2012 NFL Week Seven: Inside The Colts Numbers

Jonathan Daniel

It wasn't pretty, but the Colts got the job done, despite really struggling on Defense once again. And that Andrew Luck guy? He's pretty good, especially when he gets some help from his running game.

Thankfully for the Colts, aesthetics don't count for anything in the NFL. Sunday's 17-13 victory over the Browns might not have been pretty to watch, the end result is all that matters for this young team, moving their season record to 3-3.

Due to traveling and family obligations, I only watched a little bit of the game, but had it on in the background and on the radio while driving home from the airport, so I can't give a lot of specific examples from the game Sunday. Of the things I did notice, Will Wolford was very complimentary of the running game Sunday, making a comment in the second quarter about how a 2 yard gain was one of their worst runs of the game, but was for positive yardage. I know how announcers tend to exaggerate things, and sometimes think they see things when they really don't, but as you'll see with the numbers, the ground game for the Colts was really improved this week. Both Vick Ballard and Delone Carter made timely contributions, but my guess is the Offensive Line really improved this week, causing the spike in production. Just a guess though.

Enough also cannot be said about the job Andrew Luck is doing running the Colts Offense. We're all used to seeing the Colts QB covering up gaping holes in the Offense, but it's amazing to see what he can do with such limited resources. Yes the fumble was bad, especially because of when it happened in the game, but ultimately didn't end up hurting the Colts, thanks to a cowardly call by Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur, which he actually defended later. I'm glad he did, as it clearly was in the Colts favor, and there's hope the Browns new owner could make an example of this, as he was visibly pissed on TV they were punting in that situation. More on why the decision was ridiculous in the stats.

One note about the dueling rookie QBs from Sunday from Elias: It was only the second time in NFL history two rookie QBs both threw at least 25 passes without an interception. Brandon Weeden probably should have had one, if not for Jerraud Powers and Antoine Bethea running into each other, but still worth noting. More talk on the Colts and Turnovers with the stats.

How did the stats look from Sunday? Let's take a look:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 7:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 76.7% 9 72.4% 13 N N 3-2
ANPY/A 5.406 15 7.415 23 N Y 3-1
Turnovers 1 7 0 21 N N 5-2
Yds/Drive 35.67 11 31.90 11 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 3:55.7 1 2:27.9 7 Y N 6-2
Yds/Play 4.652 20 5.500 16 N Y 3-2
Orange Zone Eff 60.7% 13 100.0% 25 N N 2-2
First Downs/Drive 2.33 5 1.90 12 N N 3-2
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 11 42.9% 13 N N 3-0
Avg Start Pos 24.1 20 21.2 4 N N 5-1
3 and Outs 3 11 3 11 N N 3-1
RZ Eff 81.0% 8 100.0% 20 N N 3-1
Plays/Drive 7.667 1 5.800 9 N N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.725 13 1.293 2 Y N 6-1
RB Success 62.9% 4 37.5% 5 Y N 2-4
Yds/Carry 4.00 16 3.24 7 N N 2-3
Ranking - Week (26) 9 16 13
Ranking - Season (208) 49 146 95

Adjusted Stats for Week 7:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 74.9% 12 81.9% 24 N N 3-2
ANPY/A 5.413 12 8.982 24 N Y 3-1
Turnovers 0.8 7 -0.4 26 N N 5-2
Yds/Drive 33.48 14 39.03 21 N N 3-1
ToP/Drive 3:39.2 1 3:05.6 19 Y N 6-2
Yds/Play 4.629 22 6.044 19 N Y 3-2
Orange Zone Eff 64.8% 8 95.4% 26 N N 2-2
First Downs/Drive 2.19 4 2.45 23 N N 3-2
3rd/4th Down 42.8% 11 50.7% 21 N N 3-0
Avg Start Pos 23.3 21 20.9 3 N N 5-1
3 and Outs 3.0 13 1.4 24 N N 3-1
RZ Eff 84.0% 6 105.7% 25 N N 3-1
Plays/Drive 7.250 1 6.636 21 N N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.601 8 0.983 6 Y N 6-1
RB Success 60.8% 6 46.1% 11 Y N 2-4
Yds/Carry 3.94 18 4.31 12 N N 2-3
Ranking - Week (26) 11 25 20
Ranking - Season (208) 57 198 163

Some thoughts:

  • Long, time-consuming drives were the name of the game for the Colts offense Sunday, nearing taking up four minutes each time they possessed the ball. This make Shurmur's decision to punt with 6:30 to go even more asinine, as before that drive, the Colts would have been over four minutes per drive, on average, against his defense. It's amazing coaches make these kinds of decisions.
  • I mentioned the running game above, who had an adjusted RB Success Rate over 60%, 6th in the league this week. Excellent work. The Yards per Carry isn't all that great, but remember a 2 yard run on 3rd, or 4th and short, is much better than 7 yards on 3rd and 9.
  • The Colts Offense gave the Colts Defense long fields to try and stop the Browns, as they started their drives, on average, from the 21 yard line. However, all the Browns did was use that extra space to carve up the Colts defense.
  • For really the third consecutive week, the Defense was handing out touchdowns every time their opponent crossed their 35 yard line. Usually a team gets stiffer once they have less ground to cover, but the opposite seems true with the Colts. Have no idea why, but it is very concerning.
  • The Colts did commit to stopping the run, doing an admirable job there. In doing so, it put their CBs and their LBs into single coverage, and Weeden made them pay. The biggest play was quite the break for the Colts, as Josh Gordon got behind Powers, but flat dropped the ball as he was walking into the end zone. It's hard to know if that would definitely lost the game for the Colts, but it clearly wouldn't have helped.
  • This was also a rare game where passing the ball above league average, and defending the pass above league average got you a loss, but it happened to the Browns. On the season, teams are now 48-5 when they do that. I'll certainly take it.

Season Stats through Week 7 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 69.7% 14 Broncos 74.9% 30 49ers 35-7 0.833
ANPY/A 5.815 16 Packers 7.333 29 Bears 48-5 0.906
Turnovers 1.71 18 Packers 0.62 32 Bears 41-10 0.804
Yds/Drive 29.24 16 Broncos 30.58 22 Texans 35-10 0.778
ToP/Drive 2:43.0 14 Steelers 2:35.0 10 Texans 43-14 0.754
Yds/Play 5.034 24 Giants 5.867 27 49ers 31-13 0.705
Orange Zone Eff 50.7% 22 Packers 70.0% 31 Bears 41-10 0.804
First Downs/Drive 1.74 13 Patriots 1.71 17 Cardinals 34-13 0.723
3rd/4th Down 38.0% 20 Steelers 41.8% 21 Texans 31-17 0.646
Avg Start Pos 27.9 29 Giants 30.6 16 Broncos 35-13 0.729
3 and Outs 3.03 7 Broncos 4.02 11 Texans 35-16 0.686
RZ Eff 61.3% 23 Packers 83.6% 30 Bears 35-17 0.673
Plays/Drive 5.915 6 Broncos 5.310 8 Texans 32-14 0.696
Penalty Yds / Play 0.696 10 Falcons 1.187 2 Packers 30-17 0.638
RB Success 37.9% 28 Bills 49.2% 27 Seahawks 29-35 0.453
Yds/Carry 3.63 25 Redskins 4.93 30 Buccaneers 29-25 0.537
Overall 17 Giants 29 Bears

A couple things:

  • The biggest, and most crucial stat in this entire table is the Defensive Turnovers. The Colts have only 3 in six games, which is absolutely dreadful. I don't think it is a lack of taking chances, as seen by their below-average Yards/Play stat, but a little more pointed aggression could probably be done. It's one of the most important things in football at any level. It needs to be corrected.
  • The Offense is right around league average, which I'll gladly take at this point in the season. I know they'll keep improving as the year goes on, and these numbers will get better.

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bears 158 131 173 72 134 91
2 Vikings 107 148 136 120 149 151
3 Jaguars 86 74 55 129 165 169
5 Packers 100 72 65 74 29 29
6 Jets 167 185 199 185 203 207
7 Browns 49 146 95 57 198 163

Sunday was the best the Offense has looked this year, which is great to see. It's also becoming apparent that the Packers game on Defense was a huge outlier, as every other game is in the same ballpark as each other, and not very good. Assuredly the return of Robert Mathis will help, but I have to think it's more than one player making this difference. Either way, it is showing the importance of the guy most people feel needs another All-Pro on the other side of the line to be productive. It's probably not a coincidence the only game they both played the majority of the game was against the Packers.

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