2012 NFL Week Two: Inside The Colts Numbers

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 16: Adam Vinatieri #4 of the Indianapolis Colts and Pat McAfee #1 celebrate after Vinatieri made the game winning 53 yard field goal during the NFL game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Colts won 23-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It's good to know the 2012 Colts are already three months ahead of the 2011 version. Sunday afternoon marked the first win in the Andrew Luck era, including a Game-Winning drive in under 30 seconds, a 23-20 victory against the Minnesota Vikings at Lucas Oil Stadium.

My ability to watch the game was entirely dependent on the shoddy Internet at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, so I can't give a lot of definitive opinions of the game, but I do have a couple bigger picture ones. First off, the offensive play-calling in the second half was incredibly conservative, and easily could have cost the Colts the game. Either you trust your rookie QB to keep doing what he did to build the league, or don't go on and on about how you've given him "the whole playbook". I hope the coaching staff figures that out after Sunday without it really costing the Colts.

Secondly, the Colts need to quicken the pace on offense, including running some no-huddle as their base-offense. The offensive line needs any advantage they can get, and if they can keep some tired big guys up front on the field, it might open some holes for the running backs, and might let Luck stand in the pocket, rather than having to flee almost immediately. One only has to look at the drive at the end of the first half to see how Luck would fare in the no-huddle. I'm hoping to get a post tomorrow about the touchdown throw, as it's a throw you almost never see in college, and you only see the top-level QBs make in the NFL.

I've seen and heard some debate about the last drive of the game, and whether the old coaching staff would have made the same decision to try and get in field goal range, or just sit on it and play for overtime. I think with Peyton Manning, they assuredly would have tried for points, but last season we would not have seen it, and probably wouldn't have seen it with a rookie either. It makes the second half play-calling even more puzzling if they trust Luck to try and score in final 30 seconds.

Thankfully for the Colts they did go for the points, but that final sequence of events was quite bizarre. First, why did the Colts take the five yard penalty when the play resulted in an 8 yard gain? The downs didn't matter, and they clearly had tons of time to line up and spike the ball after they would have wound the clock. Instead, they accepted the penalty, making the final FG longer than it should have been, then Luck spiked the ball when the clock had been stopped. However, Adam Vinatieri bailed them out, drilling a 52 yarder with 8 seconds left. Elias has a couple interesting factoids from that drive:

  • The field goal by Vinatieri tied the longest game-winning kick in his career, which came against the Patriots in 2008. He's still money when he's needed the most.
  • The final drive, a game-winning one in the final minute in September by a rookie, was a first since a guy named Manning did it. No, not Peyton or Eli, but their father Archie way back in 1971. Yes, Luck has already done something that hasn't been done in 40 years.

Luck said he was more relieved than anything to get that first win, so that it doesn't hover over the team like it did last year. Just how well did the Colts play statistically? Let find out. I'm going to include the adjusted numbers, but it's way too premature to make too many sweeping statements as if the league has evened out. It needs at least a few more weeks before I'll trust it wholly.

Non-Adjusted Stats from Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 70.4% 20 72.4% 15 N N 8-0
ANPY/A 7.091 11 6.974 20 N N 8-0
Turnovers 0 1 1 13 N N 4-2
Yds/Drive 27.80 23 32.70 17 N Y 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:57.8 9 3:02.2 25 N N 6-0
Yds/Play 4.413 27 5.031 14 N N 3-0
Orange Zone Eff 71.4% 11 71.4% 16 N N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 1.70 20 1.90 17 N N 8-2
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 12 50.0% 24 N N 7-3
Avg Start Pos 23.5 26 31.4 27 N Y 5-2
3 and Outs 4 16 2 26 N Y 8-3
RZ Eff 61.9% 20 81.0% 22 N Y 3-5
Plays/Drive 6.300 10 6.500 25 N N 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.810 15 1.615 5 Y N 5-1
RB Success 23.1% 30 45.8% 16 N Y 4-8
Yds/Carry 2.80 29 3.65 12 N N 3-3
Ranking - Week (32) 18 21 20
Ranking - Season (64) 36 43 40

Adjusted Stats from Week 2:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 76.7% 9 72.6% 16 N N 8-0
ANPY/A 6.124 17 8.459 26 N N 8-0
Turnovers 1.3 14 -0.9 29 N N 4-2
Yds/Drive 27.12 22 29.37 16 N Y 5-2
ToP/Drive 1:53.8 30 2:43.8 16 N N 6-0
Yds/Play 5.433 18 5.738 18 N N 3-0
Orange Zone Eff 122.3% 1 68.1% 18 N N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 1.93 16 1.69 14 N N 8-2
3rd/4th Down 37.8% 17 30.0% 8 N N 7-3
Avg Start Pos 17.1 30 27.7 16 N Y 5-2
3 and Outs 5.8 29 4.8 10 N Y 8-3
RZ Eff 106.8% 3 102.5% 30 N Y 3-5
Plays/Drive 4.597 25 5.244 12 N N 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.716 12 1.580 5 Y N 5-1
RB Success 29.1% 28 25.0% 3 N Y 4-8
Yds/Carry 4.59 14 3.62 15 N N 3-3
Ranking - Week (32) 17 18 18
Ranking - Season (64) 34 39 38

Some thoughts:

  • I said before the game that job 1 was to limit turnovers, and the Colts certainly did that Sunday. They also got one of their own, a strip sack by Jerrell Freeman, which turned into 3 points.
  • Overall, however, the Vikings played a better game statistically than the Colts did, but it's hardly rare for that to happen in today's NFL. Obviously you love the win, but see there is still a lot of work to be done.
  • Again, the adjusted stats are highly volatile at this point, but that doesn't mean we can't point out areas where the Colts are excelling, like our new stat Orange Zone Efficiency. It won't stay that much over 100% for long, but interesting to note how well the Colts are doing scored points when they should, against a team that was good last week limiting points inside the 35.
  • The Defense stopped the run really well (3rd in RB Success Rate), but didn't run the ball offensively (28th). We'll put about 80% of the blame on the offensive line, and I sense we'll see a trend throughout the year of struggles running the football. But a great job on one of the league's best RBs, even at the expense of my fantasy team.

Season Stats through Week 2 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 73.6% 10 49ers 71.4% 17 Texans 12-2 0.857
ANPY/A 5.118 20 49ers 8.651 27 Packers 16-1 0.941
Turnovers 1.85 17 Redskins -1.08 31 Bears 12-3 0.800
Yds/Drive 24.36 23 49ers 27.12 13 Texans 8-4 0.667
ToP/Drive 1:50.0 30 Texans 2:46.0 17 Dolphins 12-2 0.857
Yds/Play 5.080 18 49ers 5.503 20 Lions 9-1 0.900
Orange Zone Eff 105.4% 1 Colts 59.9% 19 Bears 12-3 0.800
First Downs/Drive 1.79 17 49ers 1.56 13 Texans 12-2 0.857
3rd/4th Down 36.0% 21 Texans 27.0% 7 Texans 12-6 0.667
Avg Start Pos 20.9 29 Seahawks 28.7 15 49ers 10-4 0.714
3 and Outs 5.70 27 Patriots 5.18 10 Dolphins 13-6 0.684
RZ Eff 93.4% 5 49ers 102.8% 30 Lions 10-7 0.588
Plays/Drive 4.507 26 Texans 5.098 9 Dolphins 12-4 0.750
Penalty Yds / Play 0.683 14 Dolphins 1.547 5 Texans 8-6 0.571
RB Success 25.5% 29 Dolphins 25.4% 3 Dolphins 11-13 0.458
Yds/Carry 4.27 14 49ers 3.37 11 Buccaneers 7-6 0.538
Overall 20 49ers 22 Texans

A couple thoughts:

  • From where the Colts were last year, I'll happily take the Colts at 20th Offensively and 22nd Defensively after the first two weeks of the season. Anything to get out of the proverbial basement.
  • The Defense has been quite good on 3rd/4th Downs, getting the opposing teams off the field, but they've struggled forcing turnovers and in the Red Zone, something that is correctable. They are also struggling against the pass, which isn't a big surprise.
  • Colts seem to be middle-of-the-pack in terms of drive stats offensively, which I'm ok with for now. They've been good converting points, which will be necessary with the transition to the new Defensive scheme.
  • Passing the ball & Stopping the Pass has led to a 94% win percentage, while Running the ball & Stopping the Run has led to a 46% win percentage. In other news, water is wet.

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bears 50 38 53 41 42 47
2 Vikings 36 43 40 34 39 38

These numbers don't mean much yet, but we'll keep track how well the Colts play from week to week going forward. The Colts definitely played better offensively in Week Two, but I'm not convinced yet the Defense improved, so we'll just have to wait and see once some more data gets into the system.

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