BRONCOS

Three numbers that tell the story of Broncos-Seahawks

Sep 13, 2022, 2:10 PM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

SEATTLE — The funny thing was, Russell Wilson had a pretty typical game, on balance. His 101.3 passer rating is snugly in line with his work in recent years, when he’s posted at least a 100.0 rating each season.

But it’s the atypical that connects the defining numbers from the Broncos’ Week 1 loss to the Seahawks.

1. 12

There was a certain synergy around this number Monday night:

12: The name of the Seahawks’ fan base. Denver has Broncos Country. Seattle has “the 12s.” They can’t be the 12th man, because Texas A&M has a trademark on that. Being the “12s” was the workaround. Many fans wear jerseys with “12” on them — probably more than of any one play.

And those fans were at least partially responsible for the Broncos’ 12 penalties, which included three false-start infractions and two delay-of-game calls. One false start, on Courtland Sutton, nullified a touchdown. The two delay calls matched the Broncos’ entire total for the 2021 season.

“I think that we can eliminate those,” Wilson said of the penalties. “It’s football.”

2. 22

Games in a row won by teams with this stat line prior to Monday night:

  • Over 300 passing yards
  • Over 100 rushing yards
  • More than 7.5 yards per pass play
  • More than 5.0 yards per rush
  • Fewer than 275 total yards allowed

The Broncos became the first team since the New York Giants on Sept. 26, 2010 to lose despite that collection of numbers.

In NFL history, teams with that stat line are now 74-5-1, per pro-football-reference.com — a robust .931 win rate that is also roughly the success rate for extra points.

The point being: This loss was probably an outlier. An unusual result concocted by a series of mental mistakes and sloppy moments that are eminently fixable — most prominently, two goal-line fumbles and the afore-mentioned dozen flags.

3. 22.2

That is the league-wide percentage of field-goal attempts from at least 60 yards in stadiums without some kind of roof over the past 10 years.

It’s not simply about Brandon McManus, who is 1-of-8 from beyond 60 yards during games. It’s about how distance diminishes accuracy, especially in a game.

McManus told coaches that he was good to 64 yards — the exact spot from which he attempted his potential game-winner in the final minute. He had the hashmark he wanted: the left.

But you need a perfect kick.

“Once you get back to that far — especially when there’s a slight breeze right to left — and once the ball starts losing velocity, I knew it was going to fall left. So, I wanted to aim it towards the right upright,” McManus said.

But instead …

“It kind of started down the middle and it kind of fell out there.”

Had the Broncos been down to the final seconds, no one would have batted an eye at a 64-yard attempt. It’s the time left when the Broncos went into clock-draining mode. Peyton Manning desperately signaling “timeout” on the ESPN2 ManningCast will forever be as defining an image of the final seconds as the kick itself.

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