2nd - 6
3rd - 2
4th - 3







Den - 8
Opp - 6










Under C - 1
Shotgun - 10
NH SG - 2
FG - 1







1 TD
2 FD
9 Passes
1 Runs
2 Offensive Penalties
1 Defensive Penalties
0 Interception
1 Missed FG
1 Sack
Passes: 3 short left (1 TD, 2 inc), 2 short middle (1 FD, 1 inc), 4 short right (1 FD, 1 short, 2 inc)
Runs: 1 middle (short)

8
1st(10:32)
2nd(12:15)
3rd(0:53)
OT(10:24)
1st(5:24)
2nd(9:38)
3rd(3:12)
1st(2:36)
4th(10:20)
2nd(13:27)
2nd(0:06)
3rd(1:10)
4th(15:00)
DEN43
CLE14
DEN45
NE27
DEN35
DEN38
DEN33
NYG8
NYG17
DEN37
IND45
IND24
IND10
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Orton pass short right inc to Gaffney; Def Holding penalty
Orton pass short right for 9 yards to Stokley
Orton pass deep middle for 23 yards to Marshall
Defensive Offside Penalty
Orton pass short middle for 9 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short middle for 18 yards to Graham
Simms sacked -7 yards
Orton pass short middle inc to Marshall
Orton pass short middle for 17 yards to Stokley
Orton pass short left inc to Marshall
Orton pass short left for 4 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short right inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short right inc to Stokley
Pen - 1st
1st
1st
Pen 3rd
1st
1st
4th
4th
TD
4th
4th
4th
4th
8
13
1st - 3
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 2
OT - 1





Den - 6
Opp - 7









Under C - 1
Shotgun - 12








1 TD
5 FD
11 Passes
0 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
2 Defensive Penalties
1 Sack
Interception
Passes: 2 short left (1 inc, 1 short), 4 short middle (1 TD, 2 FD, 1 inc), 4 short right (1 FD, 3 inc), 1 deep middle (FD)
Runs: No runs

9
1st(12:58)
2nd(12:48)
2nd(0:04)
4th(10:01)
3rd(3:47)
4th(8:27)
4th(0:22)
3rd(12:39)
2nd(1:55)
1st(10:27)
3rd(13:25)
4th(9:31)
4th(2:00)
1st(9:24)
2nd(3:32)
DEN43
DEN17
CIN30
CIN49
CLE27
OAK48
NE44
BLT29
WAS33
DEN15
KC26
KC21
DEN10
DEN30
DEN46
Shotgun
Shotgun
Field Goal
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short left inc to Stokley
Orton pass short right for 3 yards to Gaffney (tipped @ LOS)
Prater 48 yard FG - Good
Orton pass short right for 20 yards to Graham
Orton pass short right for 8 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass short left inc to Gaffney
Orton sacked for -6 yards
Orton pass short left for 14 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass short middle for 12 yards to Scheffler
Orton pass short middle for 5 yards to Buckhalter
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Royal run right end for 1 yard
Orton scrambles  left end for 7 yards
Orton pass short left for 11 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass short left for 18 yards to Gaffney
4th
4th
FG
1st
4th
4th
4th
1st
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
1st
1st
9
15
1st - 3
2nd - 4
3rd - 3
4th - 5







Den - 6
Opp - 9










Under C - 1
Shotgun - 13
FG - 1








0 TD
5 FD
11 Passes
2 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
0 Defensive Penalties
1 Sack
0 Interception
1 Field Goal
Passes: 5 short left (3 FD, 2 inc), 2 short middle (1 FD, 1 short), 4 short right (1 FD, 2 short, 1 inc) 
Runs:  1 left end (short), 1 right end (short)

10
4th(7:35)
2nd(1:37)
2nd(0:32)
1st(0:39)
1st(938)
1st(4:40)
3rd(1:00)
2nd(11:42)
4th(12:57)
4th(6:47)
2nd(0:16)
3rd(9:21)
4th(2:27)
1st(3:49)
3rd(4:32)
4th(5:10)
4th(2:18)
2nd(0:18)
3rd(10:17)
1st(14:18)
3rd(3:21)
4th(3:43)
CIN29
DEN31
CLE21
OAK34
DEN7
DEN30
SD47
DEN21
DEN33
DEN26
WAS10
WAS48
DEN27
DEN25
SD45
NYG10
DEN20
DEN20
OAK33
DEN32
KC44
KC48
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Orton pass short right for 4 yards to Buckhalter; Off Holding on Weigmann
Orton pass short left for 18 yards to Stokley
Orton pass deep left inc to Royal
Orton pass short left for 4 yards to Royal
Orton pass short right inc to Royal
Orton pass short middle inc to Gaffney
Orton scrambles for 8 yards + 5 additional yards from a defensive penalty
Orton pass short middle for 15 yards to Marshall
Orton pass short left for 3 yards to Marshall
Orton pass inc (sack & fumble reversed by replay)
Orton scramble middle for 3 yards
Simms pass short left inc to Stokley
Simms pass deep middle inc to Marshall
Simms sacked -7 yards
Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Buckhalter
Defensive Offsides Penalty
Orton sacked for -8 yards
Orton pass short middle for 8 yards to Gaffney
Orton pass deep left inc to Gaffney
Orton pass short right inc to Graham
Orton pass deep left inc to Lloyd
Orton pass short right for 8 yards to Stokley
3rd
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
Pen - 1st
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
Pen - 3rd
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
10
22
1st - 5
2nd - 5
3rd - 5
4th - 7






Den - 11
Opp - 11









Shotgun - 22









0 TD
3 FD
16 Passes
2 Runs
0 Offensive Penalties
2 Defensive Penalties
2 Sack
0 Interception
Passes: 5 short left (1 FD, 3 short, 1 inc), 3 short middle (1 FD, 1 short, 1 inc), 4 short right (2 short, 2 inc), 3 deep left (3 inc), 1 deep middle (inc)
Runs:  2 middle (short - both were QB scrambles)

Over 10
3rd(10:54)
4th(7:03)
1st(12:22)
2nd(6:37)
3rd(3:16)
2nd(2:11)
3rd(10:02)
4th(11:50)
3rd(10:14)
1st(13:41)
2nd(11:27)
3rd(4:11)
4th(7:56)
2nd(0:26)
3rd(7:37)
1st(12:56)
2nd(12:38)
2nd(10:13)
2nd(10:06)
4th(13:39)
4th(7:47)
2nd(10:54)
2nd(4:20)
2nd(1:07)
3rd(6:03)
4th(0:26)
1st(12:42)
1st(4:53)
4th(3:46)
4th(0:19)
3rd(10:28)
3rd(6:37)
4th(13:12)
4th(6:50)
4th(8:56)
4th(8:08)
DEN11
CIN35
DEN36
DEN30
DEN18
DEN39
DEN28
DEN49
NE47
DEN25
DEN29
DEN21
DEN19
DEN40
PIT45
WAS40
DEN21
DEN19
DEN19
DEN13
SD19
NYG14
NYG29
KC49
KC20
DEN44
DEN33
OAK22
DEN15
DEN15
PHI15
DEN11
DEN48
PHI33
DEN23
DEN40
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Under C
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
Shotgun
3-13 Orton pass short left for 6 yards to Marshall
3-16 Orton sacked -7
3-19 Orton pass short right inc to Gaffney
3-12 Orton pass deep middle inc to Gaffney
3-11 Orton pass short middle inc to Gaffney; Def Pass Interference Penalty
3-25 Orton pass short right for 13 yards to Graham
3-18 Orton pass short left for 17 yards to Buckhalter
3-17 Orton pass short right for 8 yards to Graham
3-14 Orton pass short middle for 14 yards to Gaffney
3-16 Orton pass short left for 5 yards to Marshall
3-17 Orton pass short left for 1 yard to Buckhalter
3-11 Orton pass short right for 9 yards to Buckhalter
3-15 Orton sacked -9 yards
3-13 Buckhalter run right tackle for 5 yards
3-11 Orton pass short right inc to Marshall
3-11 Orton pass deep left for 40 yards to Marshall
3-16 Orton pass deep right inc to Royal
3-11 Offsetting Penalties
3-11 Simms pass short right inc to Royal
3-17 Orton pass deep right inc to Gaffney
3-15 Orton pass deep right inc to Marshall
3-14 Orton pass short middle inc to Scheffler
3-13 Orton pass short right for no gain to Marshall
3-13 Orton sacked for -5 yards, Fumble recovered by KC
3-11 Orton pass deep left inc to Marshall
3-13 Simms kneels for -1 yard
3-12 Orton pass deep left for 18 yards to Royal
3-15 Orton pass short right for -3 yards to Royal
3-19 Orton pass short left inc to Jordan
3-17 Orton pass deep middle inc to Marshall
3-13 Orton pass short right for no gain to Graham
3-22 Buckhalter run left end for 33 yards
3-13 Orton pass deep left inc to Marshall
3-13 Orton pass short middle for 5 yards to Buckhalter
3-20 Defensive Pass Interference Penalty
3-12 Orton pass short left inc to Buckhalter
4th
4th
4th
4th
Pen - 1st
4th
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
TD
4th
3rd
4th
4th
4th
4th
4th
FUM
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
4th
4th
1st
4th
4th
Pen 1st
4th
10+
36
1st - 5
2nd - 10
3rd - 9
4th - 12









Den - 24
Opp - 12












Under C - 3
Shotgun - 33











1 TD
5 FD
27  Passes
2 Runs
1 Offensive Penalties
3 Defensive Penalties
3 Sack
0 Interception
1 Kneel down
1 Fumble
Passes: 6 short left (4 short, 2 inc), 3 short middle (1 FD, 1 short, 1 inc), 9 short right (3 short, 2 no gain, 1 loss, 3 inc), 4 deep left (1 TD, 1 FD, 2 inc), 3 deep middle (3 inc), 2 deep right (2 inc)
Runs:  1 left end (FD), 1 right tackle (short)

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