Unlike in 2011, 2012 Broncos gashed on third and long Lard

Good Morning, Broncos fans! Mistakes and a difficult schedule have often been cited as the main culprits in Denver's three losses.

But let's not forget about the factor of luck, specifically when it comes to fumbles.

As mentioned by Andrew Mason, the team has had the remarkable misfortune of having lost all seven of its offensive fumbles - three by Demaryius Thomas, two by Willis McGahee, and one each by Peyton Manning and Knowshon Moreno.

For clarity's sake, Thomas's first fumble was on the game-ending hook-and-lateral play against Houston, and of course, Knowshon's fumble was clearly recovered by Eric Decker before the scab refs did their thing. From our vantage that's really six offensive fumbles and what should be one own recovery.

Even with those tweaks, the Broncos have been unlucky - but not quite as unfortunate as Mason's 47.82% defensive recovery figure suggests.

You may recall Chase Stuart's excellent breakdown of offensive fumbles and recovery rates from two Mondays ago; if not, be sure to read it through. Through twelve years of data, Stuart found that defense recovered 62.1% of fumbles on non-QB runs, and 60% of post-reception fumbles.

All of Denver's fumbles, save for Manning's on Sunday, have been of those two varieties.

Mason's figures would suggest the Broncos should have gotten back three or four of them, but we'll say the Broncos haven't been as unlucky as that. Had everything played to the odds as laid out by Stuart, Denver should have recovered two of its five RB/WR fumbles. We'll blame the scabs for one, and luck for the other.

Now, if the Broncos had recovered either Thomas's or McGahee's fumble on Sunday, who knows how the game would have played out?

But before anyone starts blaming Lady Luck for the Broncos' 2-3 record, don't forget that Peyton could easily have more than the three interceptions he's been charged with, what with opposing defenders dropping catchable picks in almost every game thus far.

Broncos

Several opposing players have told Mike Freeman that Manning's arm strength isn't what they remember it to be, and we're back to percentage estimations. Add Freeman to those who have forgotten that Peyton has always thrown wobbly balls.

At least Demaryius is actively trying to stop his fumbling problem.

John Elway says he was most disappointed Sunday by the defense's inability to get off the field on third and long.

Participation data from Sunday shows just five snaps for Ronnie Hillman, but nine for Lance Ball; Von Miller saw 64 snaps during his devastating performance, while Joe Mays was on the field for 88 plays.

Jeff Legwold goes over the third-down carnage, finding that Denver has allowed conversions on a staggering number of third-and-long plays so far this season (Legwold says the number is 18, but the NFL says it's 17), putting them on pace to allow 54 conversions. The 2011 Broncos allowed only 33 such conversions during the regular season.

Mike Klis agrees that the Broncos likely don't have to fear future opponents moving at the frenetic pace the Patriots pulled off on Sunday, but he can't see the Broncos sweeping the trio of New Orleans, Cincinnati, and Carolina. Why in the world not?

Denver released WR Bert Reed from the practice squad, replacing him with S Blake Gideon; here's Gideon's Longhorns profile, plus pre-draft reports from CBS and NFL Draft Scout.

The judge in D.J. Williams's DWAI case delayed sentencing, which could land the linebacker some jail time or in-home detention.

Congratulations go out to Steve Atwater, who will be inducted to the Colorado Sports HOF in April.

Sam DeWitt has some choice words for the Zombies who think the Broncos would be no worse off had they kept Teebs over PMFM, and he offers some much-appreciated love for IAOFM. Right back at you, Sam.

Chargers

Lineman Reggie Wells exited what had become his own personal roster carousel in San Diego by joining the Bills.

Chargers first-round DE Melvin Ingram has had a pair of highly costly personal foul penalties for QB hits this season.

Kevin Acee mourns the disappearance of Philip Rivers's late-game magic and expects the Chargers to drum up some fake drama about a possible blackout of Monday's game, in order to sell more tickets to their Week 9 home game against the Chiefs.

Khaled Elsayed reviews San Diego's loss at New Orleans, and says Jared Gaither had a great game prior to being hobbled for the crucial final play. Also, the Chargers D had trouble tackling Pierre Thomas, and Jeromey Clary struggled; wait til he gets a load of Doom and Von on Monday night.

Trimmings

As expected, the Ginger Hammer has reinstated his punishments of the current and former Saints implicated in the bounty scandal, although he cut Scott Fujita's ban from three games to one, and Anthony Hargrove's from eight to seven. Here are the official statements as released by the NFL and by the lawyer for Jonathan Vilma, whose one-year ban was not reduced.

Kubes & Co. have indeed lost LB Brian Cushing for the season with a torn ACL; Indy signed NT Antonio Dixon, waived CB Justin King, and made several practice squad moves; Tampa Bay placed CB Anthony Gaitor on IR with the designation for a later return; Washington dumped K Billy Cundiff and replaced him with Kai Forbath.

Scrapple

Mike Tanier says Denver's defense needs to get out of Peyton's way, and he rails against the citation of quarterbacks' won-lost records.

Chris Brown and Matt Bowen study Drew Brees's record-setting TD pass from Sunday night.

Mike Lombardi thinks the Packers offense needs to evolve as the Patriots' has, and he sees a Denver defense still requiring more help at defensive tackle.

Bucky Brooks hits up the All-22 to find out how the Niners offense has become so prolific this season.

Khaled Elsayed presents PFF's best (Von Miller) and worst players from Week 5.

Scott Kacsmar revisits the week's successful and failed comeback attempts, and he thinks Peyton Manning will surpass Dan Marino for most comebacks on MNF.

Jason Cole says that although Bill Parcells has advised his mentees Scott Pioli and Jeff Ireland to be media-snubbing jerks, the Tuna himself had a much better relationship with the press during his own coaching days.

Offal

Christmas Ape recaps Texans/Jets and the best/worst of Week 5, 

Pro Football Mock follows up with another fake Facebook conversation featuring Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and other QBs. (h/t sadaraine)

One of PK's readers suggests that Jay Cutler's Diabetes may be partly responsible for his being such a dick.

Remember how Teebs, in typical Teebs fashion, noted that Monday was the 666th MNF game? The aftermath is that Mark Sanchez has a 66.6 QB rating, along with plenty of other sixes in his season's statistical line.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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