2012 NFL Week Fifteen: Inside The Colts Numbers

Bob Levey

The Colts three game winning streak comes to an end, but a few positive can be taken from their 29-17 loss to Houston.

The thought of the 2012 Colts pulling out every game they were within striking distance was nice, but it definitely hid the skids Sunday, losing to the Texans 29-17, delaying the potential playoff clinching for another week. With the Jets losing in the best Jets fashion possible last night, this scenario is now in effect, and there's virtually no chance of missing the playoffs now, even if they can't claim it quite yet. Even when the Colts do officially get that Playoff spot, games like Sunday don't give me the warm-and-fuzzies that they'll make it a game against anyone.

Head Coach Bruce Arians has seemingly hit all the right buttons since taking over after the bye week for Chuck Pagano, certainly enough for him to warrant a shot at being a head coach somewhere next year if he wants it. Every new coach goes through games like this, where they make some bone-headed decisions, and Arians certainly had his share Sunday. The play-calling was atrocious at times, playing right into the strengths of the Texans Defense, namely J.J. Watt. It was clear from the start the Offensive Line couldn't stop him for very long, but he insisted on continually calling long-developing plays, even when the short, quick passes worked as you might expect: quite well. Then it was the inexplicable carries given to Mewelde Moore at the goal line, which led to a fumble and a loss of points. At least he learned his lesson: Moore didn't carry the ball the rest of the way. The fact he's still on the roster still makes me uneasy though.

He also cost the Colts 15 yards for being on the field too much, a penalty that can be easily avoided. It worries me that every time they show him on TV, it looks like the referees have made the worst call ever, he's screaming his head off, and looking like he can't control his emotions. I know we here in Colts land are used to the Head Coach's biggest sign of frustration be blinking his eyes, but Arians seems to be on the complete opposite extreme, which is also not a good thing. I'm all for fighting for your players and letting the officials know when they are wrong, but Arians went enough over the line Sunday to get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which you hardly ever see.

A streak was dangerously close to expiring for WR Reggie Wayne, but on the last play of the game he caught his third pass, extending his streak of games with at least three catches to 62 games. Now, if that play had meant something I'm thinking it might have been reviewed, as I wasn't 100% positive he actually caught it, but the officials seemed to give him a pass on it, so the record lives on. It certainly didn't help my fantasy team, unfortunately.

There were a few positives to take from the game, which is good, but overall it was a below-average effort from the Colts. Let's dive in to see what good things they did, as well as the not-so-good.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 15:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 70.0% 13 72.7% 21 N N 6-2
ANPY/A 5.875 16 7.618 24 N N 9-1
Turnovers 1 9 0 25 N N 10-1
Yds/Drive 24.73 20 41.70 29 N Y 7-1
ToP/Drive 2:26.7 17 3:18.6 27 N Y 10-0
Yds/Play 4.772 22 6.318 28 N Y 4-0
Orange Zone Eff 35.7% 26 44.9% 9 N N 8-2
First Downs/Drive 1.73 15 2.30 28 N N 6-2
3rd/4th Down 12.5% 29 38.5% 23 N N 7-2
Avg Start Pos 28.1 17 21.2 6 N N 5-0
3 and Outs 3 8 1 30 N N 5-1
RZ Eff 47.6% 26 54.3% 12 N N 6-3
Plays/Drive 5.182 21 6.600 28 N Y 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.386 26 1.045 12 N N 3-4
RB Success 52.2% 10 46.9% 19 N N 1-5
Yds/Carry 4.96 8 5.56 27 N N 3-2
Ranking - Week (32) 17 26 23
Ranking - Season (448) 311 337 382

Adjusted Stats for Week 15:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 76.2% 9 73.0% 23 N N 6-2
ANPY/A 6.304 13 7.022 24 N N 9-1
Turnovers 0.7 7 0.6 23 N N 10-1
Yds/Drive 29.18 14 42.73 31 N Y 7-1
ToP/Drive 2:57.1 8 3:15.6 27 N Y 10-0
Yds/Play 4.985 21 6.308 30 N Y 4-0
Orange Zone Eff 35.5% 26 40.5% 8 N N 8-2
First Downs/Drive 2.06 8 2.36 29 N N 6-2
3rd/4th Down 23.4% 25 38.4% 22 N N 7-2
Avg Start Pos 27.7 28 21.3 17 N N 5-0
3 and Outs 2.1 7 0.8 32 N N 5-1
RZ Eff 49.5% 23 44.7% 7 N N 6-3
Plays/Drive 5.866 10 6.776 30 N Y 6-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.323 26 1.137 11 N N 3-4
RB Success 54.4% 7 49.0% 19 N N 1-5
Yds/Carry 4.90 12 5.57 30 N N 3-2
Ranking - Week (32) 14 27 23
Ranking - Season (448) 186 364 305

Some thoughts:

  • I know the Colts weren't turnover-free, but everyone who should be on the roster in Week 16 was turnover-free, something we haven't said for a really long time this season (Week 9). Andrew Luck ate the ball several times where in the past he'd tried to force a play, which was good to see. It's a good step in the right direction. Two weeks in the row, especially on the road, will make me feel much better.
  • The Colts Offense had decent success moving the ball Sunday, finishing 9th in Drive Success Rate at just over 76% (adjusted). They also did a decent job taking some time off the clock, as the Texans are one of the best teams in terms of drive stats in the NFL. It's why you see such a difference between the raw and adjusted stats.
  • Thanks in large part to the fumble at the goal line, the Orange and Red Zone numbers don't look good at all. The other big play was the 15 yard sack on the Colts 2nd drive, just after they crossed the 35 yard line. They ended up punting on the drive, but that could/should have been at least 3 points.
  • The Texans were best in the NFL on 3rd/4th down Defense, and it clearly showed, as the Colts were dreadful, one of their worst performances of the season. At least the one 3rd and short they ran on.
  • Vick Ballard had a really nice day, rushing for over 100 yards, and doing it with a pretty good Success Rate. It's a shame his coach couldn't get him a few more carries at the goal line.
  • One of the reasons the Colts were in the game as long as they were was due to the very good performance in the Orange/Red Zone, forcing six FGs (they did miss one before the half). What does that mean though? Texans had 10 drives, and seven of them were in scoring range. That's not good.
  • Those drive stats are not pretty at all, especially when you consider the Texans Offense is the epitome of league-average. Over 40 yards per drive, over six yards per play, almost seven plays per drive; it was bad. Your Colts 2012 Defense.
  • Even the run stopping, something the Colts have been good at this season, wasn't very good, especially in the 4th quarter. When the Colts needed a stop, they just couldn't do it Sunday.
  • I don't have any special teams stats, but the blocked punt clearly was a big play, and due to an injury. With Joe Lefeged out, Dwayne Allen had to step in there without any experience, and it cost the Colts. They preach "Next Man Up", and Allen owned the mistake after the game, but it was bad. On the flip side, however, is if that doesn't happen, there's almost certainly no 62 yard TD from Luck to T.Y. Hilton, as the Texans would have run the half out. So as bad as it was, probably wasn't a complete waste.

Season Stats through Week 15 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.4% 12 Patriots 73.8% 30 Cardinals 81-13 0.862
ANPY/A 5.077 21 Patriots 6.967 31 Bears 103-9 0.920
Turnovers 1.99 23 49ers 0.82 32 Bears 95-21 0.819
Yds/Drive 31.15 12 Patriots 34.57 31 Cardinals 69-18 0.793
ToP/Drive 2:49.0 7 Cowboys 2:51.0 27 Texans 88-20 0.815
Yds/Play 5.077 23 Redskins 5.898 31 49ers 63-23 0.733
Orange Zone Eff 49.5% 23 Saints 60.4% 31 Giants 88-21 0.807
First Downs/Drive 1.94 5 Patriots 1.90 31 Cardinals 67-25 0.728
3rd/4th Down 41.5% 10 Patriots 40.3% 23 Texans 78-26 0.750
Avg Start Pos 26.9 32 Bears 28.3 5 49ers 83-25 0.769
3 and Outs 3.20 8 Patriots 2.96 30 Cardinals 68-23 0.747
RZ Eff 65.2% 15 Saints 71.3% 28 Bears 77-32 0.706
Plays/Drive 6.158 3 Patriots 5.858 26 Cardinals 60-33 0.645
Penalty Yds / Play 0.729 6 Falcons 1.198 1 Colts 64-38 0.627
RB Success 42.7% 18 Patriots 41.6% 8 49ers 55-60 0.478
Yds/Carry 3.90 21 Vikings 4.50 28 49ers 56-54 0.509
Overall 13 Patriots 32 Cardinals

A couple thoughts:

  • Colts stayed pat on both sides of the ball. At this point in the season, it's going to take something drastic to change things. Destroying the hapless Chiefs might be just that.
  • You can see the Cardinals have the top Defense in the NFL, which is coupled with the worst Offense. Doesn't happen often, although the opposite happened in 2006 for the Colts.
  • Passing the ball / stopping the pass winning at 92% this season. Running the ball / stopping the run winning at 51%. Any questions?

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bears 331 300 366 214 345 311
2 Vikings 223 321 296 281 340 365
3 Jaguars 173 168 125 257 334 341
4 BYE
5 Packers 199 159 136 155 112 81
6 Jets 339 412 425 332 446 444
7 Browns 115 324 207 97 411 286
8 Titans 51 386 208 72 427 276
9 Dolphins 33 366 174 42 417 222
10 Jaguars 94 73 32 174 184 154
11 Patriots 220 442 406 213 394 368
12 Bills 190 183 152 294 198 277
13 Lions 285 195 261 286 170 232
14 Titans 237 197 213 321 275 357
15 Texans 311 337 382 186 364 305

Another week, another performance that statistically wasn't very good for the Colts, only this time they didn't find some way to win at the end. They have two weeks left to find a win somewhere, and I believe both are quite probable. The Chiefs are another level of bad, and if the Texans win this Sunday they'll have the top seed locked up, and will assuredly rest players. Factor in Chuck Pagano making his return to the sidelines, and it looks like the Colts will get one of these last two, if not both of them.

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