NFL Week Three: Inside The Colts Numbers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 25: Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers gets tackled after making a reception by Pat Angerer #51 of the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 23-20. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

I anxiously awaited the finish of the Monday night game last night, as I wanted to really see how well the Colts played yesterday. They certainly gave maximum effort, which was great to see, and they made some great plays, including forcing three Steeler turnovers, but when we stepped back, looked at the entire game, did our eyes deceive us? Were the things the Colts did well Sunday night the things that really don't help you win games? Are the Steelers not even close to the same team as a year ago?

I'll tell you what I think I saw. I thought the defense gave up too many 12-15 yard pass plays early on, with nobody remotely close to the receiver. Overall, though, I thought they played pretty well except for two plays: the long TD to Mike Wallace, and the 3rd and 18 conversion they gave up in the third quarter that led to a field goal right after that.

Worth noting on that third down as well, and Cris Collinsworth pointed it out during the game...Why were the Colts running that big sweeping stunt, effectively taking Robert Mathis out of the play? Polian mentioned this on his radio show last night, and correctly pointed out that they ran this same stunt on Mathis's strip-sack. But in watching the play over again, Dwight Freeney is the one stunting on the fumble play, and he's nowhere near the QB. Mathis blows right by the coverage, and gets to Roethlisberger, who stepped up right into where Freeney should have been rushing the passer. It worked the first time despite the stunt, and they ran it two more times on big third down plays, and it failed miserably. Hopefully we don't see it again.

Here's a couple notes from the game:

  • For the first time since November 11, 2001, the starting quarterback for the Colts had to leave the field for an injury. That was, up until this season, the only play of Peyton Manning's career that he had missed, when Lorenzo Bromell of the Dolphins broke his jaw, Mark Rypien came in, and immediately fumbled the handoff to Dominic Rhodes.
  • Colts.com: Reggie Wayne caught his 800th pass of his career, which has him 24th on the all-time list. It was also the 83rd straight game he's caught a pass.
  • Colts.com: Colts LB Pat Angerer had 20 tackles Sunday night, which, as far as I can tell, is the fourth most in a game since 1999, when tackles first starting being recorded. The link I found actually gave him 21, so I'm not sure where they get their data from. Regardless, he's way up there. I also find it interesting that the top 5 games all came in losses. It looks like David Thornton had the most before that for the Colts with 16.

How well did the Colts play? Stats after the jump...

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 3:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 57.7% 29 66.7% 15 N N 3-0
ANPY/A 3.512 26 7.900 27 N Y 6-3
Turnovers 1 6 3 2 Y N 6-3
Yds/Drive 20.08 30 37.09 24 N Y 5-1
ToP/Drive 2:10.2 28 3:05.3 27 N Y 7-3
Yds/Play 3.887 29 6.000 24 N Y 5-0
First Downs/Drive 1.17 29 1.73 19 N Y 4-3
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 9 53.3% 29 N N 3-2
Avg Start Pos 28.3 15 25.7 11 N N 6-3
3 and Outs 6 27 3 18 N Y 5-4
RZ Eff 61.9% 17 21.4% 2 N N 5-1
Plays/Drive 5.167 24 6.182 24 N Y 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.339 3 0.559 24 N N 4-4
RB Success 47.6% 5 30.8% 7 Y N 2-6
Yds/Carry 4.62 5 2.39 6 Y N 2-4
Net Punts Yds/Game 35.14 25 36.67 11 N N 3-5
Ranking - Week (32) 28 21 29
Ranking - Season (96) 79 53 79

Adjusted Stats for Week 3:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 62.8% 27 66.3% 13 N N 3-0
ANPY/A 3.493 26 6.055 18 N Y 6-3
Turnovers 2.3 27 1.1 18 Y N 6-3
Yds/Drive 21.64 27 32.20 21 N Y 5-1
ToP/Drive 1:56.6 29 3:08.5 28 N Y 7-3
Yds/Play 4.048 28 5.024 13 N Y 5-0
First Downs/Drive 1.36 24 1.69 16 N Y 4-3
3rd/4th Down 35.6% 17 41.5% 20 N N 3-2
Avg Start Pos 27.7 18 31.0 25 N N 6-3
3 and Outs 5.6 30 3.6 17 N Y 5-4
RZ Eff 70.7% 14 51.2% 9 N N 5-1
Plays/Drive 5.215 22 6.249 26 N Y 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.032 1 0.555 25 N N 4-4
RB Success 56.6% 2 33.4% 12 Y N 2-6
Yds/Carry 4.14 12 3.18 12 Y N 2-4
Net Punts Yds/Game 35.53 25 30.30 2 N N 3-5
Ranking - Week (32) 28 20 29
Ranking - Season (96) 84 54 82

Some thoughts:

  • The defensive numbers don't look as good as I was hoping, but they certainly weren't bad. Time of Possession wasn't good (nothing new there), and the Steelers had a lot of Plays per Drive, but those were the only really bad stats. Improvement seen.
  • The Colts were excellent in the Red Zone, holding the Steelers to two Field Goal attempts, and they actually missed one, making it even better. If this can continue, I think the Colts will have chances to win a few games.
  • This game was also the perfect poster child for why this league is no longer a "Run the ball / Stop the Run", but a "Pass the ball / Stop the Pass" league. The Colts were excellent running the ball and stopping the run, but it didn't matter when they couldn't pass the ball, or stop the Steelers from passing. It's good to see the Colts control the line of scrimmage, but unfortunately this isn't the 1970s any more.
  • The Offense was bad. Only one drive of over 50 yards out of 11, and it was the final one of the game. I do like the improvement on 3rd/4th down, so it's something to build on. But if the Colts continue to be ineffective throwing the ball, they won't win many games, no matter how well the defense may play.

Season Stats through Week 3 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 61.6% 27 Packers 71.0% 22 Bears 17-3 0.850
ANPY/A 3.624 26 Cowboys 5.697 19 Jets 22-5 0.815
Turnovers 1.70 18 Raiders 1.66 16 49ers 20-6 0.769
Yds/Drive 22.52 28 Patriots 31.70 22 Jaguars 16-4 0.800
ToP/Drive 2:12.0 28 Chargers 3:20.0 30 Jets 21-5 0.808
Yds/Play 3.954 30 Patriots 4.793 10 Jaguars 16-4 0.800
First Downs/Drive 1.37 25 Chargers 1.86 25 Jaguars 16-8 0.667
3rd/4th Down 21.1% 31 Saints 49.6% 28 Jets 19-5 0.792
Avg Start Pos 29.6 18 49ers 33.4 25 Bengals 19-6 0.760
3 and Outs 5.39 29 Eagles 3.64 20 Bears 13-8 0.619
RZ Eff 55.8% 24 Giants 68.3% 20 Panthers 17-6 0.739
Plays/Drive 5.522 17 Chargers 6.398 29 Jets 14-7 0.667
Penalty Yds / Play 0.287 2 Bengals 0.288 31 Broncos 15-10 0.600
RB Success 60.7% 3 Saints 45.9% 19 Packers 10-11 0.476
Yds/Carry 4.31 13 Vikings 3.76 14 Chargers 6-11 0.353
Net Punts Yds/Game 33.86 27 Dolphins 35.25 7 Saints 13-14 0.481
Overall 28 Saints 27 Jets

Couple thoughts:

  • The Colts really are running the ball quite well, which is a testament to both the RBs (Joseph Addai and Delone Carter) and the Offensive Line, who manhandled a Steelers defense, who last season gave up the third fewest rushing yards per game in NFL history. Unfortunately there isn't much else that's going well. It's just sad to look at.
  • The Defense has a few weak spots, which we talked about earlier with Time of Possession and 3rd/4th Downs, but they are getting better. If they can continue to force turnovers, they'll stay in games.

Week by Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Texans 83 75 90 71 71 81
2 Browns 76 68 83 83 86 93
3 Steelers 79 53 79 84 54 82

A little improvement from last week, thanks to the Defense. Once the Offense shows some life, I think we'll see a win or two. Until then, it's going to be a struggle to find wins.

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