Quarterback play by the numbers

December, 21, 2011
12/21/11
8:00
AM ET
Thanks to the fine folks at ESPN Stats & Information, let’s look at a telling statistic about each AFC West quarterback:

Denver Broncos: The New England Patriots slowed down Broncos' quarterback Tim Tebow in the fourth quarter by pressuring him. New England sent extra pressure on nine of Tebow’s 17 drop backs (52.9 percent) in the final quarter. Going into the game, opponents blitzed Tebow on 41.3 percent of his drops backs in the last period of play. Before the Patriots, Denver had won four straight games in the fourth quarter. Expect the Bills to follow New England's template if Tebow is attempting to mount another fourth-quarter comeback on Saturday.

Kansas City Chiefs: Kyle Orton's success inside the numbers should be a template for the Green Bay Packers' future opponents. In two games against the Packers (Orton faced Green Bay with Denver in October and on Sunday as a Chief), Orton was a combined 28-of-32 (15-of-17 in Kansas City’s upset) when passing inside the numbers. Those were the two best quarterbacked games inside the numbers against Green Bay this season.

Oakland Raiders: Quarterback Carson Palmer has completed just 3 of 17 passes on throws that travelled more than 21 yards in the past five games. He has failed to complete a pass of those distances in three of those games. In his first two starts as a Raider, Palmer was 8-of-13 on deep passes. One of the reasons why Oakland gave up two premium picks for Palmer was his ability to throw the deep ball.

San Diego Chargers: Quarterback Philip Rivers completed 75 percent of his passes and threw for 201 of his 270 passing yards on tosses of more than 10 yards downfield in a 34-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens. Rivers has been hot throwing longer passes during the Chargers’ current three-game winning streak. He has thrown four touchdown passes and no interceptions in downfield passes during the streak. In the Chargers’ first 11 games, Rivers completed 50 percent of his passes of 10-plus yards. In the past three games, he completed 71.4 percent of those passes. There’s no doubt, Rivers is dialed in down the stretch.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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