2012 NFL Week Three: Inside The Colts Numbers

Thomas J. Russo-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

What do the numbers say about the heartbreaking 22-17 loss by the Colts to the Jaguars?

Coming into the 2012 season, Colts fans understood that this year would be a huge learning experience for our favorite team, and we got an excellent example of it Sunday afternoon as the Colts lost to the Jaguars 22-17, in a game eerily similar to the week before.

Last week, the Colts built a 14 point lead in the second half, packed in the offense as the defense let the Vikings tie the game, then Andrew Luck, the Colts Offense, and Adam Vinatieri won the game in the final 30 seconds. This week, the Colts had a big halftime lead, let the Jaguars slowly get back into the game, then in the midst of winning the game, went ultra-conservative once again, kicked the go-ahead field goal with 56 seconds remaining. Want to know how bad this decision was? Check out what Nate Dunlevy had to say. Hopefully a learning experience for the coaching staff. Playing not to lose worked in Week 2, but did not in Week 3, and has been shown over the years to not work in the long run.

What else did the Colts learn in Week 3? They should have learned that they need to stop the "kid gloves" treatment of their franchise QB, as he's already in the top half of QBs in the league, and I firmly believe on Week 1 of next season, he'll easily be in the top 10. When given the opportunity, he's showing just how well he can move the ball down the field, and make every throw he's asked to. Sunday we saw him pull the ball down and scramble, throwing receivers open, rather than the other way around, and again got very little help from his Offensive Line. He also had to deal with some drops by his WRs, but that won't be an every week occurrence. I'm still baffled why the coaches effectively took the ball out of their best players hands at the end, and trusted their Offensive Line and Defense, their two worst units, to win the game. Something just doesn't seem right here.

A note from Elias on that final TD from the Jaguars:

It was the longest game-winning TD ever scored in the last minute of the fourth quarter against the Colts. The previous record was a 75-yard pass from Babe Parilli to Billy Howton for the Packers at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore in 1960.

There is a reason for optimism based on what we saw from the Colts, so let's jump into the numbers:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 3:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 71.4% 16 63.0% 6 Y N 5-2
ANPY/A 6.696 14 7.636 23 N N 7-0
Turnovers 1 7 0 27 N N 6-4
Yds/Drive 36.42 10 27.75 9 Y N 6-2
ToP/Drive 2:42.0 12 2:18.0 6 N N 8-3
Yds/Play 5.827 10 6.167 26 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 35.7% 29 42.9% 5 N N 4-2
First Downs/Drive 1.92 15 1.25 4 Y N 4-3
3rd/4th Down 52.6% 5 30.8% 10 Y N 3-3
Avg Start Pos 24.3 22 24.1 9 N N 6-2
3 and Outs 1 2 5 2 Y N 6-3
RZ Eff 47.6% 22 42.9% 5 N N 4-5
Plays/Drive 6.250 12 4.500 2 Y N 4-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.413 28 1.241 9 N N 4-1
RB Success 44.0% 15 61.3% 29 N Y 2-7
Yds/Carry 4.28 15 5.78 28 N N 5-4
Ranking - Week (32) 11 11 8
Ranking - Season (96) 40 31 31

Adjusted Stats for Week 3:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 77.1% 11 68.5% 12 Y N 5-2
ANPY/A 7.156 14 7.789 26 N N 7-0
Turnovers 1.9 17 0.7 27 N N 6-4
Yds/Drive 37.10 8 31.38 16 Y N 6-2
ToP/Drive 2:58.1 11 2:25.5 12 N N 8-3
Yds/Play 5.451 15 6.667 31 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 57.5% 17 31.7% 4 N N 4-2
First Downs/Drive 2.15 10 1.38 5 Y N 4-3
3rd/4th Down 60.0% 4 40.5% 12 Y N 3-3
Avg Start Pos 27.9 14 26.5 14 N N 6-2
3 and Outs 0.9 3 4.0 9 Y N 6-3
RZ Eff 69.5% 9 31.4% 6 N N 4-5
Plays/Drive 6.693 8 4.843 4 Y N 4-3
Penalty Yds / Play 1.121 20 1.404 6 N N 4-1
RB Success 35.5% 23 48.9% 23 N Y 2-7
Yds/Carry 4.15 16 4.66 27 N N 5-4
Ranking - Week (32) 11 11 8
Ranking - Season (96) 26 43 27

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts played in the top 25% of the league on Sunday. Did you expect that? Both the Offense and Defense played equally well, when you look at the entire 60 minutes. Yes, the Defense "lost" the game at the end. But they played well the first 59 minutes.
  • On Offense, the Colts moved the ball really well, converting over 50% of their 3rd/4th Downs, had a pretty good Time of Possession per Drive, and had nearly 40 yards per drive. It's a great sign, as that's the prerequisite to scoring points.
  • Where the improvement needs to come is actually scoring the points. Not good at all in our Orange Zone Efficiency, and not good in the Red Zone as well. To be fair to the offense, part of that goes on Adam Vinatieri missing an easy FG. But going forward, the Offense should operate by not totally counting on the kicking game.
  • The Defense performed really well in the Drive stats, as the Jaguars rarely sustained a drive (just twice). Everything would have been good if they had forced them to drive down the field, but unfortunately that didn't happen.
  • The Colts Defense's demise was the big play, which accounted for both Jacksonville TDs. We knew the more aggressive defense would be susceptible to them, but these two weren't from being too aggressive; they were out of position, and easily correctable. Doesn't do much now, but it's a good teaching opportunity.

Season Stats through Week 3 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 73.1% 10 Falcons 71.7% 21 Texans 17-4 0.810
ANPY/A 6.453 13 Cardinals 7.721 25 Seahawks 23-1 0.958
Turnovers 1.68 17 Packers 0.57 31 Bears 18-7 0.720
Yds/Drive 32.24 12 Steelers 32.31 24 Texans 14-6 0.700
ToP/Drive 2:45.0 16 Steelers 2:36.0 14 Texans 20-5 0.800
Yds/Play 5.442 13 Ravens 6.374 29 Cardinals 14-1 0.933
Orange Zone Eff 66.2% 10 Ravens 46.7% 11 Eagles 16-5 0.762
First Downs/Drive 1.85 10 Steelers 1.49 12 Texans 16-5 0.762
3rd/4th Down 45.9% 8 Texans 44.7% 22 Texans 15-9 0.625
Avg Start Pos 28.6 20 Falcons 27.9 9 Seahawks 16-6 0.727
3 and Outs 2.78 9 Patriots 4.20 13 Texans 19-9 0.679
RZ Eff 81.1% 7 Ravens 57.6% 13 Eagles 14-12 0.538
Plays/Drive 5.873 12 Steelers 5.122 12 Texans 16-7 0.696
Penalty Yds / Play 0.888 22 Dolphins 1.353 5 Texans 12-7 0.632
RB Success 34.0% 27 Dolphins 45.6% 19 49ers 13-20 0.394
Yds/Carry 4.59 10 Bills 4.50 21 Browns 12-10 0.545
Overall 9 Texans 23 Texans

Couple things here:

  • The Colts offense in the top 10? So says the stats. To be fair, it's still very early for adjusted stats, but they've played three defenses that have played really well so far this season. I'm very encouraged by the 3rd/4th Down conversions.
  • The Defense hasn't been all that good (spoiler alert), and it's mainly in the three most important categories where they've struggled. That's where they need to focus their attention.
  • Texans best on both offense and defense (they're good), and Passing/Stopping the Pass has won at 96% this year.

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bears 75 60 80 27 86 62
2 Vikings 50 67 60 34 50 45
3 Jaguars 40 31 31 26 43 27

Even in the loss, the Colts have improved each time out, which is great to see for a young team. The silver lining of a loss like this, rather than if they had squeaked another game out, is that the coaching staff sees that their strategy has some flaws in it, and when faced with a similar situation in the future (maybe when this team has a real chance to win in the Playoffs), they'll make a difference decision. Nobody should be happy about a loss, but sometimes it takes games like this for changes to happen. Better they happen now, when the pressure is relatively low, then when winning games is expected from this team. Progress is still good.

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