FanPost

MHR at it again - why the better team won in Denver

The lead blogger over at MileHighReport (the SB Nation Broncos blog) is doing what he loves most, which is injecting paragraphs of whining about how the Broncos were cheated in the divisional game. Calling the Ravens frauds all year was the trendy thing to do - and for a bitter few still is.

Well unfortunately the facts don't back that up although I am sure most of you already believed that.

FootballOutsiders is one of the well-known and oft-cited statistically-focused sites that charts games rigorously to grade performance of a team in all 3 phases of the game. If you aren't familiar with the stat they use, feel free to educate yourself. Many of you probably already know it though.

Here's the DVOA stats for the Divisional Playoff Game in Denver:

DVOA (with opponent adjustments)

TEAM

TOT

OFF

DEF

ST

BAL

22%

35%

-30%

-43%

DEN

23%

-7%

13%

42%

So what do we conclude here? Baltimore outplayed Denver on Offense by an absolutely huge margin. 0% is considered exactly league average so 35% represents a definite above average performance. -7% on the other hand demonstrates a slightly below average performance

Defense is read opposite: the lower the number the better. -30% is a hugely successful number given the offense we played against being as prolific (30+ ppg) as it was. Meanwhile Denver's Defense gave up tons of huge plays and was eviscerated.

Now special teams. As you can see, we got beat up badly here (as if the 2 return TDs didn't already make that obvious). This also means we played from worse field position on average. You'll remember we had many drives start within the 20 and even within the 10 - including the overtime one where we completed possibly the 2nd biggest play of the game on 3rd and 13 to Pitta that flipped the field. Fortunately we were 1/1 in FGs, while they were 0/1. What a coincidence that the margin of victory was 3 points...

Anyway, overall the game was kept close naturally by special teams. Normally ST doesn't make such a significant impact. Most games rarely see such a disparity in ST due to the high infrequency of return TDs and thus these kinds of offense/defense numbers would indicate a blowout.

Alas we didn't blow them out but the idea that Denver played well is a humongous myth - one that even Shannon Sharpe has acknowledged dozens of times on Twitter (and he's a Bronco supporter first). In reality they played poorly but the score would indicate on surface otherwise. Trindon Holliday prevented an embarrassment of epic proportions.

MHR has long been crusading publicly in their blogs that the Ravens "lucked" their way into the win and the championship but we know from an objective numerical standpoint that that isn't true. Its real simple: Play better and win.

The Broncos have been bad for so long they are reacting in the manner that sudden upstarts usually do - with a prolonged period of "Denial" in the first stage of grief. Ravens fans on the other hand, we don't go around claiming to have been "cheated" in 2011. Our players didn't make plays, thus we lost to New England. Its that simple. And the same was true in 2010. This isn't our first rodeo.

In 2012, we made those plays and that's why we're the owners of the Lombardi, and not Denver.

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

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