2011 NFL Week Thirteen: Inside The Colts Numbers

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 4: Reggie Wayne #87 of the Indianapolis Colts catches a pass against the defense of Kyle Arrington #24 of the New England Patriots in the second half at Gillette Stadium on December 4, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Do you remember now what a competent Offense looks like? There are quite a few positives we can take out of the 31-24 loss to the Patriots, but much like the news we received on Peyton Manning last week, those good feeling should be tempered a little based on circumstances. It doesn't mean you completely ignore the positives though, so let's talk about them.

The Colts scored touchdowns on three possessions in the fourth quarter, which was fun to watch. It was obvious the Patriots were playing the softest zone imaginable, but they weren't just standing still letting the Colts receivers fly behind them either. Two of the three drives had 15 and 11 plays to them, so the Offense still had to execute what they were doing, and not screw up (like the two times they did turn the ball over). While scoring TDs in garbage time is more of an expectation than something to get excited about, just showing some life, and the ability to actually do what an Offense should do against that kind of Defense, is a promising sign going forward.

The first quarter also saw a 19 play drive end in an Adam Vinatieri field goal, and I believe this was the longest drive, play-wise, of the season for the Colts, and I was really hoping it was going to end in a touchdown. Dan Orlovsky converted third downs of 9, 6, and 8 yards to keep the drive going, another foreign concept for the 2011 Colts. The 2nd and Goal pass to Jacob Tamme was open, it just looked like Orlovsky pushed it a little and came up a bit short, and the Patriots defender (I think it was Jerod Mayo) tipped it just enough for the incompletion. This was probably the best drive the Colts had had since the opening drive of the Kansas City game, or the game-tying drive in the 4th quarter against the Steelers.

Let's get to the numbers, which definitely made me smile when I initially saw them...

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 82.9% 4 84.8% 31 N N 7-1
ANPY/A 8.538 8 8.436 24 N N 7-1
Turnovers 2 22 0 22 N Y 9-0
Yds/Drive 48.56 2 40.22 28 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 3:57.7 1 2:42.3 15 Y N 7-1
Yds/Play 6.243 7 5.746 19 N N 5-1
First Downs/Drive 2.89 1 2.67 31 N N 3-3
3rd/4th Down 66.7% 1 54.5% 28 N N 6-2
Avg Start Pos 18.2 32 33.4 26 N Y 8-3
3 and Outs 3 10 3 14 N N 7-2
RZ Eff 81.0% 13 100.0% 25 N N 3-1
Plays/Drive 7.778 1 7.000 29 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.414 8 0.317 29 N N 4-4
RB Success 38.7% 25 52.2% 23 N Y 4-4
Yds/Carry 3.19 27 3.04 3 N N 5-3
Net Punts Yds/Game 41.67 18 41.50 12 N N 5-1
Ranking - Week (32) 4 30 18
Ranking - Season (384) 37 367 215

Adjusted Stats for Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 78.6% 7 75.6% 25 N N 7-1
ANPY/A 7.962 10 6.000 14 N N 7-1
Turnovers 1.9 26 0.2 25 N Y 9-0
Yds/Drive 40.17 3 30.81 16 N N 4-1
ToP/Drive 3:39.0 1 2:40.3 15 Y N 7-1
Yds/Play 5.602 14 4.882 10 N N 5-1
First Downs/Drive 2.43 2 2.03 28 N N 3-3
3rd/4th Down 61.3% 1 47.0% 24 N N 6-2
Avg Start Pos 20.4 32 33.4 30 N Y 8-3
3 and Outs 3.8 22 4.2 12 N N 7-2
RZ Eff 84.3% 9 91.0% 24 N N 3-1
Plays/Drive 7.033 2 6.263 27 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.308 3 0.431 27 N N 4-4
RB Success 36.3% 27 46.8% 17 N Y 4-4
Yds/Carry 3.27 26 3.35 6 N N 5-3
Net Punts Yds/Game 43.51 13 41.11 17 N N 5-1
Ranking - Week (32) 5 23 15
Ranking - Season (384) 59 290 144

Some thoughts:

  • No, those Offensive numbers are not typos. The Colts played the 5th best offensive game of the week on Sunday, again thanks to the prevent defense employed by the Patriots. The main thing I'm hoping for is that it built some confidence in everyone that they might just be able to move the football and score points, something they haven't been able to do for two months.
  • Two stats I've been murdering the Colts for months on are Time of Possession per Drive and Third/Fourth Down conversion percentage. Both stats this week were best in the NFL. For a team that is normally last, by a big margin, it's great to see that kind of improvement, even if it is just for one game. We'll see if they can keep that up.
  • Seriously, that Time of Possession per Drive number is amazing to see. The Colts season average coming in was 2 minutes, 8 seconds, and their best day was 2:39 per Drive against the Bengals, and they bested that by a full minute. A combination of running the football and converting third downs was the reason. Great work by the Colts.
  • Two second half turnovers were critical, and it's a shame to see Delone Carter fumble again. He's really going to have to work on that over the offseason, as that's something the Colts can ill-afford to happen when games matter. The Orlovsky INT was a nice play by Mayo, but I think he tried to squeeze it into too small of a window.
  • The running game wasn't as good as they've been all year, which is disappointing. Regardless, the Colts absolutely must continue to run the ball, and do it effectively, if the passing game is to have another day like Sunday. Orlovsky isn't nearly good enough to do it on his own, so he'll need Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, and the Offensive Line to help him out.
  • I've not mentioned the Colts Defense at all yet in this write-up, as I didn't want to bring myself down from the good feelings the offense gave me. And overall the defense wasn't terrible against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense, but giving up touchdowns on four straight possessions was killer. You can't expect to beat them when you do that.
  • The Defense didn't give up the big play, forcing them to move down the field slowly but surely, which is why you see Yards per Play at 10th best this week. Also the Time of Possession per Drive was above average, something else you don't see often. Part of that was that the Patriots went hurry-up, really confusing the Colts, and scoring TDs quickly at the end, so that's why I always remind you to read these stats with the proper context.
  • Overall, it's about all we could have asked out of the Colts defense, who played without Pat Angerer pretty much all day, and without Jerraud Powers for the entire second half.

Season Stats through Week 13 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 62.4% 29 Packers 73.9% 31 Bears 72-9 0.889
ANPY/A 4.311 28 Packers 7.329 32 Texans 89-16 0.848
Turnovers 2.19 29 49ers 1.14 31 Packers 86-18 0.827
Yds/Drive 24.16 26 Saints 31.78 25 Texans 65-15 0.813
ToP/Drive 2:16.0 31 Steelers 3:01.0 31 Texans 89-15 0.856
Yds/Play 4.778 24 Saints 5.464 24 Ravens 59-14 0.808
First Downs/Drive 1.34 26 Patriots 1.87 27 Bears 61-21 0.744
3rd/4th Down 34.9% 22 Saints 47.8% 32 Lions 77-20 0.794
Avg Start Pos 25.9 32 49ers 33.6 29 49ers 73-19 0.793
3 and Outs 5.05 28 Saints 3.36 23 Bengals 68-18 0.791
RZ Eff 50.5% 29 Titans 79.5% 30 49ers 70-27 0.722
Plays/Drive 5.077 28 Saints 5.773 27 Texans 51-25 0.671
Penalty Yds / Play 0.583 2 Packers 0.726 26 Ravens 48-48 0.500
RB Success 44.1% 20 Saints 49.8% 28 49ers 41-49 0.456
Yds/Carry 4.23 12 Eagles 4.03 15 Falcons 44-48 0.478
Net Punts Yds/Game 38.93 10 Saints 40.49 28 Bears 53-35 0.602
Overall 30 Packers 32 Texans

Couple thoughts:

  • The Colts offense has moved out of the basement, passing both the Rams and Chiefs after Sunday. Clearly one game isn't enough to say they are a "good" offense, but it's a positive sign. More games like Sunday will change that tune.
  • Defense still last, but don't face a top-flight offense the rest of the way, so let's hope for some improvement under new Coordinator Mike Murphy.

Week by Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Texans 322 290 355 222 235 251
2 Browns 304 264 331 354 273 364
3 Steelers 314 214 317 330 82 213
4 Buccaneers 276 330 352 327 364 370
5 Chiefs 113 366 282 95 384 336
6 Bengals 259 262 291 193 314 294
7 Saints 347 384 384 365 383 384
8 Titans 325 182 300 348 199 337
9 Falcons 377 301 378 378 260 375
10 Jaguars 371 167 348 353 287 368
11 BYE
12 Panthers 285 311 347 349 253 355
13 Patriots 37 367 215 59 290 144

It was the best overall game of the season for the Colts, by a pretty significant margin, as well as the best offensive game of the season. Orlovsky and the rest of the Offense will certainly be tested the final four weeks of the season, as three of the games are against teams I have ranked in the top 7 defensively (the Titans are 21st).

It's not going to be easy to replicate the success of Sunday, and honestly I'm not expecting any game to be this good the rest of the way. However, I'm also not expecting anything like the previous five games the Colts played, all of which fell in the worst 10% of games played this season. I don't think that is too much to expect.

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