2010 Week Six: Inside the Colts Numbers

First of all, I apologize for being a little late with the stats from Sunday Night.  I watched the game in the Aria Sports Book in Las Vegas, then jumped on a red-eye flight back to Indy, so my Monday was spent catching up on sleep, and Tuesday was spent catching up on work.  I really wish the Colts had covered the 10.5 points I bet on them to do, but oh well. 

The other great thing about watching football games in Sports Books is you can look really, really smart while sitting next to a guy who doesn't watch much of the Colts.  After Pierre Garcon dropped the very easy ball on the sidelines, I told the guy sitting next to me, "He'll make these spectacular catches, but then he'll drop the easiest of passes."  Then this happened.  I looked like a genius.

The one word that pops into my head after a game like this is "Survive and Advance."  All the injuries, all the rare turnovers (Peyton Manning's first lost fumble since Super Bowl 41 1/2 against the Patriots in 2007) led me to think to myself, after I knew they weren't winning by 11, to just get out of the game with a win, which the Colts did.  It was the 27th straight game that the Colts won after leading in the 4th quarter (Week 8 in 2008 against the Titans).  Pretty amazing, huh?

The other big thing I noticed, and I've noticed it a lot already this year, is that Offensive Lineman have decided they are going to hold Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on each and every play, and dare the Referees to call it.  I think our Division opponents have been doing it for years, and usually get away with it.  It's no coincidence that the Redskins, with their Offensive Coordinator being Kyle Shanahan, formerly of the Texans, were very clearly holding on almost every play, but only got called for it twice, maybe 3 times.  Look for more teams to catch onto this, and watch the non-holding calls go up throughout the season.

Let's take a look at the numbers, which are very deceiving when compared to Week 5...

First, the actual stats:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 71.4% 11 70.3% 15 N N 5-1
ANPY/A 8.692 5 3.167 3 Y N 7-3
Turnovers 3 24 2 6 N N 6-1
Yds/Drive 36.08 6 23.93 4 Y N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:06.9 27 2:19.3 6 N N 4-2
Yds/Play 6.897 4 4.653 7 Y N 7-3
First Downs/Drive 1.69 15 1.64 12 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 30.0% 24 28.6% 3 N N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 31.4 10 32.3 22 N N 9-0
3 and Outs 5 18 4 12 N N 3-0
RZ Eff 81.0% 12 85.7% 18 N N 2-2
Plays/Drive 5.231 21 5.143 5 N N 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.221 1 0.736 18 N N 1-4
RB Success 55.2% 7 54.2% 21 N N 6-2
Yds/Carry 5.86 4 4.71 21 N N 5-2
Net Punts Yds/Game 38.50 22 39.50 9 N N 2-1
Ranking - Week (28) 12 7 8
Ranking - Season (180) 77 59 52

Then, the Adjusted Stats:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.3% 11 74.8% 19 N N 5-1
ANPY/A 8.521 4 2.935 4 Y N 7-3
Turnovers 2.8 26 2 9 N N 6-1
Yds/Drive 34.91 6 24.22 8 Y N 4-1
ToP/Drive 2:06.2 27 2:30.4 9 N N 4-2
Yds/Play 6.771 2 4.131 5 Y N 7-3
First Downs/Drive 1.64 18 1.85 20 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 36.3% 19 42.8% 20 N N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 30.5 11 35.8 25 N N 9-0
3 and Outs 4 18 4 15 N N 3-0
RZ Eff 90.5% 10 104.3% 26 N N 2-2
Plays/Drive 5.067 24 5.633 14 N N 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.238 2 0.661 19 N N 1-4
RB Success 46.4% 14 60.0% 26 N N 6-2
Yds/Carry 5.14 3 4.92 22 N N 5-2
Net Punts Yds/Game 37.62 19 44.17 22 N N 2-1
Ranking - Week (28) 15 12 14
Ranking - Season (180) 73 86 73

Some thoughts:

  • Due to the fact the Redskins haven't played well this season (23rd Overall), the adjusted stats are worse than the actual stats.  Even despite that, the Yards / Carry were fantastic last week, over 5 per carry.  I really, really hope the Colts sign Joseph Addai after this season.
  • Here's what I said in my preview:
    If the Colts can get that initial First Down on a drive, look for them to move the ball up and down the field.  The Redskins will have to get them off the field quickly to have a chance in this game.

    The Colts had 13 drives on Sunday:  5 Scoring Drives, 2 Missed FGs, Addai's Fumble while driving, and 5 Three and Outs.  When the Colts got that initial First Down, they moved the ball quite well, only stopping themselves from scoring points (Addai's fumble wasn't his fault, though).  These stats can actually tell you meaningful information.
  • Also from my preview:
    Classic Tampa 2 defense from the Colts this week.  Force them to grind it out.  Make Donovan McNabb check down...With the use of the Tampa 2, they become more susceptible to the "Bend but don't break" defense, meaning the Red Zone will play a big part in the game Sunday Night.

    If you take a look at the adjusted numbers for Red Zone Efficiency, you'll see a number that isn't actually possible, but you'll see why the Redskins were in the game until the end.  McNabb also checked down a lot, only throwing deep 3 or 4 times.  Definitely saw the "Bend but don't break" defense, but it broke twice.  Part of that was the poor tackling, part was McNabb staying patient and throwing underneath.  Either way, the Redskins stayed in the game by scoring TDs in the Red Zone.
  • Very low Time of Possession for the Colts, which was mainly because they ran the real hurry-up offense, rather than the no-huddle but slow down the game offense.  The Redskins were being cute, running the "mob" defense, so Manning went right at them.  I wouldn't expect a lot more of it, unless we see that defense again played against the Colts.

Season Stats heading into the Bye week:

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 78.2% 1 Colts 71.7% 24 Giants 27-7 0.794
ANPY/A 7.904 2 Chargers 5.634 16 Chargers 39-12 0.765
Turnovers 1.33 9 Jets 1.50 18 Steelers 44-8 0.846
Yds/Drive 39.58 1 Colts 31.27 23 Giants 26-13 0.667
ToP/Drive 3:00.5 7 Cowboys 2:37.7 12 Giants 30-10 0.750
Yds/Play 5.928 6 Chargers 5.489 21 Giants 26-23 0.531
First Downs/Drive 2.26 1 Colts 1.79 23 Giants 27-8 0.771
3rd/4th Down 44.2% 6 Saints 37.8% 13 Ravens 33-9 0.786
Avg Start Pos 28.4 25 Steelers 28.6 12 Chiefs 44-7 0.863
3 and Outs 2.67 7 Cowboys 3.50 16 Bears 19-12 0.613
RZ Eff 78.9% 2 Texans 59.7% 14 Titans 31-10 0.756
Plays/Drive 6.677 1 Colts 5.697 20 Bears 23-13 0.639
Penalty Yds / Play 0.604 4 Dolphins 0.721 25 Ravens 26-16 0.619
RB Success 48.4% 14 Patriots 56.3% 31 Seahawks 24-18 0.571
Yds/Carry 3.69 26 Texans 4.82 29 Steelers 26-20 0.565
Net Punts Yds/Game 39.17 19 Raiders 42.60 29 Cowboys 16-15 0.516
Overall 1 Colts 22 Giants

A couple things here:

  • The numbers, overall, agree with what I've seen with my eyes.  Mainly, the offense is rolling, and the defense, while struggling to stop the run, are a middle-of-the-pack defense.
  • This year, more than others, I think the Offense is helping the Defense by extending drives a little longer, giving the Defense a little more of a breather, so they have a little more energy to get teams off the field.  The Colts are averaging over 3 minutes per drive, and are #1 in the league in 4 different Drive-related stats.  Defensively, the stats for Time of Possession / Drive and 3rd/4th Down Conversion Pct. are better than they have been in years.  It's good to see.
  • The two biggest keys to victory this year, so far, have been Average Starting Position and Turnovers.  It's a little surprising, although I'm wondering whether there have been more Turnovers giving the ball to your opponent inside your own 20 yard line.  That could explain why teams are winning at a much higher clip than in years past when they do well with Field Position.

Week by Week so far:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Texans 22 165 94 64 131 103
2 Giants 26 14 3 5 9 1
3 Broncos 56 114 81 60 81 56
4 Jaguars 10 177 103 27 174 117
5 Chiefs 44 46 19 36 48 12
6 Redskins 77 59 52 73 86 73

This week looked better than the Broncos game, but when you adjust for how well the Broncos and Redskins have played in their other games this season, this week wasn't quite as good.  The Colts do still have the best game played so far this season, Week 2 against the Giants.

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