Colts Wild Card Round: Inside the Colts Numbers

INDIANAPOLIS IN - JANUARY 08: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on in the huddle against the New York Jets during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8 2011 in Indianapolis Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It's now been a few days since the Colts 17-16 loss to the Jets, and we've all been able to take a step back, look at the game objectively rather than emotionally.  We've gone back and forth about who's to blame for the loss, with pretty much everyone including the waterboy getting some blame for the loss.  I think it is short-sighted to single out an individual, or even a single "unit" of the team as the culprit, although I do have to say that the offense is significantly behind the other two areas of the team when it comes to blame.

Saturday night's game played out a lot like the AFC Championship game last year did.  It took until about the middle of the second quarter for Peyton Manning and the Offense to figure out what the Jets were doing, then they scored on pretty much every possession for the rest of the game.  Here's the two differences:  The Colts scored 2 TDs and a FG in the second half last year, but had to settle for 3 FGs this year, and the Colts had 5 second half possessions last year, and only 3 this year.

Now, I think it is reasonable to expect a Colts offense that was so good all year scoring TDs, even with the injuries, that they could have put it in the end zone once in the second half, which is why they aren't completely blameless.  But think about this:  The average Time of Possession for a drive in the NFL is 2:40.  The Jets average 2:42 per drive.  If the defense had given up just an average length drive, or even a 4 minute drive, it gives the Colts that extra possession they would have needed to win the game.  While obviously there was a good chance they wouldn't have scored on this mythical drive, but in the last drives of first halfs and the entire second halfs, the Colts scored on 8 of their 9 possessions that they tried to score on.  I feel pretty good that they would have gotten at least 3 points.

Prepare to be depressed some more when you read these:

  • Elias: Saturday night was only the second time in NFL Postseason history that there were two lead changes in the final minute.  The only other time?  The Tennessee Titans have a blog on this network named after it.  That means that every other lead-changing FG made in the final minute in Postseason history was a game winner.  Sigh...
  • Elias: For the second consecutive year, the Jets won a road playoff game after being shut out in the first half.  Last year, they trailed 7-0 to the Chargers before winning 17-14.  To get the last time this happened by another team, you have to go back to 1993, when the Chiefs won at Houston after being blanked in the first half.
  • Elias: I mentioned that 17 play, 87 yard, 9:54 minute drive above.  Want to know how bad it was?
    Since the Jets franchise was born in 1960 (the team was known as the Titans for its first three seasons), there has been only one other touchdown drive in an NFL postseason game that was as long as the Jets' on Saturday night, with respect to yards, plays and time consumed; in the 2007 playoffs, the Cowboys reached paydirt after a 20-play, 90-yard drive that took 10 minutes, 28 seconds.

    On Sunday, the Ravens also had a 15 play, 80 yard drive that took over 10 minutes, but that was when the game was virtually over.  Can I sigh again?
  • Elias:  This was the fourth year in a row that the Colts have lost in the playoffs after leading in the 4th quarter. There's not much else I can say to that.

I tried to find something good, but there wasn't much in terms of the history books.  After the jump we'll get to the stats, where you'll see how the offense played fairly well, and the defense not so much...

Non-Adjusted Stats for the Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 68.0% 7 78.1% 5 N Y 2-0
ANPY/A 8.852 1 4.344 2 Y N 1-1
Turnovers 0 1 1 4 N N 0-1
Yds/Drive 34.67 5 39.22 8 N N 1-0
ToP/Drive 2:59.2 4 3:40.8 7 N Y 1-0
Yds/Play 5.778 3 5.043 3 Y N 0-2
First Downs/Drive 1.78 6 2.56 7 N N 1-1
3rd/4th Down 46.2% 4 53.3% 6 N N 1-0
Avg Start Pos 20.1 8 28.2 5 N N 2-1
3 and Outs 4 5 1 7 N Y 2-0
RZ Eff 42.9% 7 60.7% 4 N N 2-0
Plays/Drive 6.000 5 7.778 7 N N 1-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.185 1 0.214 7 N N 2-0
RB Success 48.1% 6 62.2% 8 N N 0-1
Yds/Carry 3.44 8 4.45 6 N Y 3-1
Net Punts Yds/Game 34.50 6 50.40 7 N Y 1-2
Ranking - Week (8) 7 7 7
Ranking - Season (520) 180 433 343

Adjusted Stats for Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.8% 6 80.7% 7 N Y 2-0
ANPY/A 9.464 1 4.211 2 Y N 1-1
Turnovers -0.3 1 1.5 4 N N 0-1
Yds/Drive 39.98 1 39.84 8 N N 1-0
ToP/Drive 3:19.6 4 3:42.4 7 N Y 1-0
Yds/Play 6.353 2 5.084 3 Y N 0-2
First Downs/Drive 2.03 5 2.66 8 N N 1-1
3rd/4th Down 49.2% 4 53.5% 6 N N 1-0
Avg Start Pos 23.3 8 26.3 3 N N 2-1
3 and Outs 2.5 5 0.9 8 N Y 2-0
RZ Eff 47.0% 7 68.3% 5 N N 2-0
Plays/Drive 6.493 4 7.823 8 N N 1-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.258 3 0.086 8 N N 2-0
RB Success 52.0% 6 58.3% 6 N N 0-1
Yds/Carry 3.88 5 4.09 5 N Y 3-1
Net Punts Yds/Game 34.01 4 49.29 8 N Y 1-2
Ranking - Week (8) 2 6 6
Ranking - Season (520) 57 452 242

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts and the Jets split the top two stats, Drive Success Rate and Adjusted Passing Yards / Attempt, each going above average on both sides of the ball in one of the two stats. Since 2001, teams that were above average on both offense and defense in ANPY/A were 45-5 in the playoffs.  That's 90%.  Drive Success Rate is at 88.4%, so one of the two stats was getting a loss.
  • For the first time in 30+ games, the Colts lost when they didn't turn the ball over.  I'm not sure how many more kicks to the junk you can take, so I'll try not to add any more.
  • The Colts only made it to the red zone once in the game, kicking a Field Goal, which explains the low number there.  It made a difference in the game, no doubt.
  • RB Success rate was very good, even though the ranking is low.  It gives me hope that the Colts can run the ball going into 2011.
  • On defense, very few positives other than stopping the pass, which had more to do with a very inaccurate Mark Sanchez, and the fact the Jets could run it down the defense's throat the entire second half.
  • The Colts also didn't give up the big play, giving up a low Yards per Play.  Again, probably more having to do with all the runs, but I'm giving props out.
  • The Drive stats were atrocious on defense, which in my opinion is the main reason the Colts lost.  They couldn't get the Jets off the field and give the ball back to Manning and the offense.

Here are the same adjusted stats, but with ranks for all Playoff games played since 2001:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.8% 79 80.7% 193 N N 38-5
ANPY/A 9.464 29 4.211 84 Y N 45-5
Turnovers -0.31 15 1.50 107 N N 57-12
Yds/Drive 39.98 25 39.84 191 N N 30-5
ToP/Drive 3:19.6 38 3:42.4 192 N N 46-9
Yds/Play 6.353 37 5.084 116 Y N 25-16
First Downs/Drive 2.03 60 2.66 201 N N 29-9
3rd/4th Down 49.2% 65 53.5% 175 N N 39-13
Avg Start Pos 23.3 189 26.3 47 N N 52-10
3 and Outs 2.46 63 0.90 197 N N 30-15
RZ Eff 47.0% 171 68.3% 119 N Y 39-14
Plays/Drive 6.493 39 7.823 201 N N 36-15
Penalty Yds / Play 0.258 33 0.086 198 N N 32-20
RB Success 52.0% 67 58.3% 189 N N 26-22
Yds/Carry 3.88 108 4.09 109 N Y 26-24
Net Punts Yds/Game 34.01 147 49.29 203 N Y 24-25
Ranking - 206 Games 34 185 116

A couple things here:

  • I told you the Drive stats were atrocious.  All of them are ranked 190th or lower.  Anyone saying Peyton Manning is to blame now?
  • The Offense was pretty good despite scoring only 16 points.  I'll take that performance in every playoff game going forward.
  • The worst two field position games in the playoffs since 2001 were the last two Colts losses.  Well, it didn't get much better Saturday night.  Yelling from the mountain tops about getting Special Teams help will undoubtedly fall on deaf years once again, despite all the evidence in favor of it.

Week-by-Week Analysis:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Texans 68 469 270 169 394 296
2 Giants 77 42 13 21 30 6
3 Broncos 169 314 230 282 384 378
4 Jaguars 34 509 300 85 498 331
5 Chiefs 135 142 74 144 132 75
6 Redskins 234 170 159 214 247 216
7 BYE
8 Texans 66 153 51 157 54 38
9 Eagles 247 424 375 207 354 311
10 Bengals 364 146 241 337 109 190
11 Patriots 73 516 355 63 419 203
12 Chargers 437 309 455 389 211 355
13 Cowboys 219 442 373 255 408 370
14 Titans 42 419 196 43 482 264
15 Jaguars 179 303 228 284 236 277
16 Raiders 289 86 114 222 116 104
17 Titans 161 292 206 171 402 305
18 Jets 180 433 343 57 452 242

It was the third best offensive performance, and the third worst defensive performance of the season.  You can also tell the big difference when you adjust for the opponent.

I've updated the Winning Stats page, which has the final regular season stats for the league. I'll have a season review after the Super Bowl, where I'll talk about some trends from the season, best and worst games of the season, etc.  I'll also have a breakdown of 3rd Down plays, where we'll get to see just how good the Colts were on 3rd and 1 before Saturday night.

I'll be starting the improvement process for the Winning Stats sometime within the next month, and I'll be looking for your suggestions on different or new stats you think might work.  I have a couple in mind already, and I'll be writing about them during the offseason as well.

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