Peyton Manning has been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his Week 6 performance against the Chargers.
It's the 22nd time Manning has won the award, and the first time a Bronco has been chosen for it since Brandon Marshall in Week 13 of the 2009 season. Peyton completed 24 of 30 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns, but threw one interception that came back for a score.
As could be expected, all of the talk today is about how remarkable the Broncos' comeback was. But, how good are the Broncos overall?
How does tops in the league sound?
Yeah, that seems like a bit much to us, but the two teams that had been ahead of Denver in Brian Burke's efficiency rankings (San Francisco and Houston) both got waxed at home in Week 6, by a combined score of 68-27.
Whatever anyone wants to say about Norv Turner and Philip Rivers, and historically rare circumstances aside, the Broncos still went on the road and beat their primary division threat by eleven points.
Welcome to the Week 6 edition of the Stats That Don't Lie. So far, we've been tracking the Broncos' ranking via the metrics of Brian Burke's efficiency ratings and PFR's Simple Rating System (SRS).
Starting today, we'll add in PFF's grading system, so that we're accounting for what the tape says as well.
As we expected, Sunday's loss at New England did little to harm Denver's standing relative to the ANS and PFR metrics.
Jason Whitlock raised eyebrows two weeks ago when he wrote the following about Peyton Manning:
Manning can't throw the ball accurately or with zip more than 20 yards. Manning is toast.
It was a lethargic takeaway from Peyton's three-interception debacle against the Falcons, and while Ted thinks the picks were a matter of poor decision-making rather than an issue of arm strength, Whitlock was certainly entitled to his opinion there.
Granted, the numbers through four weeks (small sample alert) don't exactly back up Whitlock's assertion that Peyton is inaccurate beyond 20 yards. According to PFF, Denver's QB ranks twelfth in the league in terms of accuracy on throws beyond twenty yards. At 46.7 percent, he's just a tick behind Tom Brady in that category, while placing slightly ahead of his brother (44.4%), Jay Cutler (43.5%), Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger (42.9% each), and far better than the strong-armed Joe Flacco (39.4%) and Matthew Stafford (38.5%).
A week ago, we found the advanced metrics to say the 2012 Broncos were a far better team than their 1-2 record might have indicated.
After a brutal start to the schedule which featured the Steelers, Falcons, and Texans (the latter two remain undefeated), having the rebuilding Raiders into SAF@MH for a visit portended two things:
First, it was something of a breather, traditional rivalry notwithstanding. If everything were to play to form, the Broncos were due to finally whip their AFCW brethren at home.
Second, the strength of schedule figures were sure to take a hit this week. Indeed, they have.
Now that we're three weeks into the season, stats and metrics can begin to have at least some meaning.
But as noted in the title, it's still rather early - so take these rankings with a grain of salt.
Brian Burke's efficiency rankings - which consider passing, running, turnovers, penalties, and strength of schedule - have Denver as the third-most efficient team in the league (sixth in offense, third in defense), behind the Texans and Eagles.
From Nathan Jahnke of Pro Football Focus earlier today:
In 2011 Elvis Dumervil went eight straight games with a sack late in the season. While he doesn’t have a sack yet this year, he has 13 overall pressures which ties him for the most among defensive linemen.
Pressures, schmessures. What every fan wants to see is sacks. There’s something exciting about seeing an edge rusher taking on a player who might outweigh him by 50 lb. and still flash by him, to, and through the quarterback. They’re the Holy Grail for the weekend watchers, a stat you can reel off and feel like you’re talking sense. And, no one can argue that sacks aren’t a great way to create negative yardage for the offense.
The sack is big news.
Elvis Dumervil doesn’t have one this year, and fans are getting antsy. Talk is increasing about how Doom isn’t having the same impact this season; how he’s been soundly beaten by offensive left tackles Sam Baker and Max Starks. With Jason Hunter out for the year and the DL having to try different options to get the pressure that the John Fox/Jack Del Rio scheme calls for, is Doom unfit for his role with the team?
Neat little trick from Jeff Legwold today. He came up with a premise that the Broncos have given up too many big plays of late, and his column was titled thusly:
Broncos defense prone to yielding "explosive plays" in recent years
In classic Legwoldian, he writes that "most teams" consider 10-yard rushes and 20-yard completions to be "explosive plays." Not sure if he polled the league's coaches, or what, for that one.
By now you're all really tired of reading/hearing how bad Tim Tebow was on Sunday and has been for the past few weeks. So, let's just get to the numbers. They speak for themselves.
Last week, Tim ranked 25th in ANY/T and was tied for 32nd in NY/T with Matt Cassel - out of the top 40 quarterbacks in terms of pass attempts. What did his 30-touch, 66-yard, two turnover performance against the Chiefs do to his rankings?
By now, you know what's at stake. Seven weeks ago, the Broncos went into KC and came out victorious despite the fact that Tim Tebow completed just two of his eight pass attempts. Denver reeled off 244 rushing yards that day, the bulk of them provided by Lance Ball, Tebow and Knowshon Moreno. Neither team committed a turnover, and they combined for just 193 net passing yards. Overall, it was a snoozefest. Nine days later, Denver released Kyle Orton.
Tomorrow will be anything but boring - even if it's three hours of three-and-outs. After all, the AFC West is on the line, and as much as the two teams are trying to downplay it, the game really is Tim versus Kyle. About the only way this game could have had more drama is if the Chiefs had managed to beat Oakland last week (they were just a blocked FG shy of doing so), thus turning it into a winner-takes-all contest. So, how do the teams match up?