NFL Week Four: Inside The Colts Numbers

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 03: Tight end Kellen Winslow #82 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is brought down by Safety Antoine Bethea #41 of the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium on October 3, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

After letting the 24-17 loss by the Colts to the Buccaneers sink in a little bit, sending the Colts to their first 0-4 start since 1998, Peyton Manning's rookie campaign, I've started to notice that unfortunately effort and heart can certainly skew your observations of what is happening on the field. For the second consecutive week, we all saw the Colts leave everything out on the field, only to lose in the fourth quarter, a sight we're used to seeing reversed. It's frustrating to watch not because of the loss itself, but to see everyone on the team bust their ass and come up short. You feel for these guys, but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, at least for 2011.

I think some of the baffling coaching decisions could be there own post, so I won't get into too many of them here, but wanted to point out where I thought the Colts did way more harm than good, despite the short-term success. The Bucs had just driven 81 yards for a Touchdown, taking up almost five minutes. You could tell the Colts were trying to run some clock, but the running game basically vanished once Anthony Castonzo left with an ankle injury. A three and out forced the Colts defense right back out onto the field.

Eight of the nine plays in the two minute drill for Tampa Bay were dump-offs over the middle, gaining 8-13 yards. I understand the "keep everything in front of you" philosophy at the end of games, but letting the Bucs do this, despite Robert Mathis playing Superman yet again at the end of the drive, gassed a depleted defensive line. It was eight plays of the D-Line going full-out at the QB, only to not come anywhere close as he had a simple dump off two seconds in. They never recovered. Try something different to try and get them off the field, potentially saving your defense for later on in the game.

A few notes before we get to the stats:

  • Elias: Curtis Painter now holds the third longest first career TD pass, at 87 yards. Only Neil O'Donnell (89) and Charlie Batch (98) have longer touchdowns on their first career TD tosses.
  • Elias: When you include his second TD pass of 59 yards, he became the first player since Jeff Blake in 1994 to throw two 50+ TD passes in his first career start. I'm not sure it's a good thing, however, to be compared to Jeff Blake in anything.
  • Painter became the 10th Colt to make his first career start in the Indianapolis era, and was the 9th to lose his first start. The only winner was Chris Chandler back in 1998. Yikes. Painter was the only one of the 10 to throw two TD passes though.
  • Kavell Conner had 18 tackles, a career high, and just two short of Pat Angerer's 20 from a week ago. That's what happens when your opponent runs 77 plays.

Let's get to the unpretty stats after the jump...

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 4:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 62.5% 26 75.7% 24 N Y 4-2
ANPY/A 8.706 5 7.171 19 N N 5-1
Turnovers 1 8 0 26 N N 5-3
Yds/Drive 28.91 24 38.83 23 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 1:54.5 30 3:15.0 27 N Y 5-2
Yds/Play 6.115 14 6.052 18 N N 4-1
First Downs/Drive 1.18 28 2.08 24 N Y 3-2
3rd/4th Down 30.8% 25 47.4% 24 N Y 8-1
Avg Start Pos 21.5 29 28.9 20 N N 3-4
3 and Outs 4 15 4 9 N N 4-2
RZ Eff 0.0% 32 81.0% 25 N Y 7-2
Plays/Drive 4.727 29 6.417 25 N Y 3-4
Penalty Yds / Play 0.962 23 1.377 3 N N 2-6
RB Success 38.9% 26 45.5% 12 N N 2-4
Yds/Carry 3.44 26 5.33 23 N Y 3-4
Net Punts Yds/Game 41.50 18 44.00 21 N N 4-1
Ranking - Week (32) 27 26 32
Ranking - Season (128) 95 111 120

Adjusted Stats for Week 4:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 57.0% 31 75.4% 23 N Y 4-2
ANPY/A 6.074 17 8.937 26 N N 5-1
Turnovers 1.0 9 0.6 24 N N 5-3
Yds/Drive 20.69 29 37.30 23 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 1:32.4 32 2:52.6 22 N Y 5-2
Yds/Play 5.311 24 6.452 21 N N 4-1
First Downs/Drive 0.69 32 1.91 20 N Y 3-2
3rd/4th Down 31.1% 24 43.1% 20 N Y 8-1
Avg Start Pos 25.9 19 30.0 25 N N 3-4
3 and Outs 5.3 29 3.5 18 N N 4-2
RZ Eff 13.1% 32 78.3% 22 N Y 7-2
Plays/Drive 4.034 32 5.736 17 N Y 3-4
Penalty Yds / Play 1.023 24 1.063 8 N N 2-6
RB Success 39.2% 25 38.4% 5 N N 2-4
Yds/Carry 4.32 24 4.19 15 N Y 3-4
Net Punts Yds/Game 40.60 21 41.07 16 N N 4-1
Ranking - Week (32) 31 27 32
Ranking - Season (128) 118 112 125

Some thoughts:

  • Like I said earlier, I wouldn't have guessed that statistically the Colts played the worst game of the week in the NFL, but that's exactly what happened. It's actually a testament to the players they were even in a game where they were thoroughly outplayed on paper. If the sides were reversed, the Manning-led Colts would have won this game by four touchdowns.
  • Thanks to the two long touchdowns, the ANPY/A looks great. However, the Tampa Defense is worst in the league in that stat, so it should have been expected to be good, and the reason the adjusted number doesn't look so hot.
  • Other than the two long touchdowns, the offense really struggled staying on the field. Nine of their 11 drives were 5 plays or less (including the 2 TDs), which didn't help the defense rest up one bit. The Time of Possession per Drive was under two minutes, and you can't expect your defense to hold up when they have to go right back out there after such a short break.
  • Until the long run at the end by LeGarrette Blount, the Colts had a pretty good day stopping the run, and the RB Success rate shows it, ranking 5th in the league this week. Nothing else the Colts did defensively was really even average.
  • The Red Zone was another long night for the Colts, especially given the fact Tampa wasn't very good in the Red Zone so far this season. The Colts offense didn't run a play in the Red Zone, which is why you see the 0% for them.
  • The running game completely collapsed, like I mentioned above, when Anthony Castonzo left the game in the second quarter. Joseph Addai was finding daylight, and the Offensive Line was getting a nice push. However, once Castonzo left, they couldn't run the ball at all, and stopped even trying to in the second half, only running the ball 5 times in the second half.

Season Stats through Week 4 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 60.4% 29 Packers 70.1% 20 Ravens 21-5 0.808
ANPY/A 4.072 24 Titans 6.890 25 Ravens 27-6 0.818
Turnovers 2.05 20 Raiders 1.63 17 Bills 25-9 0.735
Yds/Drive 20.99 30 Patriots 30.47 20 Jets 19-5 0.792
ToP/Drive 1:58.0 32 Chargers 3:00.0 28 Lions 26-7 0.788
Yds/Play 4.443 27 Patriots 5.293 22 Ravens 20-5 0.800
First Downs/Drive 1.15 30 Chargers 1.67 17 Bears 19-10 0.655
3rd/4th Down 28.6% 29 Saints 47.2% 26 Bears 27-6 0.818
Avg Start Pos 29.6 22 Ravens 34.8 29 Bengals 22-10 0.688
3 and Outs 4.98 28 Eagles 3.30 22 Bears 17-10 0.630
RZ Eff 35.4% 31 Giants 64.2% 15 Panthers 24-8 0.750
Plays/Drive 4.880 28 Chargers 5.692 21 Jets 17-11 0.607
Penalty Yds / Play 0.573 4 Saints 0.675 22 Broncos 17-16 0.515
RB Success 49.3% 15 Bengals 37.6% 5 Packers 12-15 0.444
Yds/Carry 3.97 16 Vikings 3.40 9 Vikings 9-15 0.375
Net Punts Yds/Game 34.14 29 Saints 37.19 10 Saints 17-15 0.531
Overall 31 Packers 22 Jets

A couple thoughts:

  • The only thing the Offense is doing really well is not committing penalties, which isn't anything to celebrate. It should be expected. To win in the NFL, you have to be able to sustain drives, and you have to do that by throwing the football. The Colts, save two plays last night, haven't been able to do either.
  • The Defense has been terrific stopping the run, but are now giving up chunks of yards in the passing game, which leads directly to losses. Look at the Win/Loss record for the two rushing stats when teams are above average on both sides of the ball. A combined 21-30.
  • Overall the Colts sit at 30th overall, only ahead of the Chiefs and Seahawks. Top 5 teams overall are Packers, Saints, Ravens, Cowboys, and Lions.

Week by Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Texans 112 99 122 107 76 112
2 Browns 106 89 112 108 102 123
3 Steelers 108 65 108 113 63 111
4 Buccaneers 95 111 120 118 112 125

Overall, this was the worst game played by the Colts all season, which I really hate to see with all the effort and heart these guys showed last night. It also shows us that despite that it might have looked like Curtis Painter played better than Kerry Collins, I think he played right about to the same level, which at this point I'll take. I do think the effort by the entire offense is more noticeable for Painter, which means he should be the starter going forwards, even if Collins is healthy. The injury issues to both Castonzo and Ben Ijalana played a big role tonight as well.

It's Painter's team now. Let's hope these numbers improve. What I do know is that the numbers won't stay at these levels due to lack of effort. These guys want to win. It's just unfortunate that the effort comes up empty.

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