|Lloyd Cushenberry III||C||74||100%|
The offensive line remained healthy for this game. Not that it helped since we had a mind-boggling nine three-and-out drives. Calvin Anderson actually get his first offensive snap of the year on the TD run when we used him as a goal line TE. It’s been a few years since we used six offensive linemen on plays. I am always a fan of that strategy.
The ten punts by the Denver Broncos were the second most ever for a Broncos regular season game. The most was twelve which happened in 1968 in a 10-7 win over the Bengals and again in 1981 in a 7-9 loss to the Bills. The Broncos actually punted eleven times fairly recently in our 2016 win over the Jaguars. That game was one of Paxton Lynch’s four career starts. The offense was not good in that game and our defense had to win the game for us. Sound familiar? In that 20-10 win, the offense had one good drive. That also should sound familiar.
This century the Broncos have 868 three-and-out drives meaning that we averaged about 42 per season (not counting the 2022 season since it hasn’t been added to the drive database yet). To get nine in one game is rather crazy. I looked at the last 500 of them (going back to 2010) to see what the recent Bronco record is for three-and-outs in a game. The highest value recently was eight on December 4th, 2016, which was that previously mentioned win over the Jaguars. Russell Wilson’s offense in 2022 had a game where it reached a level of ineptitude not seen since Paxton Lynch was “leading” the offense in 2016. Things can only improve from here.
Back to the snap counts.
Because of his poor play in the previous game, Albert Okweugbunam actually get the least snaps of the TE group with 24. Andrew Beck got 27 and the Eric’s both got 35. Albert got two targets and one catch. Saubert was targeted once. The other two TEs did not get a target.
The running back group had Javonte Williams with 33, Melvin Gordon with 28 and Mike Boone with 14 snaps. Gordon’s two fumbles give him eleven now as a Bronco on roughly 500 touches. Those are numbers that you might expect from a QB who has trouble holding onto the ball, but usually if you are that fumble-prone as a running back you ride the pine. Gordon is the only non-QB on the fumble leader-board which is currently “headed” by Matt Ryan who has seven already in three games.
The wide receivers group had Courtland Sutton with 64, Jerry Jeudy with 44, Kendall Hinton with 32, KJ Hamler with 19 and Montrell Washington with 14 snaps. Sutton got eight targets. The rest of the WRs combined for three.
|Patrick Surtain II||CB||56||100%|
The defensive line was quite good in this game despite losing DJ Jones after only 13 snaps. Mike Purcell had a monster game in his 29 snaps. DeShawn Williams had 32. Dre’Mont Jones had 47. Jonathan Harris had 23 and Matt Henningsen had 5. We only played 56 defensive snaps so, as was pointed out by the announcers, we used plenty of heavy (four DL instead of our normal three) fronts to slow down the 49ers run game. The guys just mentioned combined to play 149 defensive snaps.
The OLBs had Bradley Chubb playing 44, Randy Gregory 40, Baron Browning 19 and Nik Bonitto 9. Aaron Patrick played no defensive snaps, but made a really nice tackle on kickoff coverage.
The ILBs had Josey Jewell playing all but three defensive snaps and Jonas Griffith acting as the “two-down” ILB playing 33. Justin Strnad and Alex Singleton both played zero defensive snaps but Singleton was a beast on punt coverage.
The safeties had Kareem Jackson playing every defensive snap and Caden Sterns only coming off the field for three. P.J. Locke played a total of 10.
The CB group had Patrick Surtain II playing every snap (as he should) along with Ronald Darby. K’Waun Williams got 36 snaps against his old team while Essang Bassey played two. Damarri Mathis did not play any defensive snaps.
The core special teams guys (not K, P or LS) were P.J. Locke, Eric Saubert, Andrew Beck, Justin Strnad, Aaron Patrick, Essang Bassey and Alex Singleton. All played on 22 or more special teams snaps - ten of which were punts.
I thought our punt coverage was quite good in this game, but we did allow five returns for 40 yards (8.0 yards on average) including one for 18. Our kickoff and punt teams did a really nice job of forcing the 49ers to play in the shadow of their own goalpost. They started drives on their 10, 19, 15, 3, 11, 2, 13 and 15. None of these drives ended in points for the 49ers (one ended in points for the Broncos - they one that started on the 2). The 49ers only had two drives that started beyond their 25.