DENVER –Join us for a quick examination of some of the more intriguing numbers and statistics to emerge from the Broncos’ 24-22 win over the Cincinnati Bengals here Sunday:
1-of-11: The Bengals’ third-down efficiency ratio, which translates to 9.1 percent. This was the Broncos’ best third-down defensive game since Dec. 25, 2004, when Denver permitted the Tennessee Titans to convert just one of 11 third-down attempts in a 37-16 win in Nashville.
“You win and lose games on third-down conversions,” said linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who broke up a pass from Andy Dalton to Jermaine Gresham on the Bengals’ final third-down play of the game with 33 seconds remaining, forcing them into a fourth-and-19 that they could not convert.
“Guys are standing up,” added safety Brian Dawkins. “When it’s your time to raise your hand and make some plays, those individuals raised their hands and made those plays today.”
25: Number of passes Kyle Orton threw Sunday, the fewest he’s thrown in a game he played from start to finish since Dec. 6, 2009, when he went 15-of-25 at Kansas City. Orton threw two fewer passes nine weeks earlier in the Broncos’ 23-3 win at Oakland.
60.0:Percentage of passes Orton completed Sunday, his best in his last five starts. Orton completed more than 60 percent of his passes in eight of the Broncos’ first 10 games last year but until Sunday, hadn’t done it since.
7.1: Average yards gained per first-down play by the Broncos on Sunday, a 60.0 percent improvement over their 4.2-yards-per-first down average against the Raiders in Week 1. Because of that and their reduction in penalty yardage, the Broncos averaged 7.5 yards to gain on their second downs and 5.9 to gain on their third downs against the Bengals; against Oakland those figures were 10.4 and 10.2 yards, respectively.
16-to-12: Denver’s run-to-pass ratio on first down Sunday, which allowed the Broncos to effectively use play-action passes to strike downfield. Against the Raiders six nights early, the ratio was nine-to-22. The Broncos marginally improved their yardage per first-down carry from 2.7 to 3.3, but more than doubled their yardage per first-down pass play, from 5.1 to 12.2, which included both Orton-to-Eric Decker touchdown connections.
18: Decker became the 18th receiver in Broncos history to have at least one game with at least 20.0 yards per catch, over 100 yards and at least two touchdowns. Decker also became the first Broncos receiver to have that kind of performance in a win since Javon Walker’s six-catch, 134-yard, two-touchdown-catch effort at Pittsburgh on Nov. 5, 2006.
14: Number of yards gained by the Bengals on six plays they ran with one yard to gain. Four of the plays went for no gain — all on third and fourth downs. On three of those, the Broncos utilized five defensive linemen, playing Brodrick Bunkley at nose tackle, Ryan McBean and Kevin Vickerson at defensive tackles and Robert Ayers and Jason Hunter on the ends.
“That was just the front we had,” Vickerson said. “Just trying to stop the run.”
It worked as well against the pass at did the run; two of the no gains when the Bengals needed one yard were incompletions.
4: Number of offensive touches by fullback Spencer Larsen, who gained four yards on one carry and 23 on three receptions. The four touches were a career-high for the fourth-year veteran, who didn’t have a carry or a reception until 2010 and last year only had eight total touches for 69 yards (three carries for 18 yards and five receptions for 51 yards). Larsen already has 38 yards from scrimmage this year.
8: Collective margin of victory for the Broncos during their ongoing three-game winning streak over the Bengals, with all games decided in the final minute — each with some degree of luck playing a part. The one-point win in 2006 came when an extra-point snap by Brad St. Louis sailed wide of the holder; the five-point 2009 win was on the tip-drill pass from Kyle Orton to Brandon Stokley; and Sunday’s decisive touchdown was made possible when Bengals defensive backs Nate Clemens and Chris Crocker collided in a spot of calamitous defending, allowing Eric Decker to run the final 31 yards untouched for a 52-yard touchdown reception.