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Broncos 3rd & Long: Complete team win

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Enjoy this - It doesn't happen very often. We totally demolished an elite team last night. It feels good to be on the winning side of that equation after recent games where we got demolished.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

First, let me start by stating that I hope this is not the high point of the season. With that caveat out of the way

WOW!

That game was fun to watch. We just laid a WWE-level smackdown on one of the best teams in the league (arguably the best team in the NFC). They came into the game with 5th best scoring offense in the league (27.3 ppg) and the best scoring defense in the league (16.8 ppg). Our offense scored 10 more points than they normally give up (something that our offense had not done this year) and our defense held them to more than 17 points below their season scoring average. It gets better. The Packers came into the game averaging 364 yards of total offense per game.

The last time our team had two weeks to prepare for an elite opponent we were the ones getting smacked, not the ones doing the smacking.

We held them to 140 - 220 yards less than they averaged coming in. Let that sink in. They were averaging 6.05 yards per play prior to last night. The ran 46 plays last night so they gained 3.04 yards per play last night - 3.0 yards per play less than they had put up this year. It gets even better. They were coming off of their bye so they were healthy and they had two weeks to prepare for our defense. Arguably the best QB in the game had two weeks to prepare for our defense and he was only able to muster 140 yards of total offense (admittedly they got 63 yards on defensive penalties).

This is what has me the most excited about our current team. Our coaches had two weeks to prepare a game plan and they came up with one that led to a dominating win against a previously undefeated elite opponent in prime time in front of a huge audience. The last time our team had two weeks to prepare for an elite opponent we were the ones getting smacked, not the ones doing the smacking.

So let's look at the stats you came to see what you clicked on this link.

Defensive Performance on 3rd and Long (7 or more needed to gain)

The Packers only had eleven 3rd down situations all game and seven of them were long situations

Situation Play Result
3rd and 17 at GB 36 (9:50 - 1st) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete deep left to J.Jones [D.Ware] incomplete
3rd and 11 at GB 19 (14:17 - 3rd) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short middle to R.Rodgers. PENALTY on DEN-T.Ward, Defensive Pass Interference, 14 yards, enforced at GB 19 - No Play conversion by penalty
3rd and 10 at GB 44 (12:09 - 3rd) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers scrambles up the middle to DEN 39 for 17 yards (D.Stewart) conversion by scramble
3rd and 14 at DEN 43 (9:53 - 3rd) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short left to J.Starks to DEN 39 for 4 yards (D.Wolfe; C.Harris) [S.Barrett] catch but short
3rd and 7 at GB 23 (4:36 - 3rd) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete deep right to R.Cobb. PENALTY on DEN-A.Talib, Defensive Holding, 5 yards, enforced at GB 23 - No Play conversion by penalty
3rd and 17 at GB 38 (2:21 - 3rd) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass incomplete short middle to R.Cobb (M.Jackson) incomplete
3rd and 9 at GB 30 (8:02 - 4th) (Shotgun) A.Rodgers pass short left to J.Jones to GB 32 for 2 yards (B.Marshall). FUMBLES (B.Marshall), and recovers at GB 32. J.Jones to GB 32 for no gain (B.Marshall) catch but short

They actually did a decent job of of converting on 3rd and long going three for seven - although two were by penalty - holding on T. J. Ward and Holding on Aqib Talib. The NFL game book shows that they only converted two of eight third downs, but they had four conversions by penalty and three of four came on third down. The penalty on David Bruton to extend their lone touchdown drive was on 3rd and six.

For the season we have allowed conversion on on 17 of 59 third and long situations (28.8%). Leaving out the conversions by penalty, we are currently 7th in the league in stopping conversions on 3rd and long (20.4%). The current league leader is the Seachickens who have only allowed conversion on an amazing 12.0% of 3rd and longs. For the season we have allowed conversion on 36 of 96 3rd downs (including penalty conversions) - 37.5%. Removing the penalty conversions, we are currently 4th in the league in overall 3rd down conversion stoppage (33.0%). Houston is currently the league leader at 30.8%.

Stopping the Run on First Down

We didn't do as well against Green Bay at stopping the run on first down as we have against most of our opponents this year. The Packers ran the ball twelve times on first down for 51 yards against us - 4.3 ypc. This included runs of 14 and 15 yards. From a ypc perspective, this was our worst first down run stop performance of the year. Overall they gained 90 yards on 21 carries (4.3 ypc). We are still are leading the league in run stoppage on first down allowing 2.94 ypc. The next best team, SEA, is giving up 3.51 yards per carry on first down.

We are on pace to do better than we did last season in terms of run stuffing on first down. Last year we allowed 503 yards on 156 first down runs - 3.22 ypc. So far we have allowed 274 yards on 93 first down carries through 7 games meaning that we are on pace to give up 626 yards on first down runs this year, but on 213 carries. Teams are running the ball more against us on first down this year than last. We currently have 16 stops for no gain and 12 TFL's on first down runs. We had 16 and 15 respectively on the entire season last year.

Takeaway and Moving Forward

We deserve a few days as fans to enjoy this one. This was a statement win. This victory proved to the rest of the NFL that our defense is a force equal to or greater than that 2013 Seattle defense. Barring a shutout of the Colts by the Panthers tonight, we will end this week as the best scoring defense in the NFL - allowing 16.0 ppg. This victory also proved to the the rest of the NFL that the reports of Peyton Manning's demise have been greatly exaggerated.

The Colts are beat up and struggling right now. They've lost two straight (to the P*ts and the Saints) and they may come limping back to Indianapolis with three straight losses as they face a tough test tonight against the Panthers in Charlotte. The Panthers probably have the second best defense in the league - behind us. If they lose tonight, the Colts would still be in first place in their division (via a head-to-head win over HOU), but they would still be 3-5. The schedule-makers did them no favors pitting them against the P*ts, Panthers and Broncos in a span of four weeks. Even if they enter the game against us riding a three game losing streak, they are always tough to beat in Indy. Andrew Luck with get their offense going at some point, but I'm guessing it won't be against us or against the Panthers. They get their bye after playing us, but they could enter the bye at 3-6 as the losers of four straight if we vanquish them on the road.