Three numbers that tell the story of Broncos-Titans
The numbers and film reveal similar conclusions regarding the Broncos’ pass protection. Namely, that the more third-teamers were on the field, the worse it got.
That’s where the Week 10 postgame numbers dive begins:
1 OUT OF 1.8 PASS PLAYS
That is the rate at which Russell Wilson was hit after Graham Glasgow succumbed to a shoulder injury in the third quarter Sunday. Tennessee hit Wilson on 10 of 18 pass plays in that span, with four resulting in sacks.
With the starting offensive line on the field, the Titans hit Wilson once every 6.3 pass plays and sacked him once in 19 pass plays. After Billy Turner left with a knee injury — but before Glasgow departed — the hit rate spiked to one every 2.4 pass plays, with the sack rate being 1 in 12.
Without Turner and Glasgow — and, thus, with third options at 60 percent of the offensive-line spots — the hit rate was one every 1.8 pass plays, with the sack rate being one every 4.5 pass plays.
The number of touchdowns scored by the Broncos this season. This is tied for 1971 for the fewest touchdowns through nine games in team history. And it is the fewest for any team in the NFL (although the Colts also had 12 touchdowns in their first nine games).
According to pro-football-reference.com, just 85 teams in the Super Bowl era had 12 or fewer touchdowns in their first nine games. This puts the Broncos in the bottom 5.1 percent of teams when it comes to touchdown output at this point in the season.
The point at which the Broncos got their 12th touchdown in the previous decade:
- 2021: Game 6
- 2020: Game 7
- 2019: Game 8
- 2018: Game 6
- 2017: Game 5
- 2016: Game 4
- 2015: Game 6
- 2014: Game 4
- 2013: Game 2
- 2012: Game 4
But on the positive side, 12 is the number of touchdowns allowed by the defense — the fewest in the NFL. It’s also the third-fewest through nine games in team history, only 2006 (8) and 1978 (11) are better. These Broncos are step-for-step with the 1977 “Orange Crush” defense that became the Broncos’ first AFC title-winning team.
That is the Broncos’ yardage-per-carry figure in Sunday’s loss. It’s their lowest of the season, and worst since Week 16 of last year (1.1 yards per carry at Las Vegas).
The Broncos are bad across the board on the ground this season. They’re 29th in yards per carry (3.9), 25th in rushing yards per game (103.6) and 28th in move-the-chains rate (one first down every 4.92 attempts).
Denver is also now the only team with no runs of at least 20 yards this season.