Three numbers that tell the Broncos-Colts story – DenverFan

DENVER— This is not one of those times where eyes and data collide.

They tell you the same about the Broncos, the state of their offense and where they stand after Thursday’s 12-9 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

And it starts with the red zone. This is not the “Gold Zone”, as Nathaniel Hackett hoped. In fact, red signified “stop” in a way they could never have imagined.



Percentage of Broncos red-zone practices that end in touchdowns. This is the lowest rate in the league.

But here’s what makes it even worse: 35.7 of their red-zone possessions ended without a single point. So far this season, the Broncos are more likely to get nothing at all than to score a touchdown crossing the opponent’s 20-yard line.

And in total, the Broncos have scored just 38 of a possible 98 points in the red zone in five games. Last night was a new nadir, as they scored a basket after four trips to the Indianapolis red zone.

Compounding all of this is Wilson’s season-long rating in the red zone: 50.3, according to numbers compiled by It’s dead last in the NFL, and a far cry from the league-wide red zone rating of 94.7.

This is the red zone, indeed. This is also the “head zone”, as the Broncos appear to be wearing lead shoes as they cross the main scoring zone.

Or maybe just the “dead zone”?



The number of teams over the previous 15 seasons that had under 80 points and 6 or fewer touchdowns in the first five games of the regular season. Denver became the 18th team since 2007 at the dodgy club — and the first in three years, since the Miami Dolphins in 2019.

But the really worrying thing here is what happened to those previous 17 teams.

  • All finished with at least 10 losses;
  • Their average record in a 16-game schedule was 3.9 wins and 12.1 losses, which translates to 17-game paces of 4.1 wins and 12.9 losses;
  • The four teams that were 2-3 or better among that sample size finished with 4-12, 5-11 or 6-10 records (twice).

It’s scary for the Broncos.

Of course, the last team with less than 80 points and 6 or fewer touchdowns in five weeks that finished with a winning record was… the Broncos. They finished the 2006 season 9-7 after a 4-1 start with so few points and touchdowns. But it’s telling that they went 5-6 after that opening act.



THAT WAS how long the Broncos’ winning streak lasted when they allowed 12 points or less and didn’t give up a touchdown. This streak ended Thursday evening.

Denver’s success in this scenario dates back to 1986. The Broncos’ last loss before Thursday under these circumstances was a 9-3 home loss to San Diego on Nov. 9, 1986.

But wait, there’s more. A few bonus numbers, if you dare to read on:



Number of games since Super Bowl 50 in which the Broncos have scored less than 17 points, including four of five games this year.

Thursday’s performance pushed the Broncos ahead of the New York Jets. Gang Green has 45 such games during this period, which began in 2016.



Touchdown passes for the Broncos in their last 8 games. It was the Broncos’ fewest in 8 games from Week 17 of 2005 through Week 16 of the 2006 campaign. In that run, Jake Plummer had just 5 touchdown passes. Remarkably, the Broncos went 6-2 in those eight games.


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