We delve into the most significant numbers in a recap of the week 1 match-up between the Broncos and Colts.
2- Interceptions by Rahim Moore, and since the offense didn’t turn the ball over, the Broncos are a +2 in turnover margin. A significant number to watch since last year the Broncos were a pedestrian +5 for the season (Seahawks led the league with a +22).
50% – 3rd down success rate vs. the Colts. The Broncos converted 7 of 14 tries against the Colts, which is tick above last year’s number of 46.3% (2nd in the league behind the Chargers). They say you make your money on 3rd down and Peyton certainly earns his in those situations.
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware (94) and defensive end Malik Jackson (97) in the second quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High . Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
3 – Sacks produced by the defense. An average of 3 per game would put them at 48 for the season, a number that would be near the top-5 in the league. The Broncos would certainly like to be a top-5 unit in terms of sacks, but DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller have stated they wish to have more sacks as a duo than one individual team. If that is to happen, they will need to be more productive since as a duo they are on pace for 24 sacks (Jacksonville and Chicago had the league low last year at 31). In order to break the team record of 57 sacks in a season, they will need to average 3.625 sacks per game.
31 – Points by the offense, which is well below last year’s average of 37.9 points per game, but still would have led the league last year (Chicago and New England were 2nd with an average of 27.8ppg). It’s unreasonable to expect the offense to match last year’s record setting year, but it’s a good sign that despite a slow 2nd half against the Colts they were still able to put up over 30 points. This season’s schedule looks significantly harder than last years, so to maintain a 30ppg average would be a job well done.
0- Fumbles by the offense. Fumbling was a fairly big problem for the Broncos last year, as they tied for 3rd in the league with 11 fumbles lost. The coaching staff has attempted to hammer home ball security this offseason and they got the results in the first game (even though Julius Thomas let one loose that Caldwell was fortunate to recover). Indianapolis, Carolina and New Orleans only had 3 lost fumbles all last year, something the Broncos would love to accomplish.
3.2 – Yards per carry for the Broncos rushing offense. The team has talked about taking a more balanced approach against a defensive-heavy schedule this year, but 3.2 yards per carry isn’t a result they will be happy about. The offensive line is retooled and is still a work in progress, and they left a lot to be desired against the Colts as far as run blocking. Montee Ball didn’t have many holes to work with. They have the talent on the line to be a good Run Blocking unit, so I’m still confident they will be much better sooner than later.
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13- Passes Deflected vs. Andrew Luck. That number is 4 more than any other team in week one and a really big number for one game. It would put them on pace for an absurd 208 for the year (last year the Chiefs and Cardinals led the league with 96). That number is not sustainable, but it is a very encouraging number to see with a completely retooled secondary. There were no disappointments in the Defensive Backfield against the Colts, Aqib Talib and Bradley Roby had 3 deflected passes each, Rahim Moore and Chris Harris had 2 each and TJ Ward had 1. The group looked very good overall and the Broncos have to be elated with the DB’s they have assembled this year.
Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) prepares to pass in the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High . Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
11.1% – Percentage of passes dropped by Broncos WR’s in the first game. That number would easily lead the league over the course of a season. Last year the Broncos were 8th worst in the league with a 5.2% drop rate. It’s been documented that Demaryius Thomas had an off day, as he is the sole leader in the league in drops in week one with 3. The Broncos will just chalk it up to a bad day for the WR’s and look to improve that number dramatically next week.
111.9 – Peyton Manning’s rating in week 1, which is a great number and would’ve lead the league last year, but is almost 3 points lower than his rating last year at 114.4. That fact is an indicator of how great he is and even more so how incredible he was last season. At the end of the day, this team will go as far as he takes them and as long as he puts up ratings like this, they will go quite far.
1 – Win. The most significant number of the week. No matter what went on and how the numbers played out to get them there, the Broncos got through week one with a 1-0 record. They will look to make 2 the most significant number next week against the Chiefs.