The Stats That Don’t Lie - Week 4

There’ll be time enough for countin’, when the dealin’s done. —Vince Lombardi

Even though we’ve already reached the quarter point of the football season, it’s important to remember one thing:

We’ve still got three quarters to go.

That means, like in any game, there’s still time to make a run.  The same is true for your division opponents (sans Oakland).

So do yourself a favor and don’t get too married to the following stats after only four weeks.  Yes, the numbers will show exactly what you’ve been thinking—that the Broncos can’t run, but they sure can pass.  But a lot of this can change in just a few weeks.

Some might even say that football stats are like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re going to get.  But I prefer to think of NFL stats from week to week more like a night on the town with Nick Nolte.  Not only do you not know what you are getting, you likely won’t know where you’re waking up on Sunday morning.

With that let’s get right to our stats, which have never tested positive for a banned substance after ingesting tainted meat.

Broncos Offense - Through Week 4

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 394.5 5.5 55 2.18 339.5 7.76 1.71% 6.29%
NFL 329.7 5.28 110 4.1 219.7 6.57 3.04% 6.39%
Differences 64.8 0.22 -55 -1.92 119.8 1.19 -1.33% -0.10%
Team First Downs / Game Punt Return Avg Kickoff Return Avg 3rd Down Pct 4th Down Pct Red Zone Pct Goal to Go% Avg Time of Possession
DEN 22.3 8.3 27.1 41.67% 37.50% 35.00% 75.00% 33:17:00
NFL 18.7 8.9 23.4 38.41% 45.38% 49.58% 69.94% 30:00:00
Differences 3.6 -0.6 3.7 3.26% -7.88% -14.58% 5.06% 10.94%

Here are the things that stand out for me when looking at the summary of these numbers:

1) The Broncos are way below the league average when running and way above the league average when passing.  But you already knew this.
2) Given the amount of attempts Kyle Orton has on the year (175), his interception rate is significantly lower (1.71%) than the league average.  As if you need yet another reason to dig this guy.
3) Although you are hearing this week how terrible the offensive line is in pass protection, do not buy into the hype.  They are actually right at the league average in sacks/attempts of 6.39%.  The Broncos give up a sack on 6.29% of their passing attempts.  Just for your amusement, I would tell you that the Chicago Bears give up a sack on 15.39% of their attempts.  So, tell me, Kyle Orton, which offensive line would you like to be playing behind?
4) The Broncos’ punt-return game is average.
5) Demaryius Thomas makes the Broncos’ kick-return game above average.  You can see the results already from these numbers.
6) Despite the sub-par game Sunday, Denver’s percentage on 3rd downs overall is above 40%, which is exactly where it needs to be.  It’s early though, and the sample size isn’t nearly as big as it needs to be to properly evaluate.  Individual games still tend to skew numbers at this point in the year.
7) The red zone continues to be a weakness.  But you already knew this.

 

Broncos Defense - Through 4 Weeks

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 322.8 5.64 101 4.12 221.8 6.98 2.36% 3.15%
NFL 329.7 5.28 110 4.1 219.7 6.57 3.04% 6.39%
Differences -6.9 0.36 -9 0.02 2.1 0.41 -0.68% -3.24%
Team First Downs / Game Punt Return Avg Kickoff Return Avg 3rd Down Pct 4th Down Pct Red Zone Pct Goal to Go%
DEN 16.5 15.1 29.4 40.43% 50.00% 62.50% 50.00%
NFL 18.7 8.9 23.4 38.41% 45.38% 49.58% 69.94%
Differences -2.2 6.2 6 2.02% 4.62% 12.92% -19.94%

On the defensive side of the ball, here is what these numbers are telling me:

1) In almost all of these running and passing categories, the Broncos’ defense is about on par with the league average.  I’m not complaining.
2) They are below average when it comes to sacks/attempt.  Given Wink Martindale’s scheme thus far (not blitzing) and the injury to Elvis Dumervil, this was probably to be expected.
3) The Broncos’ kick coverage and punt coverage units have a long way to go to approach respectability.  When you are giving up double the average yards-per-return on punts, someone needs some flogging.
4) Lost in all the talk of the Broncos’ offensive woes inside the 20-yard line is the poor performance of the Broncos defense in the red zone. 

 

Turnovers

TAKEAWAYS      
  Interceptions Fumbles Total Takeaways
Denver 3 3 6
NFL Avg. 3.88 2.91 6.78
       
GIVEAWAYS      
  Interceptions Fumbles Total Turnovers
Denver 3 2 5
NFL Avg. 3.88 2.91 6.78

We don’t need to spend too much time on the turnover statistic, other than to say that through four weeks,the Broncos have kept things on an even course.  They are currently sitting at +1 with respect to turnover differential.  In a league in which turnovers matter so much, on one hand, Broncos fans should feel fortunate.  On the other, they need to pray like hell that Wink Martindale brings more pressure as the season progresses. 

 

A Non-Traditional Stat That Hits You Like a Groin Punch from Mike Tyson Before He Bit That Guy’s Ear Off and Ate Your Children

According to Brian Burke at Advanced NFL Stats, the Broncos are averaging 0.04 Expected Points per play. 

Why is this important?  Because there are 12 teams in the league with a higher EP-Average/Play (New England, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, Jets, San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas, Washington, and Tennessee).

So, while it’s easy to fall in love with Orton and this passing offense right now, remember that when it comes to maximizing points, the Broncos are not where they need to be.

Feel free to thrown down your thoughts on this week’s stats, Mike Tyson, and of course, your favorite night-on-the-town-story about Nick Nolte.  We all have them.

I’m glad we had this talk.  Now, vaya con Dios, Brah.

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Stats That Don't Lie

2014 Offseason

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