Measuring the (not very much) good, bad and ugly from Denver’s offense – The Denver Post


A look at the numbers behind the Denver Broncos’ offense in 2022:

Five key offensive numbers

16.9 — Points per game, No. 32 in NFL

5.1 — Yards per play, T-23

14.6% — Percentage of drives ending in touchdowns, No. 29

29.1% — Third down conversion percentage, No. 32

55.6% — Red zone TD percentage, T-14

High Point

Too little, too late, but the Broncos did get it going offensively in the final stretch of the season, particularly the last two games with offensive coordinator Justin Outten calling plays. Denver scored 55 points over its final two games. The team had just four outings of 24-plus points on the season and they all came in the final five weeks. Maybe Nathaniel Hackett’s fate would have been different had that stretch not been spliced by a Christmas Day embarrassment against the Los Angeles Rams. Regardless, though, quarterback Russell Wilson showed more consistently over the final month that he still has the ingredients to play at, if not an elite level, then at least a competitive one.

Low Point

There’s more than one to choose from — two inexcusable Wilson fourth-quarter interceptions against a bad Indianapolis team in a 12-9 overtime Week 5 loss come to mind — but what cost this group any chance to rebound from a slow start to the season was scoring three touchdowns in four games after the bye week against Tennessee, Las Vegas, Carolina and Baltimore. Three of the Broncos’ five outings of less than 100 rushing yards came in that stretch. Denver scored three touchdowns in 45 non-kneeldown possessions (a 6.7% TD rate). The rest: 27 punts, eight field goals, three missed field goals, two lost fumbles, an interception and a turnover on downs.

MVP: Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy

Denver’s third-year receiver exploded midseason. Through six games, his catch rate of 47.2% of targets was worse than all but five of 125 NFL players with at least 20 targets. From that point on, he caught 79.4% of balls thrown his way at a nearly 1,500-yard season rate.

Tough year: Quarterback Russell Wilson

Wilson had never accounted for fewer than 22 touchdowns in a season in Seattle and finished with 19 for the Broncos in 2022 (10 in final four games). He had only missed three starts in a decade and missed two this year, landing on the injury report with three different issues (lat, hamstring, concussion). He had never lost more than eight games in a season as a starter and lost 11 this year.

Russell Wilson career TDs

Year Team Games Passing TDs Rushing TDs Total TDs
2012 Seattle 16 26 4 30
2013 Seattle 16 26 1 27
2014 Seattle 16 20 6 26
2015 Seattle 16 34 1 35
2016 Seattle 16 21 1 22
2017 Seattle 16 34 3 37
2018 Seattle 16 35 0 35
2019 Seattle 16 31 3 34
2020 Seattle 16 40 2 42
2021 Seattle 14 25 2 27
2022 Denver 15 16 3 19
Avg. 28 2.4 30.4

Under the Radar: Center Graham Glasgow

The veteran offensive lineman struggled in early season work at right guard but bounced back with a steady presence at center. He started nine games there after Lloyd Cushenberry suffered a groin injury. Glasgow won’t overwhelm, but given the number of injuries the Broncos had up front, the group could have really gone off the rails had the seven-year pro not played every snap over the final eight weeks.

Run game

Five Key Numbers

7 — fumbles by running backs (six by Melvin Gordon, one by Javonte Williams) through Week 11. Denver lost three (two of Gordons), including two on the goal line vs. Seattle in Week 1.

0 — Fumbles by running backs in 180 touches (147 carries, 33 catches) the final seven weeks of the season after Gordon was cut.

5.1 — Yards per carry over the final seven weeks of the season. The Broncos averaged 3.9 per over the first 10 games and 4.4 overall for the year.

7 — Rushes of 20-plus yards, tied for 27th in the NFL. Cleveland led with 21. Denver didn’t have one until Week 12.

10 — Combinations the Broncos started on the offensive line over the season. They did not manage to stick with the same quintet for any more than four games (Weeks 2-5) and at one point started a different lineup six straight games, spanning Weeks 5-11.

Chart: Broncos 2022 OL snapshot

Name Positions Games Snaps Percent
Cam Fleming RT/LT 15 976 85.9%
Dalton Risner LG 15 967 85.1%
Graham Glasgow RG/C 15 929 81.8%
Quinn Meinerz RG 13 752 66.2%
Lloyd Cushenberry C 8 502 44.2%
Billy Turner RT 8 483 42.5%
Calvin Anderson LT/RT 10 439 38.6%
Garett Bolles LT 5 325 28.6%
Quinn Bailey RT/LG 4 162 14.3%
Luke Wattenberg C/LG/RG 4 90 7.9%
Tom Compton RG 1 30 2.6%
Netane Muti RG 1 28 2.5%

The Good

Latavius Murray was a revelation after being signed off New Orleans’ practice squad. Once he cracked the starting lineup in Week 12, he carried 97 times for 494 yards (5.09 per rush). He’s old by running back standards (just turned 33), but is worth bringing back in 2023 for his steady work and his leadership.

The Bad

Denver needed eight running backs to make it through the year because of injuries. By the season’s stretch run, they were often rolling out a backfield featuring only players who arrived to the franchise Week 5 and after.

The Unknown

Williams’ injury really hurt the Broncos’ offense but it also comes with an arduous recovery process for him. Whether he’ll be ready – let alone back to his normal self — by Week 1 in 2023 remains unknown, but Denver likely has to plan as if it’ll take well into the season. Also, what will the offensive line look like going forward? Quinn Meinerz is likely set at right guard and Garett Bolles at left tackle (assuming his return from a leg fracture goes smoothly), but the other three spots? Up in the air.

Worst third-down conversion rates in franchise history

Year Third Down %
2022 29.1%
2011 30.8%
2019 31.7%
1983 31.9%
1992 32.2%
2010 32.4%
1984 32.9%
2018 33.3%
2016 34.3%
1977 34.3%
1979 34.7%

*Numbers tracked by Broncos since 1972

Pass Game

Five key numbers

5.7 — Net yards per passing attempt for the Broncos, the No. 24 mark in the NFL. In the past decade, Denver’s only been that low twice (5.4 in 2017, 5.7 in 2019).

60.5% — Russell Wilson’s completion percentage, worst of his career. His completion percentage over expected of -4, per NFL Next Gen Stats, was No. 32 out of 39 QBs with at least 135 pass attempts.

181 — Total QB pressures, per Pro Football Reference. No team was sacked more than Denver (63) and Wilson (55) tied Chicago rookie Justin Fields for the NFL lead. Wilson’s time to throw of 2.92 seconds per NFL Next Gen Stats was tied for sixth-longest with Pittsburgh rookie Kenny Pickett.

11 — Completions of 40-plus yards for Wilson, tied for fifth-most in the NFL. He had three of 50-plus in the season finale against the Chargers alone.

29 — Games in Wilson’s career with a passer rating of 75.0 or worse (16.8% of 173 starts). In 2022, he had five in 15 starts, nearly double his career rate.


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