ESPN dropped a few stats about the Denver Broncos offense in their Week 3 power rankings that pretty much calls the offense out for being the worst unit in football, while also saying the defense is one of the best. No context, just one single stat that is supposed to explain why the Broncos are bad on offense.
The offense is struggling, averaging a league-worst 3.73 yards per play. The defense, on the other hand, is thriving, allowing the second-fewest yards per play (4.23).
This is why yardage stats can be a bit of a red herring sometimes. While it is true that the Broncos offense is struggling to gain yardage, they are surprisingly good in metrics that truly matter - such as time of possession and scoring. First, let's cover the bad:
Oh nos, the sky is falling, right? I guess, maybe. Probably not. Here is the good:
The yards just are not there, but the Broncos are scoring, running offensive plays, controlling the ball and (mostly) taking care of the football.
Why the disparity?
As one apt redditor pointed out, it's hard to rank highly in the yardage category when the defense keeps giving them a short field to work with. I've covered why the defense is really that good, but it does help to put yards gained into context.
So being "32nd in total offense" means very little when the team is scoring points and controlling the football in both plays called and time of possession. You'll hear very few people around here complain about how the defense needs to let it up so the offense can work harder for those points.
All things being averaged out in the long run, the Broncos offense will steadily climb up in those yardage rankings over time. Especially once Peyton Manning starts hitting on a few of these each game:
What do you think Broncos Country?