Want to find a guy to praise for the Broncos winning streak that never got any love? The guy that REALLY set Broncos records that year?
Often overlooked is the importance of having a good punter when your team is terribly inefficient at moving the ball. Accoring to Football Outsiders the Denver Broncos ranked 26th in the league in “Down Success Rate” (which measures the percentage of down series that result in a first down or touchdown) and 29th best team overall in punts per drive. The three teams worse than the Broncos in moving the chains were St. Louis (2-14), Jacksonville(5-11), and Cleveland(4-12).
Anyone else seeing a pattern? Apparently in the NFL if you’re punting alot you’re usually not scoring. When you’re not scoring, you’re usually losing.
Here’s where Colquitt comes in.
Because of Tim Tebow’s inability to move the chains or score for long stretches of games (26th in the league in points-per-drive) Colquitt landed #5 ALL-TIME in the NFL record books for punt yards with 4,783. His 101 punts was only 4 punts less than Donnie Jones’ 105 for the 2-14 St. Louis Rams. He had 7 or more punt games EIGHT times during the Broncos streak, often and regularly pinning opponents deep in their own territory. Amazingly enough, even though Denver’s drives often stalled in their own territory the Broncos special teams still ranked 16th overall in average opposition starting field position. Thanks to a great punting game, Denver’s defense was able to bail out an ailing offense more often than not.
So there you have it, folks. The REAL hero of the 2011 Denver Broncos.