How Often Does Peyton Manning Target Team’s #1 Cornerbacks?

A lot of talk has gone into the Peyton ManningRichard Sherman battle that will take place this Sunday in the Super Bowl, and while there are other topics that are ignored (the main one is the fact the Seahawks other cornerbacks are as good as some teams starting cornerback) but I wanted to take a look at this from another angle, how often does Peyton target a teams #1 cornerback in any given game? The question has been raised if Peyton will avoid or go after Sherman in this game so I wanted to see if Peyton’s tenancy was to just smartly avoid team’s top corners or if he doesn’t shy away from them at all.

To do this I set out to look at each Broncos opponent this season and see how Peyton did when, and how often, he targeted that teams top corner. We’ll then compare this level of play against the rest of the defense to see if he plays better, worse, or about the same against that top corner. Now not all #1 corners are made the same, Sherman is the best corner in the game, some teams top corners are more like #2 corners on other teams, but that doesn’t change Peyton’s mentality, does he shy away from the best corner on opposing teams? So here are the categories we’ll be look at (in order they’ll appear on the table):

– Total attempts by Peyton in that game
– Opposing teams top corner
– Attempts towards that top corner
– Attempts toward that corner divided by total attempts to get a percentage of total attempts (shows how often Peyton targeted that corner as a percentage)- Reception completed when targeting that corner
– Catch percentage allowed by that corner
– Yards allowed by that corner
– Yards per attempt allowed
– Touchdowns allowed
– Interceptions
– Passer rating against the corner

I’ll then take these metrics and apply them to the rest of the team, ignoring the top corner. You are then able to compare how they stacked up.

Here is the table.

My Takeaways

Peyton is surprisingly consistent and doesn’t shy away from top corners, now he did have a few bad games against quality corners (Vonte Davis, DeAngelo Hall and Shareece Wright in the 2nd San Diego game all had strong outings) but for the most part he was very good and didn’t avoid teams #1 corners, targeting them 16.5% of the time. The big difference seems to come in the red zone where Peyton tended to avoid them, preferring to target them when he had more space to throw the receiver open, which is harder to do in the red zone when the defense has the advantage.


How Does the Seattle Seahawks Defense Stack Up Against the Greats?

There has been a lot of talk about the Seattle Seahawks defense this year and a lot of discussion about the strength (or relative weakness) of their opponents in terms of offensive ability. Well I wanted to look at this a different way. So often we look at who teams play, we don’t look at their relative defensive ability, how well they hold opposing below their season averages. By doing this we look at a teams ability to stop a team from reaching their mean success on offense. By looking at a defense this way we are able to get a better image of how strong a defense is and it weakens the impact of playing a strong of weak schedule. Now the always amazing Chase Stuart look at this in a similar way but didn’t quite look at it from this angle, but if you are craving more stats on this, he has a great read on it here.

Warning: Sortable Tables and Intense Numbers Ahead

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End of the Season Numbers Updated

The Broncos ended the regular season strong going 13-3, here is a start to see how it happened.

Broncos defensive line pass rushing productivity
Broncos running back data including yards after contact, negative runs and long runs
Broncos wide receivers, tight ends and running backs receiving data which includes yards per target, touchdown percentage and the passer rating when targeting each player


Hopefully this week I’ll get more done in terms of charting snap count trends, which stats predict the winner of games the best, and much more.

Denver Broncos Run Defense Trends

This is a look at the Broncos run defense over the course of the season. I’ll be looking at eight key factors:

– Yards per carry in the game against the Broncos
– Yards per carry over the course of the season
– The difference between the two
– Difference between the two as a percentage (the difference divided by game yards per carry)
– Runs of 10 yards or longer
– Runs of 10 yards or longer as a percentage of the total runs
– Runs that went for negative yardage
– Runs that went for negative yardage as a percentage of the total runs

I didn’t include things like total yards because those are dependent on things like if a team is ahead or not. Teams that are behind by a large margin in a game tend to run less. So total yardage numbers are more an indicator of whether a team is in a close game moreso than ability to run.

Hopefully by doing this we’ll be able to see what trends arise, if any, over the course of the season.

Here is the link to the table and the included charts.

For just a few charts of the data, here you go.

Now to sum it up I’ve included a chart that shows the trend of defensive play by difference percentage but I included the injuries of key players as well as when they returned.

Defensive Trends

You are free to draw your own conclusions but the more I look at this the run defense was over hyped by two very strong games. While losing two starters along the defensive line (DE Derek Wolfe and DT Kevin Vickerson) obviously hurts, the run defensive breakdown clearly began before they got hurt.

Fun Facts – Pre Week 14

Not So Happy Fun Facts:

–┬áThe Broncos two running backs in week 13, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, got hit behind the line of scrimmage on 64% of their runs, the most this season for the Broncos since week 1.

– During his limited time this season Champ Bailey has just plain struggled. He has been targeted 20 times and allowed 15 receptions for 161 yards and 1 touchdown. When quarterbacks target him they have a passer rating of 114.8.

Happy Fun Facts:

– Despite being without DE Derek Wolfe against the Chiefs, the Broncos actually managed to be a better pass rushing team with DE Robert Ayers and DT Malik Jackson taking his snaps. With Wolfe on the field the Broncos average pressure on 8.61% of the time but when Wolfe isn’t on the field the Broncos get pressure 9.17% of the time. The Broncos also have three defensive lineman who rank in the top 5 of their positions for pass rushing productivity, which is total pressures divided by total pass rushing snaps. These three are Robert Ayers (5th among DE’s), Malik Jackson (1st among DT’s) and Terrance Knighton (4th among DT’s).

– RB Knowshon Moreno leads the NFL’s running backs in Win Probability Added and Expected Points Added. What this means is Moreno adds more per play in terms of production towards winning and scoring than any back in the NFL. For more info on WPA and EPA click the link.

– Safety Rahim Moore may be out by his two replacements, Mike Adams and David Bruton, haven’t given up a touchdown since they took over for him. Adams also made the game saving pass deflection at the end of the game.

Fun Facts – Pre Week 13

We’ll start with the not so happy fun facts first, get them out of the way and then get pumped by finishing the post with positive thinking!

Not So Happy Fun Facts:

– Of all the Denver Broncos players, those who produce 32.3% of the teams snaps will be free agents next year, in the top 5 in the NFL. The top 3 players lost in terms of snaps are OG Zane Beadles (846 snaps), WR Eric Decker (732 snaps) and Duke Ihenacho (615 snaps).

– The Broncos defensive line and LB’s only have 3 sacks that came less than 3 seconds and two of those came when the players was unblocked.

– The average age of Super Bowl winning coaches is just shy of 49, John Fox is 58 and turns 59 right after the Super Bowl. Of the 29 coaches to win a Super Bowl only 5 were older than 55 and of the 47 Super Bowls only 5 were won by men older than 55:
– Weeb Ewbank (age 61 in 1968)
– Barry Switzer (age 58 in 1995)
– Dick Vermeil (age 63 in 1999)
– Bill Walsh (age 57 in 1988)
– Tom Coughlin (age 61 and 64 in 2007 and 2011 respectively)

To go with that thought, coaches playoff records decline with age and have a strong correlation between them, the higher the age the lower the playoff record. On a side note, of those coaches only Ewbank was coaching an AFC team, don’t think that’s actually important but fun to notice.

Happy Fun Facts:

– Only 11.8% of Knowshon Moreno‘s run are for zero yards or less, that is good for top 5 in the league.

– The Broncos defensive line is consistently able to attack left tackles with 9 sacks against left tackles this season, that is tied with the 9 against right tackles, which are considered the weaker pass defenders.

– The Broncso are the 2nd best offense in history relative to their season’s respective average points per game, behind only the 2007 New England Patriots. What this means is the Broncos offense is 67.4% better than the league average when it comes to scoring points.

Facts, Trends, and The Overlooked – Post Week 12 Edition

So often after games fans tend to overreact to a few things and far too often those things they are reacting to aren’t trends, instead they are merely one game situations or results. What fans should be looking for are trends, those things that persist through multiple games, because those are the items that are actually part of the teams consistent performance. Here in Facts, Trends, and The Overlooked we will look at the big story lines and some not so big ones, and see which ones are trends, which should be watched and which are merely one game anomalies.


Broncos Secondary is Weak Even When Healthy
– The Broncos have suffered some big injuries this season to the defensive backs, and have blamed the backups for the poor play of the pass coverage, along with a lack of pass rush, but even when healthy and now with Von Miller‘s return they have struggled. Since Von Miller’s return against Indianapolis the Broncos have only had 2 interceptions, which is tied for 29th in the league, they also haven’t had an interception since the bye. Against high caliber or efficient quarterbacks the Broncos secondary has had issues, healthy or not, Von Miller or not, this is something that is real, pay attention. Many will point to the fumbles forced by the Broncos defense against the Pats but few pay attention to the struggles of the safeties when it pertains to stopping the deep pass or the corners against fast wide receivers. While fans may be ignoring it, teams aren’t, as the results are beginning to show.

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