One stat defining Broncos historically bad offense in 2022

The Denver Broncos' 2022 offense was one of the worst in team history. One particular stat paints the picture of exactly why this unit struggled so much.
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams
Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The Denver Broncos' offense in 2022 was not only one of the worst in franchise history, but one of the worst in recent NFL memory. It felt like an actual achievement for this particular group to score 20 or more points, which is absolutely embarrassing. New head coach Sean Payton summed it up by saying that last year's offense was tough to watch, which is putting it lightly.

In 2022, the Broncos ranked dead last in the NFL, scoring just 287 points for an average of 16.9 points per game. To put into perspective just how bad that is, the Kansas City Chiefs ranked first in the NFL in scoring last year, averaging 29.2 points per game and scoring 496 points in total.

Over the course of the entire 17-game season, the Chiefs outscored the Broncos by 209 total points, roughly the difference of 30 touchdowns. The 2013 Denver Broncos, arguably the greatest offense in NFL history, scored 606 points. That unit more than doubled the offensive output we saw from Russell Wilson, Nathaniel Hackett, and company last year.

And they had one less game to do it.

Everybody understands that the Broncos' offense was horrendous in 2022, but looking at it in hindsight, it's really important to understand why. When you boil it down, the 2022 Broncos offense was bad in every regard. Inability to execute even the most basic offensive concepts consistently led to a particular statistic that I think really gets us to the bottom of why the Broncos' offense was so bad in 2022.

Denver Broncos were absolutely brutal in avoiding 3rd down in 2022

The 2022 Denver Broncos were one of the six worst teams in the NFL when it comes to avoiding third down. That means, more than most teams, the Broncos were faced with third down situations. When you couple that fact with the fact that the Broncos ranked 32nd in the NFL last season in third down conversion rate (29.1 percent).

When you are constantly faced with third down situations and you are failing more than 70 percent of the time, it's no wonder you struggled so badly to score points. It's no wonder the Broncos' offensive tape was so "tough" for Sean Payton to watch.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you have the 2022 Chiefs, who faced third downs at a lower rate than any other NFL team. They were executing on first and second down plays. Even when the Chiefs did face third down, they were second-best in the league last year at converting those into first downs. So even putting them in rare third-down situations didn't really matter.

This is an area the Denver Broncos are obviously going to have to substantially improve upon in 2023. There is no justification for being this bad at executing offensively. The good news? You can't get worse than the Broncos last year at converting third downs.

The Bears were the worst in the NFL in 2021 at a 34.72 percent conversion rate. The Bears were also the worst in 2020 at 33.49 percent. You have to go all the way back to 2019 to find any team even somewhat comparable to the Broncos with Washington's abysmal 29.05 percent conversion rate. That Washington offense was, in fact, worse than the 2022 Broncos on the whole, but the numbers are far too similar to really say the Broncos differentiated themselves substantially.

Help us, Sean Payton. You're our only hope.

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