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Looking at some ugly stats from the Broncos through seven games

Some very ugly numbers for the Broncos after seven games.

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos offense has the second worst yards needed on average on 3rd down (8.0) behind the Vikings and the Cardinals who are tied at 8.3. A corollary to this is that the Broncos have the second most third and long situations (7 or more needed) in the league at 8.0 per game (the Falcons are worse at 8.3). For comparison sake the Bills need an average of 5.7 yards on 3rd down and the Rams have the fewest 3rd and long situations per game at 4.3.

The Broncos have converted on 12 of their 56 3rd and long situations (21.4 percent) which is near the bottom of the league (the Cowboys are worst at 14.3 percent). The Rams have converted on 14 of their 30 (46.7 percent).

Converting on third and long is difficult even for elite quarterbacks. Going back to 1994 (which is a far back as PFR/stathead.com goes) there are 211 quarterbacks who have 60 or more passing attempts on 3rd and long (7 or more). The two best at converting these convert at 35.0 percent. Unfortunately for us, they also both currently play in the AFC West, Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert.

Rank Player Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Sk Yds Y/A 1D Rate Att Yds Y/A TD 1D 1D%
1 Patrick Mahomes 125 228 54.8 2189 11 8 23 -188 9.6 84 89.2 23 201 8.74 1 12 35.0%
2 Justin Herbert 68 108 63.0 1002 11 2 10 -74 9.3 43 119.4 5 12 2.4 0 0 35.0%
3 Jameis Winston 214 365 58.6 3038 17 21 39 -282 8.3 137 77.2 42 318 7.57 2 18 34.8%
4 Dan Orlovsky 49 84 58.3 580 2 5 5 -25 6.9 30 62.6 1 10 10 0 1 34.4%
5 Philip Rivers 710 1198 59.3 10443 58 54 102 -681 8.7 446 85.1 42 89 2.12 0 7 33.8%
6 John Elway 195 346 56.4 3174 15 13 44 -335 9.2 133 86.1 31 180 5.81 0 9 33.7%
7 Jimmy Garoppolo 112 167 67.1 1424 8 7 15 -119 8.5 64 92.0 12 22 1.83 0 1 33.5%
8 Dan Marino 244 450 54.2 3505 19 18 26 -189 7.8 160 77.1 11 14 1.27 0 1 33.1%
9 Brett Favre 831 1366 60.8 11266 50 61 100 -711 8.2 491 80.7 74 384 5.19 1 16 32.9%
10 Andrew Luck 221 394 56.1 3196 16 12 38 -286 8.1 138 83.5 58 391 6.74 1 22 32.7%
11 Drew Brees 870 1340 64.9 11400 58 45 98 -736 8.5 480 92.1 72 178 2.47 0 8 32.3%
12 Daunte Culpepper 274 471 58.2 4276 27 24 59 -348 9.1 168 86.3 55 389 7.07 0 21 32.3%
13 Peyton Manning 713 1239 57.5 9228 49 56 63 -390 7.4 425 75.4 53 132 2.49 1 7 31.9%
14 Matt Ryan 667 1081 61.7 8664 37 28 102 -681 8 381 87.5 62 262 4.23 0 13 31.6%
15 Ben Roethlisberger 671 1126 59.6 9346 49 42 131 -927 8.3 402 85.3 75 357 4.76 1 15 31.3%
16 Randall Cunningham 139 255 54.5 2121 13 10 33 -259 8.3 91 82.8 26 160 6.15 0 7 31.2%
17 David Garrard 229 378 60.6 2844 16 10 30 -200 7.5 124 87.0 40 271 6.78 0 15 31.0%
18 Steve Beuerlein 206 362 56.9 2823 17 14 63 -425 7.8 132 81.5 18 73 4.06 0 5 30.9%
19 Tony Romo 349 602 58.0 5076 24 21 66 -482 8.4 207 84.3 28 157 5.61 1 8 30.9%
20 Matt Moore 105 178 59.0 1621 7 7 20 -149 9.1 64 85.9 13 35 2.69 0 1 30.8%
21 Trevor Siemian 82 136 60.3 1046 3 6 13 -100 7.7 46 73.3 7 27 3.86 0 2 30.8%
22 Aaron Rodgers 527 883 59.7 7613 36 18 125 -874 8.6 303 92.8 91 640 7.03 3 35 30.8%
23 Kurt Warner 338 552 61.2 4734 23 20 57 -389 8.6 189 87.6 20 60 3 0 4 30.7%
24 C.J. Beathard 40 71 56.3 568 2 1 11 -87 8 24 85.9 3 23 7.67 0 2 30.6%
25 Steve Young 164 271 60.5 2350 10 9 46 -262 8.7 93 87.1 47 327 6.96 3 17 30.2%

In fact in you sort this list of 211 QBs by passer rating on 3rd and long, you find that the four current starting QBs in the AFC West are all in the top 13 (top 25 shown below, 1994-present).

Rank Player Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Sk Yds Y/A 1D Rate
1 Justin Herbert 68 108 63.0 1002 11 2 10 -74 9.3 43 119.4
2 Gardner Minshew II 65 110 59.1 832 7 2 12 -58 7.6 33 96.5
3 Derek Carr 366 591 61.9 4897 23 10 61 -418 8.3 181 94.1
4 Aaron Rodgers 527 883 59.7 7613 36 18 125 -874 8.6 303 92.8
5 Cleo Lemon 36 60 60.0 517 2 1 9 -41 8.6 20 92.2
6 Drew Brees 870 1340 64.9 11400 58 45 98 -736 8.5 480 92.1
7 Jimmy Garoppolo 112 167 67.1 1424 8 7 15 -119 8.5 64 92.0
8 Teddy Bridgewater 189 273 69.2 2293 9 10 34 -241 8.4 87 90.5
9 Matt Cassel 259 411 63.0 3368 17 12 46 -295 8.2 141 90.4
10 Joe Montana 53 89 59.6 587 3 0 6 -44 6.6 28 90.4
11 Carson Wentz 209 378 55.3 2999 19 7 48 -353 7.9 116 90.3
12 Dak Prescott 217 343 63.3 2655 14 9 31 -216 7.7 97 89.7
13 Patrick Mahomes 125 228 54.8 2189 11 8 23 -188 9.6 84 89.2
14 Marcus Mariota 172 277 62.1 2094 9 5 42 -289 7.6 91 88.6
15 Tom Brady 808 1419 56.9 11244 71 38 133 -866 7.9 464 88.1
16 Matthew Stafford 531 938 56.6 8018 52 35 88 -601 8.5 304 87.8
17 Kurt Warner 338 552 61.2 4734 23 20 57 -389 8.6 189 87.6
18 Matt Ryan 667 1081 61.7 8664 37 28 102 -681 8 381 87.5
19 Steve Young 164 271 60.5 2350 10 9 46 -262 8.7 93 87.1
20 David Garrard 229 378 60.6 2844 16 10 30 -200 7.5 124 87.0
21 Kirk Cousins 329 524 62.8 3935 20 15 49 -364 7.5 155 86.5
22 Daunte Culpepper 274 471 58.2 4276 27 24 59 -348 9.1 168 86.3
23 Kellen Clemens 63 112 56.3 902 5 3 18 -97 8.1 35 86.2
24 John Elway 195 346 56.4 3174 15 13 44 -335 9.2 133 86.1
25 Matt Moore 105 178 59.0 1621 7 7 20 -149 9.1 64 85.9

Keep in mind that some of these QBs (Joe Montana, Steve Young and John Elway) played much of their careers prior to 1994 so you are not seeing their career stats, only their late(r) career stats.

It is quite scary that our defense is built on the ability to get the offense in must-pass situations and then getting pressure on the QB in those situations to force bad throws. It would appear that Mahomes, Herbert and Derek Carr all play quite well on when it’s 3rd and long. Herbert’s career passer rating of 119.6 on 3rd and long is just not fair.

Speaking of pressure, the Broncos offense is on pace to allow 236 QB pressures this season.

While the PFR data only goes back to 2018, this number would be the highest on record with KC in 2018 allowing 214 as the previous high. Admittedly this would be in 17 games not 16, but even in 16 games, the current Bronco pace of 13.9 would break that 214 mark.

The Broncos only have one game this season where our defense generated more pressures than our offense allowed (game 3). While the defense is still currently ranked sixth in pressure rate on opposing QBs, much of that comes from the first four games. The ability to pressure the QB has really dropped off over the past three games despite currently having the second highest blitz rate in the league at 33.6 percent (Bucs lead the league at 33.7 percent).

There is one glimmer of hope. The Broncos have moved all the way up to 27th in 3rd down conversion rate at 31.8 percent. However the bottom of the league is very tight with five teams all clustered at 31 percent (Broncos, Seahawks, 49ers, Bears and Jaguars). The Panthers have taken over the bottom spot falling all the way to 27.5 percent 3rd down conversion.

Poll

Which stat do you expect to improve the most by the end of the season?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Defensive pressured generated (once Chubb is back)
    (159 votes)
  • 6%
    Offensive pressure allowed
    (46 votes)
  • 5%
    Average yards needed on 3rd down
    (43 votes)
  • 0%
    3rd and long conversion rate
    (4 votes)
  • 5%
    3rd down conversion rate
    (44 votes)
  • 60%
    none of the above
    (451 votes)
747 votes total Vote Now