Broncos defense/special teams by the numbers: Third down struggles, lack of takeaways plagued unit

The Broncos’ defense mostly did their part during the recently completed 7-10 season, allowing the third-fewest points and fourth-fewest yards in the NFL. But a deeper look showed season-long struggles on third down (28th) and not enough takeaways (tied for sixth-fewest).

The following is a statistical review of the Broncos’ defense via The Denver Post’s game charting and supplemented by Stats, Inc.:

In the rankings

The Broncos’ defensive rankings after Games 4, 8, 12 and 17:

Season Yards (rank) Points (rank)
Game 4 267.8 (4) 12.3 (2)
Game 8 325.8 (6) 17.1 (2)
Game 12 325.5 (8) 18.2 (3)
Final 326.1 (8) 19.9 (3)

High yardage game: 426 in the Week 6 loss vs. Las Vegas.

Low yardage game: 162 in the Week 3 win vs. the Jets.

High scoring game: 34 (34-24 loss to Las Vegas in Week 6 and 34-13 loss at the Chargers in Week 17).

Low scoring game: 0 (26-0 win over the Jets in Week 3).

Notes: The Broncos improved from 25th to third in points allowed and 26th to eighth in yards allowed. The scoring defense finish was their highest since 2005 (third) and they finished in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed for the sixth time in 10 years. … The Broncos were 4-7 when allowing at least 300 yards. … In their seven wins, the Broncos allowed 11.1 points per game (high of 16 by Dallas); in their 10 losses, they…

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