Another game - another pile of poop by the offense - another mostly strong effort by the defense - another close loss.
The Denver Broncos have allowed 204 points and have scored 166. You can see how that compares to other Bronco teams after 12 games, but this team can’t score enough to play anything but close games. Seven of our nine losses have ended as one score games. The other losses have been by:
- 1 (missed 63-yd FG at end)
- 3 (OT)
- 3 (OT)
- 6 (OT)
- 1 (missed 63-yd FG at end)
Those seven losses were decided by a total of 21 points - or 3 points per game.
The NFL is a game of very slim advantages where a few inches can literally decide a game. It’s crazy to think how close this team is to being 10-2 which would have masked many of the problems that have been manifest during this most recent four-game losing streak (the second of the year).
So we have another game where the entire offensive line made it through without missing snaps to injury. This has not been the norm for Denver this season.
While we didn’t use any 6OL formations (and I really think we should), we did use a heavy dose of 2-TE or 3-TE sets. Greg Dulcich, and the Eric’s combined to play 91 offensive snaps. The Broncos ran 53 offensive plays. Dulcich played the majority of the snaps and he was really the focal point of the offense with eight targets and six catches.
Again the Broncos misused Montrell Washington. He played 8 offensive snaps being targeted on one long pass (that was overthrown) and carrying the ball on the other. His limited snaps means that when he is in the game on offense defenses are ready and prepared for him to run the ball (or maybe we just can’t do anything right on offense). For a large part of the season Trell had the teams longest run from scrimmage (a 19 yard jet sweep vs the Texans), but his last three carries have gained a total of two yards. He has been targeted nine times catching four for 2 yards. So on nine touches from scrimmage Trell has 32 yards, but almost two thirds of that came on one play in the second game of the season. Since his 19 yard run he has eight touches for thirteen yards.
His play is a microcosm of the Bronco season. Trell is trying to fill that role on offense that KJ Hamler was supposed to fill, but Trell does not have the elusiveness that KJ does (or at least he has not shown it much in the NFL yet). Most NFL coaches move on from a concept when it has proven to ineffective over a period of multiple games, but the Denver offensive coaches continue to put Trell in for 5-8 offensive snaps and give him the ball on one of those (sometimes none of those). Maybe using him as a decoy has worked (I could dig into this if anyone is interested), but it doesn’t appear that way to me since our offense appears to have no answers when we need a play to gain X yards on 3rd down.
Courtland Sutton only played 23 snaps while Jerry Jeudy only played 20. For all intents and purposes, Kendall Hinton was our WR1 in this game. I love Hinton, but he has no business at WR1 or QB1 in an NFL offense. Brandon Johnson had the second most snaps at WR with 25. When your first, second and fifth round drafted WRs combine for 51 snaps while your undrafted WRs combined for 70 it usually doesn’t bode well for your offense (unless that undrafted WR is Rod Smith in his prime). Jalen Virgil got four snaps as the other undrafted WR.
Latavius Murray got the most RB snaps with 36 while Mike Boone and Marlon Mack combined for 17. Boone and Mack combined to get 10 touches on offense which generated 35 yards. Murray had 21 touches for 61 yards but his longest play gained 7.
Latavius Murray, who has been with the team for about two months, is now the focus of the Bronco offense. The aging bruiser (he’s 32) who doesn’t fumble, now leads the team in carries (93) and rushing yards (348) while being fifth on the team in catches despite only playing seven games for the Broncos so far this year.
In terms of position players on offense only 64 of the Broncos 272 total yards on offense were generated by a player (other than Russell Wilson) who was active for the Broncos in the first game of the season. The rest of the offensive yards came from guys who were on the IR, PUP, PS or another team during the first week of the season. In fact only about half of the Broncos offensive snaps last game came from players who played in the first game of the season (275 of 583).
It should surprise no one that the Broncos are one of the worst teams in the league at converting on 3rd and short (1 to 3 yards needed). The Broncos have converted on only 23 of 48 which is 30th (47.9%). Only the Raiders (47.2%) and the Jets (42.9%) have been worse. The Rams are converting on 71.7% of their 3rd and short plays to lead the league.
Oddly enough the game against the Panthers was one of the Broncos better showings on 3rd and short this season. They converted on three of six, but one of those was the terrible run for minus three on 3rd and 2 from CAR 6 where none of the Bronco blockers won at the point of attack. If you want to watch a vomit-inducing analysis of that play, JT O’Sullivan does a really thorough job of showing how almost every Bronco player fails to do their job on that critical play during his analysis of the game.
The success was short-lived though as the Bronco offense returned to form against the Ravens converting on only one of three 3rd and short plays.
For the first time in about a month, the Bronco pass rush was effective on Sunday against both Lamar Jackson and Tyrone Huntley. After three weeks of almost no pressure on the opposing QB, the Broncos defense had 5 QBhits and 4 sacks. Unfortunately they were not able to get a critical stop on the Ravens’ final drive, but, frankly they shouldn’t be expected to hold the opposing team to three points in order to win the game.
|Patrick Surtain II||CB||72||100%|
Our five regulars played every defensive snap again - Josey Jewell, Damarri Mathis, Patrick Surtain, Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson. Alex Singleton played 88 percent of the snaps at the other ILB spot meaning that we had two ILBs on the field for the vast majority of the game. I suspect that we kept one ILB in to spy on the QB even on obvious passing downs.
On the DL Dre’Mont Jones, Deshawn Williams, DJ Jones, Mike Purcell, Eyioma Uwazurike and Matt Henningsen played 60, 41, 40, 18, 17 and 9 snaps respectively.
Our OLBs saw Baron Browning, Jacob Martin and Jonathan Cooper play 50, 43 and 42 snaps. Because of poor play against the Panthers where he was repeated whipped in the run game, Nik Bonitto played only one snap on defense against the Baltimore Ravens.
Our CB3 for the game was Essang Bassey. No other CB got defensive snaps.
PJ Locke played 6 snaps when we went heavy nickel.
Players who played special teams but no offensive or defensive snaps were Justin Strnad, Harvey Langi, Delarrin Turner-Yell, Darius Phillips, Faion Hicks (in his first NFL regular season action) and Quinn Bailey.