The Denver Broncos defense made a statement on Sunday when it shut out the New York Jets to help end an eight-game losing streak (the franchise’s worst in 50 years).

Sure, the Jets are one of the more inconsistent offenses in the NFL, but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that it was still a noteworthy performance for the Broncos. In holding the Jets to 100 yards of total offense, the Denver defense accomplished something no other NFL team has done since 2010. But it wasn’t just an inspired effort against New York that should have Broncos fans feeling more confident about their defense moving forward.

Despite games in which they allowed 51 points (Week 9 at Philadelphia), 41 points (Week 10 vs. New England) and 35 points (Week 13 at Miami), the Broncos are still putting up numbers that prove they’re an elite defense.

Here are five stats that untimely turnovers by the offense and special teams can’t skew, which show Denver still has one of the best defenses in the NFL.

4.7 Yards Per Play

Through 13 games, the Denver Broncos have allowed an average of just 4.7 yards per play. That may sound like a big number, considering that it would result in a first down every three plays, but it’s actually tops in the NFL. (Denver is tied with Jacksonville for that honor.) It’s the same number they put up in 2016, which was also the best in the league.

29.65% Third Down Conversion Percentage

The Broncos’ defense may have spent more time than it would like on the field this year, but it’s not necessarily because of anything they have done themselves. At 29.65 percent, the Denver D ranks second in the league only to Minnesota for the best third-down conversion percentage allowed.

3.3 Rush Yards Per Attempt

Denver’s Achilles’ heel last year was its run defense, giving up an average of 4.3 rush yards per attempt. They’ve improved that by a full yard per play this year at 3.3, which ranks first in the league. The Broncos are tied with Cleveland at No. 1, so the stat might seem a little misleading, but with teams like Tennessee, Philadelphia and Minnesota right behind them it carries a bit more weight.


.323 Three-and-Outs Per Drive

The “3Outs/Dr” statistic tracks how frequently a team forces a punt after just three opponent offensive plays. The higher the number, the better. The Denver Broncos have the highest 3Outs/Dr percentage in the league. Unfortunately, they rank 27th on the offensive side of that same statistic.

.630 Drive Success Rate

DSR represents Drive Success Rate, introduced in Pro Football Prospectus 2005 and currently tracked weekly by Football Outsiders, which measures the percentage of down series that result in a first down or touchdown. (Take-a-knee drives at the end of a half are discarded.) With a .630 DSR, the Broncos rank second in the league only to Jacksonville.

BONUS STAT… 10.1 Passing First Downs Per Game

There’s no denying the “No Fly Zone” has allowed a whole lot more air traffic in 2017 than in previous seasons. Their team passer rating allowed is an astounding 25.2 points higher in 2017 than it was in 2016 when they had the best pass defense in the league. But at least this year that decline isn’t translating to incrementally more first downs. Denver ranks third in the league in passing first downs per game with 10.1. That’s an improvement on their 10.6 from 2016; only the Jaguars and Steelers are better in 2017.