So the week 13 stats have been updated in PFR and Javonte Williams is the best player in the league at breaking tackles. He currently has 27 broken tackles according to pro-football-reference.com (26 on runs and one on a catch) and that is tied with Najee Harris for the league lead. In terms of a rate stat Williams is currently the fifth best in broken tackles per touch behind Taysom Hill, Deebo Samuel, Chris Carson and Brandon Bolden. However, none of those four have more than 81 touches this year. Williams has 173.
|Rk||Player||Tm||Pos||G||R. BrkTkl||C. BrkTkl||Total||Total Touches||Touches/BrkTkl|
R. BrkTkl is broken tackles on runs.
C. BrkTkl is broken tackles on catches.
Looking at players with a minimum of nine broken tackles, there are only fifteen players who average better than one broken tackle for every ten touches. Two are on the Broncos with Melvin Gordon having breaking one tackle every 9.24 touches so far this season. With 40 broken tackles on running plays, the Denver Broncos are currently the best team in the league at breaking tackles on runs. The Eagles, who are second with 36, have played on more game than the Broncos.
While the Bronco runners have been really good at breaking tackles, the Bronco pass catchers have not. The Broncos only have eleven broken tackles in the passing game. In terms of touches per broken tackle by team, the Broncos currently rank third behind the Seahawks and the Eagles.
|Rank||Team||Rush Att||R. BrkTkl||Rec||C. BrkTkl||Drop||Drop%||Total BrT||Total touches||Touches/BrT|
|4||Las Vegas Raiders||276||20||306||29||17||3.8||49||582||11.9|
|8||New England Patriots||380||22||279||27||11||2.8||49||659||13.4|
|10||New Orleans Saints||338||29||220||11||20||5.2||40||558||14.0|
|11||San Francisco 49ers||355||20||232||22||18||5.0||42||587||14.0|
|15||Kansas City Chiefs||294||7||321||31||31||6.3||38||615||16.2|
|20||Washington Football Team||354||23||270||12||15||3.8||35||624||17.8|
|22||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||263||15||354||19||18||3.5||34||617||18.1|
|24||Green Bay Packers||314||20||271||12||9||2.2||32||585||18.3|
|27||New York Jets||260||13||285||13||25||5.4||26||545||21.0|
|29||Los Angeles Rams||290||9||294||14||24||5.4||23||584||25.4|
|30||Los Angeles Chargers||270||13||315||10||28||5.9||23||585||25.4|
|32||New York Giants||277||8||273||11||21||4.8||19||550||28.9|
The best receiving corps in the league for breaking tackles is the Chiefs’ group. They have 31. The best Bronco pass catcher for broken tackles so far this season is Gordon with four. For whatever reason, our tight ends don’t break tackles. Eric Saubert (253 lbs) has the most of the TE group with two. Albert Okweugbunam (258 lbs) has one and Noah Fant (250 lbs) has zero so far this season.
It would seem that this is a scheme thing since all three of our tight ends are large enough to be able to break tackles. It could be that Pat Shurmur is not calling routes for them where they are in good situations to break tackles (such as when they are trying to be tackled by much smaller defenders like 190 lb CBs). SIS datahub has average depth of target for all three of our TEs and the numbers are quite small Fant (5.5 yds), Albert O. (4.6 yds) and Saubert (3.8 yds). This might be a function of Shurmur not wanting to use either Albert O. or Fant on deep routes, or it could be that neither has shown much ability to catch intermediate and or deep passes so far this season. I can only remember two or three deeper balls to TEs this season and none of them were caught.
NFL nextgen stats is maddeningly hit-or-miss on graphs, but they do have three of Fant’s route charts for games this season. In those three games, I count a grand total of four routes where Fant is running up the field and not towards the sideline or parallel to the LOS. Looking at 2020, it looks like we used Fant much more on verticals routes last season than we have so far this year. That seems like a poor use of a TE who has very good straight-line speed, but lacks quickness and generally can’t break tackles. Fant has played in 42 NFL games and has a total of seven broken tackles in his NFL career on 154 career touches. Remember that Pookie has 27 on 173 at this point in his career. For comparison Dallas Goedert and Travis Kelce both have eight broken tackles this season and Gerald Everett has seven this season.
It would appear that in 2020 we used all of our TEs on deeper routes. Fant had an average depth of target of 7.0 yards last season, Fumagalli - 7.4 yards and Albert O. 9.3 yards. The only TEs ran short routes in general for us last season were Nick Vannett (5.0 yards) and Jake Butt (3.5 yds but on two catches total for year). I don’t know how much of this is Shurmur and how much of this is Teddy Bridgewater.
Staying with the them of missed/broken tackles, the Bronco defense is currently the best in the league at NOT missing tackles. The Bronco defense has only missed 55 tackles so far this season in twelve games. Our 4.6 missed tackles per game is the best in the league. The Patriots defense is second at 4.9 and the Jaguar defense is worst at 8.1.
While the defense has been good at tackling, we have been getting worse at generating pressure on the QB. The Bronco D currently ranks eighth in pressure rate - getting pressure on 26.7 percent of opponent’s dropbacks, but our ranking was much closer to the top of the league earlier in the season. On Sunday vs the Chiefs, the Broncos had one sack and three QB hits. While the defense did hold Patrick Mahomes to his worst QB rating against us since his rookie year (first start ever), much of that can be attributed to the Chief receivers dropping a host of passes on Sunday night.
In general the Bronco receivers have been good at catching catchable passes. According to PFR, Bronco receivers have the third lowest drop rate in the league at 2.7 percent behind the Packers (2.2 percent) and the Seahawks (2.5 percent). As of right now, Kansas City has the worst drop rate in the league at 6.3 percent (tied with the Panthers).
One thing that our defense has done poorly so far this year is stopping opposing offenses on third down. Right now the Broncos rank 29th in third down conversion percentage allowed. We are allowing opposing offenses to convert on 43.9 percent of their third down tries. Only the Falcons (48.3), Chargers (49.0) and WFT (50.0) have been worse this year. League average right now is 39.7 percent allowed. Without improvement this would be the worse third down conversion rate that a Bronco defense has allowed since 2008 when we allowed a 44.1 percent conversion rate on third downs.