BRONCOS

Three numbers to know for Denver Broncos-Las Vegas Raiders

Oct 1, 2022, 11:58 AM
Russell Wilson...
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)
(Photo by Andrew Mason / DenverFan.com)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — One drive might have changed the entire complexion of the Broncos’ season. It certainly changed their mood this week.

That possession is, of course, their 80-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown march last Sunday against San Francisco. It marked the second consecutive game in which Russell Wilson led them on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive to take a lead that Denver’s defense held.

It was also the drive that offered the indication that things can be different with Russell Wilson. After all, the Broncos lost that sort of game last year — specifically to Cincinnati in Week 15.

“For sure. It just goes to show you — if things don’t go your way, the ball’s not bouncing your way, the defense is playing at a high level, and then all of a sudden, No. 3 turns it on,” left tackle Garett Bolles said.

“We’ve seen that time and time again for the last 10 years, he goes down and makes the game-winning drive. That just speaks for him. That gets us all fired up up front. And then scoring, it’s always fun lighting up our whole stadium.”

It’s also a matter of preparation.

“We practice literally every situation. We’re in two-minute, four-minute, whatever situation we have, I don’t think we’re unprepared for it,” running back Melvin Gordon said. “We’re prepared for everything through [Nathaniel Hackett], which people don’t see, but we didn’t blink. We’ve been in that situation before.”

Which is part of why in the first three games with Wilson, they’ve already done something they didn’t do last year — and they’ve done it twice.

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2

Number of drives when trailing by one score in the fourth quarter that ended in touchdowns in the last two weeks.

But what is significant about that is the fact that the Broncos had no fourth-quarter touchdown drives when trailing by one score last season.

Twenty-eight other teams had at least one of those drives last season. An average team in 2021 had 2.9 fourth-quarter touchdown drives when trailing by one score.

From 2017-21, the Broncos ranked 30th, with just nine such series. Only the Bears (8) and Jets (7) had fewer.

If you’re looking for evidence that Wilson has made a difference, look no further. This is far from all that the Broncos want from their $165-million man, but it’s a good place to start.

“I think there’s a big belief having a true leader in there calling the plays and running the shots,” Bolles said.

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348

That is the number of total yards per offensive touchdown generated by the Broncos so far this year: 1,044 total yards and just three scores. That is the worst rate in the NFL so far this season.

Historically, the league average in the Super Bowl era is 146.3 yards gained per offensive touchdown. The league-wide season-long rate has fluctuated between 131 and 155 yards per offensive touchdown for the past 20 years.

So far this year, it’s on the high end: 155.2 yards per offensive touchdown league-wide heading into Week 4. So, this offers a small indication into why scoring is down. But even at that rate, the Broncos would have 6.7 touchdowns if they were at league-average efficiency of yards relative to offensive TDs.

And it’s easy to see where they might come from: two goal-line fumbles in Seattle, goal-to-go failures in each of the first two games.

Expect the Broncos to ascend to the mean in this statistic.

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6-31

That is the Raiders’ record when the usually miscue-averse Carr has two or more turnovers.

That being said, the Raiders won three consecutive games late last season when Carr had multiple giveaways. This included Las Vegas’ Week 16 win over Denver last Dec. 26. He has multiple giveaways in five of his last eight regular-season games overall.

Protecting Carr will be paramount, not only to help prevent giveaways, but for another reason: The Raiders are 2-15 when opponents sack Carr at least 4 times.

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Bonus numbers:

4,339: Days since Josh McDaniels’ last win as an NFL head coach.

2,574: Days since the Broncos’ last road win in their series with the Raiders.

4-6: The Raiders’ record in their fourth game after starting 0-3. That said, no Raiders team has ever finished with a winning record after starting 0-3. Send in the clowns.

.588: Denver’s average winning percentage when starting a season 3-1, which they can do with a win Sunday. That translates to a 10-7 record over 17 games. In 22 seasons when the Broncos started exactly 3-1, they had 10 playoff appearances, a conference title and just five losing seasons — including 2021’s 7-10 finish.

.460: Denver’s average winning percentage when starting 2-2, which they will with a loss in Las Vegas. That translates to an 8-9 record over 17 games. In 13 seasons with a 2-2 start, Denver had eight losing seasons and just three playoff appearances.

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