2012 NFL Wild Card Round: Inside the Colts Numbers

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

A tough way to end a remarkable season for the Colts, a 24-9 loss to the Ravens on Wild Card weekend. What turned the game? It's all right here as we go Inside the Numbers.

Sunday's 24-9 loss by the Colts to the Ravens may have been a disappointing finish to the season, but it certainly doesn't tell the story for the entire season. What we saw at M&T Bank Stadium was a team that was clearly overmatched in most aspects of the game, but played hard, made some plays, and made the game interesting into the 4th quarter, something they've done time and again this season. However, as we saw earlier this year when the Colts went on the road against semi-decent competition, they just couldn't survive for four quarters.

A huge bright spot for the Colts was the play of Andrew Luck, who looked composed, made some pinpoint throws, and made really good decisions most of the game. He was done in, however, by double digit drops by his receivers (I've seen anywhere from 8-11 drops), a drop-back sack-fumble, and a forced throw on a 4th down, leading to an interception in the 4th quarter. I think the play-calling from Clyde Christensen kept him from having those long spans of incomplete passes that plagued him the past four or five games, leading to a sub-50% completion percentage.

Want some notes from Elias? Here's a couple:

  • Only three times in NFL history had a team made the Playoffs with a rookie leading the team in both passing yards and rushing yards, yet both the Colts and Redskins both accomplished that feat this year. The last time it had happened? 1943. That's a long time ago.
  • Speaking of Vick Ballard, he along with the Ravens Bernard Pierce, another rookie, led their teams in rushing Sunday, the first time two rookies had done that in a Playoff game since 2007, and the first time ever that both guys had over 80 yards.
  • The Colts had 87 plays, 417 yards, yet failed to score a touchdown. There's only one game in NFL history with more plays and at least 400 yards of Offense without a TD, and that happened back in 2002. All the good they had done in the Red Zone as of late certainly didn't carry over in the Playoffs.
  • Adam Vinatieri became the first player in NFL history to have at least 20 field goals for two different teams. Want to know how many guys have 20 FGs for just one team? Just three. Damn impressive, despite the one he missed. He also had a 52 yard FG, his longest Playoff FG, and the longest postseason FG by a guy over 40.

Brad already talked about Reggie Wayne moving into second place all time on the career Playoff receptions list with 92, just a few (59) behind Jerry Rice. He had 9 catches for 114 yards, and was seemingly open all day. He was on 1260 WNDE Monday, and he said he was taking all the Colts receivers, along with his Receivers coach, to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, which is a really cool move. He was openly pining for Bruce Arians to come back, just so he didn't have to learn another new Offense next season.

Want to see how the numbers looked? They're actually a little better than you'd think:

Non-Adjusted Stats for the Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 69.4% 5 72.4% 6 N Y 4-0
ANPY/A 3.895 6 12.875 8 N Y 4-0
Turnovers 2 5 2 2 N N 2-0
Yds/Drive 38.09 3 40.09 8 N N 3-0
ToP/Drive 3:24.7 3 2:02.5 1 Y N 3-1
Yds/Play 4.816 6 7.875 8 N Y 3-1
Orange Zone Eff 21.4% 8 68.6% 7 N Y 2-1
First Downs/Drive 2.27 1 1.64 4 Y N 3-1
3rd/4th Down 40.9% 2 40.0% 5 N N 2-0
Avg Start Pos 19.4 8 32.5 7 N Y 2-0
3 and Outs 1 1 2 5 N N 1-1
RZ Eff 14.3% 8 68.6% 7 N Y 1-1
Plays/Drive 7.909 1 5.091 1 Y N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.425 3 1.250 1 Y N 1-1
RB Success 46.2% 6 46.9% 4 N N 0-0
Yds/Carry 5.07 4 5.38 6 N N 0-2
Ranking - Week (8) 5 6 5
Ranking - Season (520) 268 355 353

Adjusted Stats for the Wild Card Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 72.5% 3 72.8% 7 N Y 4-0
ANPY/A 4.229 7 12.325 8 N Y 4-0
Turnovers 2.1 6 2.4 3 N N 2-0
Yds/Drive 38.84 2 38.54 7 N N 3-0
ToP/Drive 3:21.2 3 2:15.3 2 Y N 3-1
Yds/Play 5.095 6 7.676 8 N Y 3-1
Orange Zone Eff 23.7% 8 65.8% 7 N Y 2-1
First Downs/Drive 2.28 1 1.65 4 Y N 3-1
3rd/4th Down 43.2% 2 41.6% 7 N N 2-0
Avg Start Pos 20.0 8 32.4 8 N Y 2-0
3 and Outs 0.1 1 2.0 5 N N 1-1
RZ Eff 23.3% 8 70.2% 7 N Y 1-1
Plays/Drive 7.789 1 5.071 1 Y N 3-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.417 4 1.028 2 Y N 1-1
RB Success 41.8% 8 47.1% 2 N N 0-0
Yds/Carry 5.14 3 5.28 7 N N 0-2
Ranking - Week (8) 2 7 5
Ranking - Season (520) 226 397 345

Some thoughts:

  • We talked on Thursday about one of the biggest keys would be the play in the Orange/Red Zone on both sides of the ball, and that most certainly was the case Sunday, as the Colts fell back into their pre-Week 10 form, looking hapless throughout. It started out well for the Defense, forcing a Ray Rice fumble and holding the Ravens to a FG on the first two possessions, but it went downhill from there. I think the Offense really missed Bruce Arians when they got close, as I think he was the biggest difference in the turn-around with his play-calling.
  • Teams that passed the ball and stopped the pass this weekend were a perfect 4-0, not that it should be unexpected if you've been following along all year. The long pass plays played a big part in the huge number put up by Joe Flacco, along with the lack of pressure and interceptions. Just a bad day again on both sides.
  • The drive stats on Offense were a bright spot, as the Colts only had one 3 and Out, ran nearly 8 plays per drive, and converted over 40% of their 3rd/4th downs. There were several really good drives that just fell short on points. It was a story all year, but it seemed like the Colts could either drive the ball really well and not punch it in, or not drive it well, get 2 or 3 really good drives, and they all ended in TDs. Not sure which is best.
  • Overall the Offense played the 2nd best of anyone this weekend, only behind Houston (remember the Ravens played against the #32 Defense and still struggled to move the ball at times). At this point I'll take it. Next year, however, is a different story.
  • The Defense did what it did all season against the run: give up runs of 3, 2, 3, 1, 25, 4, 35, 3, 4. The Success Rate was good, while the Yards per Carry wasn't. You can draw your own conclusions as to which is more important, but the long plays are the nature of the beast with this scheme.

Final Season Stats through the Wild Card Round (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.5% 13 Patriots 73.8% 31 Cardinals 97-16 0.858
ANPY/A 4.994 22 49ers 6.966 30 Bears 128-9 0.934
Turnovers 1.86 20 49ers 1.13 29 Bears 114-22 0.838
Yds/Drive 31.17 12 Patriots 35.64 32 Cardinals 83-21 0.798
ToP/Drive 2:53.0 7 Seahawks 2:50.0 23 Texans 102-25 0.803
Yds/Play 4.961 24 Saints 6.132 31 Broncos 77-29 0.726
Orange Zone Eff 50.9% 23 Saints 58.5% 27 Giants 108-25 0.812
First Downs/Drive 1.95 3 Patriots 1.90 31 Cardinals 79-30 0.725
3rd/4th Down 43.2% 6 Patriots 40.0% 20 Texans 92-28 0.767
Avg Start Pos 26.9 32 Bears 28.0 3 Seahawks 100-27 0.787
3 and Outs 3.03 5 Patriots 2.77 32 Cardinals 75-28 0.728
RZ Eff 64.6% 18 Saints 66.3% 20 Falcons 93-38 0.710
Plays/Drive 6.310 2 Patriots 5.827 27 Cardinals 71-39 0.645
Penalty Yds / Play 0.716 6 Falcons 1.208 1 Colts 72-43 0.626
RB Success 41.8% 24 Patriots 42.7% 10 Buccaneers 59-68 0.465
Yds/Carry 3.82 23 Vikings 4.79 30 49ers 63-62 0.504
Overall 13 Patriots 32 Cardinals

A couple thoughts:

  • The Defense never quite pulled themselves out of their mid-season slump to get out of the cellar, but playing such an awful schedule certainly didn't help them out. Clearly areas of improvement going forward, which I'm sure will be addressed in the offseason.
  • The Offense was much better than I expected this season, with consistency being the biggest thing to work on going forward. Some things are really good already.
  • It's good to see the Offense is still hamstrung with awful starting field position, something the Manning-era Colts were always saddled with. What I wouldn't give for a good special teams unit.

Week-to-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Bears 387 349 424 249 391 351
2 Vikings 251 379 345 285 363 366
3 Jaguars 198 195 146 263 390 374
4 BYE
5 Packers 227 186 159 164 128 83
6 Jets 395 476 492 393 519 517
7 Browns 130 380 241 128 466 332
8 Titans 60 447 244 82 500 336
9 Dolphins 41 423 201 54 491 271
10 Jaguars 110 84 39 175 210 155
11 Patriots 248 513 467 234 473 430
12 Bills 217 213 175 343 237 320
13 Lions 328 231 305 340 190 268
14 Titans 271 233 247 382 350 431
15 Texans 359 394 443 243 439 398
16 Chiefs 280 228 256 395 371 456
17 Texans 64 269 108 43 302 95
18 Ravens 268 355 353 226 397 345

As you can see, the Ravens were a pretty average team, so the non-adjusted and adjusted numbers look relatively similar, and as most of the season has gone, the Offense was above average, while the Defense was below average. Now the Colts enter a very important offseason where they'll need to match the stellar haul they made on the offensive side with some similar difference makers on Defense.

For now, let's just appreciate what a great ride 2012 was for this Colts team. There will be enough time to look ahead to the future, but this team deserves our congratulations. They all earned it.

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