FanPost

"Gifting" Our Advantage to the Opposition

After reading a lot of comments by both the MSM and our own MHR faithful, about how bad our defense is this year I got to wondering if we’ve got a classic shell game here. We’re looking where we think the "pea" is rather than identifying where it isn’t and making the decision easy.

Moving pieces are always a distraction. The key to the shell game, confuse your audience—make them look where you want them to

As is always the case if you lock-on to the wrong shell, you’ll miss what you should see. Seems simple enough. But here we are on the cusp of our 14th game and it seems like too many are looking where they shouldn’t to figure out this team. Particularly our defense.

MSM says that our Achilles heal is our defense and their inability to stop the opposition. It’s presented in many ways depending on the writer, but the basic premise is the same, "Denver’s defense can’t stop anyone." That "welcome to the shootout" mentality is great for fan interest; points being scored are a good thing. But for the Broncos defense, the reality of what led to those points against them is not what you would expect.

I would like to introduce a new term I call "Gift Points," where you give the opponent the ball in exceedingly favorable field position. Kind of where the points are almost a forgone conclusion. It’s not if they will score, it’s whether or not it will be a FG rather than a TD. The Broncos offense and Special Teams have been exceedingly generous in sharing the "Gift Points" with the opposition this season. Take a look at the table below to see how generous we’ve actually been.

Opponent

Turnover Type

Possession Location

"Gift" Outcome

Baltimore

Fumble (Welker)

Denver 2

7 points

Oakland

Fumble (Ball)

Denver 20

7 points

Dallas

Fumble (Decker)

Denver 45

7 points

Jacksonville

Fumble (PFM)

Denver 40

3 points

Jacksonville

INT (PFM)

Denver 42

7 points

Indianapolis

Fumble (Holliday)

Denver 11

7 points

Indianapolis

Fumble (PFM)

Denver 0

2 points

Indianapolis

INT (PFM)

Denver 24

7 points

Washington

INT (PFM)

Denver 20

7 points

San Diego

Fumble (PFM)

Denver 11

7 points

New England

Fumble (Ball)

Denver 32

7 points

New England

INT (PFM/Decker)

Denver 30

7 points

New England

Fumble (Welker/Carter)

Denver 15

3 points

Kansas City

INT (PFM)

Denver 22

7 points

Kansas City

Kick Return

N/A

7 points

Tennessee

Kick Return

Denver 3

7 points

Included in this table are only turnovers that occurred on the Denver side of the field, leading to immediate scores or short drives for a score. This is to highlight drives by the opposition that essentially began in scoring position—through no fault of our defense. Three special teams turnovers and one kick return for a TD are also listed, since the defense was not at fault for where each of those possession began.

It’s an ugly list (94 points in total). The elephant in the room is not that our defense can’t stop anyone. It’s our offense (and at times special teams) regularly making games closer than they should be, by giving up the ball on the Denver side of the field.

The Bronco defense is currently the 26th ranked scoring defense in the NFL. Without the Gift Points they would be 7th, just behind the Bengals. When our offense or special teams give the opposing offense the ball 12 times inside field goal range (eight inside the Red Zone), how is that the fault of our defense?

So getting back to my Shell Game analogy, we love what our offense can do so much that we’ve been focusing on the wrong shell. The "pea" is our offense turning over the ball, not our defenses inability to stop the other team. When you don’t find the pea, you lose. Simple as that. As we head towards the post-season the Gift Points appear to be the likely cause of an early exit, if it doesn’t get fixed now. Think how different victories against KC, SD, Washington, and Tennessee would have looked without the Gift Points. And losses to Indy and NE likely don’t happen.

My question to MHR is this: Do we really have a much better defense than the scoring statistics indicate, and our real problem is our offense "gifting" away our advantage? What say you?



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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