For the first time this season, the Denver Broncos scored 28 points. This was only the 26th time since the start of the 2014 season that the Broncos have scored 28 or more in a regular season game. Unfortunately in the same game where they scored a season high in points they also allowed a season high in points and spotted the Chiefs a 27 point lead.
To drive the point home, the 2013 Broncos scored 28 or more in 14 of 16 regular season games. 2015 to now the Broncos have 16 total regular season games where they have scored 28 or more. To put it another way, in 2014 the Broncos finished the regular season as the second best scoring offense and scored 28 or more 63% of the time that season. Since that season the Broncos have played 126 regular season games and scored 28 or more 16 times in those games (13%).
For this season the Broncos have scored 194 points in 13 games - 14.9 ppg. The Colts are the second worst at 209. If Colts score their average (16.1) in their remaining four games, they will finish the season with 273 points. The Broncos would need to score 80 points in the final four games to NOT finish dead last in scoring in that scenario.
If the offense plays like it did after the first quarter of last game, scoring 20 ppg is not out of the question in the final four games. However, it looks like we might have Brett Rypien starting against the Cardinals. In Rypien’s previous start this season, the Bronco offense managed a meager nine points. Rypien now has twice as many interceptions as TD throws in his career.
Because of the injury to Dalton Risner, Luke Wattenberg got start at LG which was his first NFL start. He played 27 snaps which was the first five Bronco series. The offense was terrible in those 27 plays gained 65 yards and accounting for negative seven points (pick six) in those five drives.
Wattenberg was terrible and was replaced by Quinn Bailey (18 snaps) who normally plays offensive tackle and then Bailey was replaced by Netane Muti who (28 snaps). In the 46 plays where Bailey or Muti were in at LG, the Broncos scored 28 points and gained 255 yards. The Bronco offense actually scored touchdowns on three straight drives which was the first time that the Bronco offense had done that since December of 2020 against the Chargers.
One of Bailey’s 18 offensive snaps was a snap where we used him as the 6th offensive lineman on the goal-line. On that incomplete pass on first and goal from the 2, we had Bailey in at TE and Mike Purcell in at FB (more on this later).
The only game-day active offensive lineman who didn’t appear in the game was Tom Compton, which is odd since he actually has game experience at guard in the NFL whereas Bailey does not. If there was no plan to play Compton, why make him game-day active? Compton was only game-day active player who did not appear in the game at all. The defensive guys who got zero defensive snaps all played on special teams.
Additionally the Bronco offense scored touchdowns on four of their eight final drives which was a level of efficiency that we haven’t since from our offense since 2014 when we were scoring 28 or more on a regular basis.
I can’t say specifically that the OL of Anderson-Muti(Bailey)-Glasgow-Meinerz-Fleming was directly responsible for the increased Bronco offensive output, but the correlation is pretty strong. We shall see what happens next game when we might see the 33rd different starting 5 on the Bronco offensive line since the end of the 2017 season.
The Denver Broncos have had 32 different groups of 5 offensive linemen start over the last 78 regular season games (since 2018 inclusive). Longest stretch for the same group was 7 games in 2018. No idea how that compares to rest of NFL, but I'm guessing it's pretty high. pic.twitter.com/xRbD9zMgKT— Joe Mahoney (@ndjomo76) December 12, 2022
Stability on the offensive line is critical because familiarity with the guy or guys who play next to you in essential to handling stunts in pass pro. The Broncos have had very little stability on the OL for quite some time even with Garett Bolles and Risner being stalwarts over the past four seasons. 2016 is the last season in which the Broncos had four offensive lineman start 16 games and 2011 is the last season where we had all five do so.
The Broncos will have zero offensive line guys start every regular season game this season. Risner was the last hope for that.
|Season||BRONCO OL STARTING EVERY RS GM||OL with 14 GS or more||OL Stability Score|
This will be the first time this century that the Broncos have not had a single offensive lineman start every regular season game. The last time it happened was 1987 when Dave Studdard started 14 of 15 regular season games for the Broncos. Yes, you read that correctly. There were only 15 regular season games in the 1987 season because of the strike.
We finally saw Albert Okwuegbunam on offense again this year. He played two whole snaps, which begs the question - why was he game-day active. He did not play on special teams at all.
Greg Dulcich got the majority of the TE snaps with 54. The Erics got 23 and 19 this game with Tomlinson getting the slight edge this game. Tomlinson false started and cost Mike Purcell his first NFL touchdown as the Broncos decided to use on one play as a goal-line FB. Purcell broke a tackle and scored on the play, but Tomlinson committed another pre-snap offensive penalty. With 42 pre-snap penalties the Broncos lead the league and have almost four times as many as the Chiefs who have 12.
Latavius Murray, Marlon Mack and Mike Boone played 38, 23 and 11 snaps at RB. Marlon Mack’s catch and run was one of the few offensive highlights of the season for the Broncos. It has been rare for a player on the Broncos offense to have a play where the create something out of relatively nothing.
Big plays gain 20 or more yards. The Broncos have 43 in 13 games this year which is tied for 22nd. The Chiefs have 65 to lead the league. The Giants have the least with 33. The Broncos are actually near the lead in plays that gained 40 or more this season with 10, but have zero games this season with more than one.
The injury-riddled WR group saw Kendall Hinton play 62 offensive snaps before he left with a hamstring injury. Jerry Jeudy (60) and Brandon Johnson (53) filled the roles of WR2 and WR3 this game. Jalen Virgil played nine and Montrell Washington played four snaps on offense. For the first time in a long time, Trell did not touch the ball on one of his handful of snaps on offense.
Trell did contribute on special teams though with his best KOR of the season (29 yards) and one of his best punt returns of the season (21 yards) during this game. On that punt, Washington caught the ball on the 6 yard line (which generally is a no-no - punt returners are supposed to let those bounce in the hopes that they go for touchbacks). Trell’s 21 yard return allowed the Broncos to start the drive at the 27 instead of the six or worse if the KC punt coverage team was able to down that inside the five.
Even with Trell’s 29 yard KOR, the Broncos are still averaging a league worst 16.8 yards per KOR. The Colts are getting a league best 27.2.
|Patrick Surtain II||CB||68||100%|
Our five ironmen again played every defensive snap: Kareem Jackson, Patrick Surtain, Justin Simmons Damari Mathis and Josey Jewell. Jewell played his best NFL game with ten tackles (9 solo) and two interceptions. Alex Singleton played 59 defensive snaps at the other ILB spot.
On the defensive line Dre’Mont Jones, Mike Purcell, DeShawn Williams, Jonathan Harris, DJ Jones and Matt Henningsen played 55, 36, 32, 21, 16 and 7 snaps. Because of injury, this was only the second time this season where he has failed to play 20 or more defensive snaps. This is also only the second time this season where he didn’t get a tackle. The other was the 49er game.
At OLB Baron Browning, Jonathan Cooper, Nik Bonitto and Jacob Martin played 45, 37, 28 and 21 snaps.
K’Waun Williams was back at nickel CB and played 47 snaps. We had zero plays where was used 4 CBs this game. The only other DB to play any defensive snaps was PJ Locke with four.
The game-day inactives were: CB Michael Ojemudia, WR Courtland Sutton, LB Dakota Allen, G Dalton Risner, DL Edward Garcia, FB/TE Andrew Beck, DL Eyioma Uwazurike.