ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- And after working through the game video to crunch a few figures of my own to go with the weekly hearty nod to the top-shelf hard-working souls at the ESPN Stats and Information Group, here are some numbers of note for the Denver Broncos as they head into their Week 8 matchup with the Washington Redskins:
If the Broncos score 34 points against the Redskins, Denver will have the league record for points scored in a season’s first eight weeks. But on the flip side, the Broncos are currently allowing 28.1 points per game and if that stands it would be the second-highest total by any team to reach the playoffs in league history. The ’07 Patriots currently have the eight-game scoring record at 331 points, just ahead of the 2000 Rams, which scored 330 points through eight games.
If those ’07 Patriots are an indication, the Broncos’ defense is going to have to find a way to cut that 28.1 points allowed per game. Offenses of any ability tend to score less in the second half of a season when the weather turns and the games get tighter as the postseason approaches. In ’07, the Patriots scored at least 34 points eight times in the season’s first eight games and scored at least 48 points three times in those first eight games. In the season’s second half they scored at least 34 points three times and scored at least 48 just once. Same for the 2000 Rams. The Rams scored at least 34 points in all eight games in the season’s first half that year and scored at least 41 points five times. In the season’s second half, they scored at least 34 just three times and did not hit the 41-point mark over the regular-season’s final eight games. So, the moral of the story: History says the Broncos offense won’t always be in a position to bail the defense out in the season’s second half.
It looked like the Colts were far more aggressive rushing quarterback Peyton Manning and got to him far more times than the Broncos’ first six opponents did, and the video backs it up. Manning was sacked, hurried or hit while throwing on 17 of his dropbacks against the Colts. That was his highest total since 2009. He wasn’t pressured on more than eight dropbacks in any of the Broncos’ first six games. And in an indication it may be time to use more two-tight end looks even when they want to throw, on plays with Chris Clark and Louis Vasquez at the two tackle spots, Manning has been sacked or hurried on 24 percent of his dropbacks. With any other combination of tackles, Manning has been sacked or hurried on just 13 percent of his dropbacks.
The Broncos’ Wes Welker, Knowshon Moreno and Julius Thomas are tied with Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles for the NFL lead with eight touchdowns this season. Before this season, the only Broncos players with eight touchdowns in the team’s first seven games were Terrell Davis (he did it twice), Floyd Little (twice) and Steve Watson.