The Stats That Don’t Lie - Week 6: Statistically Overtrained Blogger Syndrome

Last year at this time, the Broncos were 6-0, and all Broncomaniancs felt higher than Brian Cushing on a fertility drug.

A year later, like Cushing, Broncos fans are feeling the crash.

The Broncos are now 2-4.  Tied for 2nd; tied for last. 

Last year the question was whether or not Kyle Orton could throw the deep ball.

Not only have we found out he can throw the deep ball, but he’s almost become addicted to it.

The numbers have changed as well.  Let’s take a look at the stats through Week 6, which never suffer from “Over-trained Athlete’s Syndrome.
 

Denver’s Offense Through Week 6

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 378.3 5.52 67.3 2.68 311 7.55 1.21% 5.26%
NFL 333.4 5.29 112.1 4.16 221.3 6.53 2.99% 6.55%
Differences 44.9 0.23 -44.8 -1.48 89.7 1.02 -1.78% -1.29%
                 
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 21 10.1 27.1 40.66% 33.33% 37.50% 77.78% 31:12:00
NFL 18.9 9.2 23.3 38.46% 45.63% 50.58% 71.54%  
Differences 2.1 0.9 3.8 2.20% -12.30% -13.08% 6.24%  

 

You’ll recall that last year the Broncos were not averaging near the massive amounts of yards that they are so far in the passing game.  They were also worse on 3rd downs.  However, they were better in the red zone and their running game was stronger, although not by a lot. This led to more balance, but also a lack of big plays.  Lastly, this year’s team is doing better on kickoff returns, thanks to Demaryius Thomas.

Which offense would you rather have?  Clearly, I’m picking this year’s version, simply because as a stats guy, I know that passing yards per attempt correlates much more strongly to winning percentage in the NFL than running yards per attempt.  It’s been this way since the 1970s.  In essence, the numbers the Broncos are putting up in the passing game would indicate a higher winning percentage than what we are currently seeing. 

Sometimes those are the breaks.  Expect as the schedule gets easier for these numbers to bear out in Denver’s superior performance—barring injury, of course.
 

Broncos Defense Through 6 Weeks

Team Yards / Game Yards / Play Rushing Yards / Game Rushing Yards / Play Passing Yards / Game Passing Yards / Play Interception Rate Sacks / Pass Attempt
DEN 337.5 5.56 127.7 4.38 209.8 6.92 2.75% 3.85%
NFL 333.4 5.29 112.1 4.16 221.3 6.53 2.99% 6.55%
Differences 4.1 0.27 15.6 0.22 -11.5 0.39 -0.24% -2.70%
                 
Team First Downs / Game Punt Return Avg Kickoff Return Avg 3rd Down Pct 4th Down Pct Red Zone Pct Goal to Go% Points / Game
DEN 18.5 12.5 27.4 42.47% 40.00% 64.29% 71.43% 23.3
NFL 18.9 9.2 23.3 38.46% 45.63% 50.58% 71.54% 20.9
Differences -0.4 3.3 4.1 4.01% -5.63% 13.71% -0.11% 2.4

 

The Broncos’ defensive numbers remain similar to last week’s, despite a decent boost from the running attack.  Denver still ranks last in rushing yards per play at 2.86 yards.  As a point of reference, the Texans, Eagles, and Jets all average right around 5 yards rushing per play.  In other words, in theory, they can generate a ton of first downs through the simple act of running the football

Last year at this time, since the Broncos’ defense was carrying the team, the numbers were much better than we are seeing here—especially those red zone, 3rd-down, and sack numbers. 

So which defense would you want?  It’s a difficult choice, but knowing what you know now about how the defensive line was going to break down over the final 10 games last year, you’d probably take this year’s team—or simply take a flyer on either defense and just beg for a shootout each and every game.  You might also beg for every kick to hit the end zone as well given these kickoff coverage numbers, which are 27th-worst in the NFL.  In fact, the Broncos are ranked in the twenties in almost all of the important defensive categories this year.
 

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

According to the nerds over at Football Outsiders, the Broncos are ranked 5th in the league in yards per drive, but 10th in the league in both points per drive and touchdowns per drive.  In other words, there’s still a giant gap between the Broncos moving the ball and the Broncos actually scoring from all of these yards they are generating.

Or it’s just another way of saying that your red-zone offense needs more Tebow.

Anything I missed when looking at last year’s team versus this year’s team? Throw it into the comments section.  It’s an interesting topic and sure to generate some insight.


If you like to see The Dude slack off 24/7, you can always find him on Facebook and Twitter. Or you can always email him at: tjthedudejohnson@gmail.com

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

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