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Week 16 Game Scripts: Denver Flips The Game Script

In week 14, no team lost with a better Game Script than Denver. The Broncos dominated the Raiders in the first half, although the team only took a 12-0 lead into the locker room. Oakland came back to win, 15-12, despite Denver posting a +3.5 Game Script.

In week 15, no team lost with a better Game Script than Denver. The Broncos held a 27-10 lead over the Steelers in the 2nd quarter, but wound up losing, 34-27, despite a Game Script of +5.0.

In week 16, no team won with a worse Game Script than Denver. The Bengals dominated the game early, jumping out to a 14-0 lead that looked even more impressive than on the scoreboard. But Denver battled back, and won, 20-17, in overtime, despite a Game Script of -5.2.

And yet, despite three straight weeks of crazy comebacks, it was five weeks ago that produced the oddest game of Denver’s season: against New England, the Broncos won with a Game Script of -7.1.

There have been just 18 games this season where the winning team posted a Game Script of -3.5 or worse, and Denver has been involved in four of those games.

Below are the Game Scripts data from week 16. As always, you can view the full season results here.

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio

The Saturday Night game between Philadelphia and Washington was notable for its pass-happiness. I mentioned last week that the Denver/Pittsburgh game set a new single-season high with 104 pass plays, courtesy of 58 pass plays from Pittsburgh (55 passes, 3 sacks) and 46 from Denver (44, 2). That record didn’t last very long: in Philadelphia, the Eagles recorded 61 dropbacks (56 passes, 5 sacks), while Washington had 48 pass plays (46, 2). Sam Bradford and Kirk Cousins each threw for over 350 yards, while the teams combined for just 102 rushing yards. Cousins was very effective, so it’s hard to quibble with Washington’s pass/run ratio, but the Eagles certainly don’t want Bradford throwing 60 passes. Philadelphia already has 17.7 million salary cap dollars tied to its running backs for 2016 — no other team is within $5.5M of that number — making it hard to justify this sort of ratio for very long.

Another pass-happy team was San Diego. The Chargers led nearly the whole way against Oakland, finishing with a Game Script of +3.9 that’s weighted down a bit by seven minutes of overtime. Yet Philip Rivers dropped back 50 times despite playing with a banged up set of receivers. Rivers has already set a career high in pass attempts, and with one game left, has an outside chance of even hitting 5,000 passing yards (he would need 436 yards to get there). It’s been that sort of pass-crazy season in San Diego.

One team with a shockingly run-heavy approach in week 16 was Cleveland. The Browns are typically pass-happy, and had a -6.9 Game Script against Kansas City. Yet Cleveland finished with 36 rushes against just 32 pass plays. Of course, the secret here is Johnny Manziel was responsible for 11 of those runs. Still, Isaiah Crowell had 16 carries for 88 yards, and given Manziel’s struggles as a passer (2.84 ANY/A), a run-heavy approach made a lot of sense.

Buffalo had a similar story. For the second week in a row, Tyrod Taylor powered a run-heavy offense, this time with 14 rushes of his own for 67 yards. The Bills finished with 40 rushes for 236 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Taylor gained just 127 adjusted net yards on 21 dropbacks. Buffalo is the first team all season with back-to-back 230-yard rushing games, and just the second (the Jets, against Miami and then Washington) with consecutive 200-yard rushing games. The Jets lead the league in rushing defense, so it will be a battle of strength versus strength when the two teams square off on Sunday, with a win sending the Jets to the playoffs.

Finally, Houston posted the 6th best Game Script of the season in a blowout over Tennessee. You can view the single-game Game Scripts from each week at this page.

{ 1 comment }
  • sacramento gold miners

    Brock Osweiler really delivered for the Broncos last night, it was one of those signature wins you like to see from a young QB in a big game. Don’t know Peyton Manning’s contract situation, but I can’t picture him as a backup in Denver next season. A legend like Manning doesn’t want to go out like he did versus KC. so he’ll need to go elsewhere for a shot at a starting job.