Denver Broncos head coach John Fox is not known as an overly aggressive coach or play caller by any means. In fact, he’s known for being the exact opposite, meaning overly conservative and at times sticking to a very vanilla and frustrating plan.
But, you’ve got to give the man credit. There were rumors in the pre-season about the Broncos going for it a lot more in fourth down situations because of the caliber of the offense they possess. Not to short-change other teams, but Denver’s offense this year is clearly the best in the league, quite possibly the best the league has ever seen. John Fox knows that as well as anyone, so it’s no surprise he’s given the green light to Peyton Manning and company when they feel good about going for it on fourth down.
Despite having one of the highest third down conversion rates in the league, the Broncos also have gone for it on fourth down seven times this season, and they’ve converted all seven. A couple of times, their fourth down conversions have been in goal-to-go situations, and they’ve been able to put seven points on the board rather than just three.
That’s a huge difference even early on in games, and it gives the Broncos a big advantage. Being able to keep your offense on the field and know that you have a better than decent chance of converting in fourth down situations is critical, and a weapon that not many teams have.
The Broncos paid Britton Colquitt a lot of money to stick around after he proved a valuable special teams weapon for them, but aside from his duties as the holder on field goals and extra points, he hasn’t seen the field much. So far this season, he’s punted just 52 times compared to 71 punts for opponents, only 20 of which have been returned.
For those keeping track at home, in 13 games, that’s an average of just four punts per game. There have been times also when Colquitt hasn’t punted in a game, or has gone a stretch with just a couple of punts over the course of two or three games.
This Broncos offense is uncommon, but you have to dig into the numbers sometimes to appreciate really how good it is or can be. The Broncos played arguably their most complete game (offensively) on Sunday against the Titans, even in the frigid conditions, which has to have fans giddy about what could come in the playoffs if the trains have to roll through Denver.