The Broncos have been mired at third and wrong for six seasons.

This year is the worst muck-up.

Failing to achieve a first down on 71.4 percent of their third downs this year, the Broncos are last and lowest in the league.

In comparison, the three other teams in the AFC West – the Chiefs, the Chargers and the Raiders – have been successful on 58.8, 48.5 and 41.5 percent of third down plays.

Even the three puff pastries the Broncos devoured aren’t as futile on third-and-anything.

But this obsolescent ineffectiveness is nothing new in the post-Super Bowl error. The Broncos haven’t reached the 40 percent level since Peyton Manning retired. In his four seasons the Broncos produced third-down conversion rates of 45.1, 46.3, 44.1 and 35.3 percent (in 2015 when Manning was hurt and shared starts with Brock Osweiler).

Since then the Broncos have plunged to 34.2, 39.0, 33.3, 31.7, 38.7 and now this repugnant 28.6 percent.

Under Vic Fangio, who has concentrated his primary attention to the defense and designated control of the offense to coordinators Rich Scangarello and Pat Shurmur, the Broncos finished 30th and 27th the past two years in the NFL and are on pace for 32nd in 2021, especially because they must play nine of their remaining 11 games against teams that are contenders for playoffs spots.

Teams that don’t make first downs on third downs and score touchdowns in the Red Zone get head coaches, offensive coordinators, quarterback coaches and quarterbacks on one-year contracts (i.e., Teddy Bridgewater) fired.

It’s the 90-plus percent Solution. NFL teams must be above 40 percent on third down and over 50 percent in the Red Zone.

Only five teams are below 50 percent in Red Zone touchdown conversions through five weeks this season, and the Broncos are 29th overall at 42.1. They were 27th in 2020 and 28th, 18th, 32nd and 28th before.

In 2012-14 the Broncos were sixth (68.5), first (72.7) and fourth (63.5) scoring touchdowns at and inside the 20.

The current Broncos are an impressive 8 of 9 on fourth downs, which could be attributed to Fangio’s decision, revealed in exhibitions, to become more oriented toward risk-and-reward in his third season and because the Broncos fall short too often on third downs.

In the 3DogNight phase of the season against the Jersey Boys and the Jags, the Broncos were 7-15, 2-11 and 4-11 turning third downs into first downs and 2-5, 2-4 and 2-5 in Red Zone TD opportunities.

Then, in the most recent two games vs. the Ravens and the Steelers, the Broncos were atrocious on third downs, earning just 3 of 14 and 2 of 12 first downs on third down, and scoring touchdowns on 1 of 2 and 1 of 3 chances.

Five of 26 and 2 of 5, and, overall, 18 of 63 and 8 of 19 signifies that the Broncos are fortunate to be 3-2.

Fangio is quite aware of the problem and his own predicament.

“Offensively, we’ve had too many third-and-longs, but you have to be able to convert some of those,’’ the coach said the past week. “We have to get more manageable third downs. And no matter what down we’re in we have to go convert.’’

Vic had extreme issues with Scangarello, who was thrust upon him as coordinator in 2019. They argued through headsets and in meetings and never agreed on an offensive system, and a year after being hired, Scangarello was fired. Shurmur is Fangio’s fellow, not George Paton’s.

The new general manager has remained silent through five weeks while emphasizing fringe player additions as a result of the team’s myriad injuries. But he obviously is evaluating Fangio and the assistant coaches, particularly Shurmur, whose offense through 21 games has lost 13 and averaged only 20.4 points per game, which is no improvement.

Fangio isn’t praising or panning his coordinator. “I have no qualms with Pat other than our results haven’t been good enough. We have to find a way to fix that.’’

Mike Shanahan, the Broncos’ greatest coach, will be honored at the stadium Sunday. Kyle Shanahan, who should have been the Broncos’ coach, will attend. And Gary Kubiak, a longtime coach with father and son, also will be there.

All proven offensive geniuses.

Pat Shurmur can’t be included in that statement or gathering.

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