2013 NFL Week Ten: Inside The Colts Numbers

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday was the kind of game you just throw out the window and forget it ever happened. It was pretty bad though, but not quite the worst performance of the season (how's that for optimism?).

Well, that wasn't much fun to watch. When I wrote on Thursday that the Colts would have to spot the Rams a couple touchdowns before they started really getting into the game, I was only kidding, and did not expect the Colts to spot them 38 points, but unfortunately that's what happened Sunday, a 38-8 drubbing by the Rams in front of a stunned home crowd. You know it's bad when the loudest cheers of the day come when the kick returner, who was quite busy, takes a knee in the end zone. Just one of those days.

I can understand the reaction to get pissed off, demand answers, etc., but a game like this doesn't really bother me too much. If you're going to lose like this, best to do it against a team in the other conference, as it won't hurt you in tiebreakers later on for Playoff spots. Secondly, it's now the second time we've seen the Colts not show up for a game when they have a short week ahead of them, and a much more important opponent to play. The only way a game like Sunday's is tolerable is if they win Thursday (which I think they will). It's rare to see in the NFL teams tank multiple games in a row, unless they've given up on the season. I'm guessing with a 6-3 record, the Colts haven't given up.

What a performance like Sunday shows is that the line between beating the best teams in the NFL and losing by 30 to a mid-pack team is razor sharp, and even losing focus for one day (or starting preparation early) can lead to disasters like what happened against the Rams. Even though it may seem like there are talent gaps between teams, there is very, very little. You absolutely must put in the work, or you look completely lifeless and get embarrassed.

Are there any positives? Sure, mostly on Defense, like Robert Mathis collecting two more sacks, setting his new career high that he'll be breaking each week through the end of the season. It's a shame the Rams jumped out to a lead so early, so they didn't need to pass very often, severely limiting Mathis' ability to sack the QB. He now just needs to average one sack per game the rest of the way to tie the NFL record for sacks in a season. He's got a really good shot at smashing it.

I'll try to be gentle with the numbers. They're bad.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 10:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 64.7% 17 62.5% 8 N N 3-0
ANPY/A 4.145 19 15.111 28 N Y 5-1
Turnovers 5 28 1 12 N Y 2-1
Yds/Drive 31.23 10 31.00 18 N N 2-0
ToP/Drive 2:15.5 20 2:33.2 13 N N 5-3
Yds/Play 5.884 8 6.764 25 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 16.7% 28 47.6% 7 N N 3-1
First Downs/Drive 1.62 14 1.00 4 N N 2-0
3rd/4th Down 14.3% 27 43.8% 19 N Y 6-4
Avg Start Pos 24.4 24 26.9 12 N N 5-3
3 and Outs 4 15 4 11 N N 4-0
RZ Eff 16.7% 27 47.6% 7 N N 3-2
Plays/Drive 5.308 18 4.583 4 N N 4-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.290 4 0.836 9 Y N 2-4
RB Success 10.0% 28 30.6% 7 N N 4-3
Yds/Carry 1.29 27 3.78 13 N N 3-4
Ranking - Week (28) 22 17 24
Ranking - Season (294) 248 144 237

Adjusted Stats for Week 10:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 64.9% 20 64.8% 11 N N 3-0
ANPY/A 3.308 21 14.062 28 N Y 5-1
Turnovers 4.6 28 1.5 13 N Y 2-1
Yds/Drive 30.59 10 33.24 23 N N 2-0
ToP/Drive 2:20.5 19 2:29.8 12 N N 5-3
Yds/Play 5.483 10 7.102 28 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 9.8% 28 54.5% 9 N N 3-1
First Downs/Drive 1.63 16 1.11 5 N N 2-0
3rd/4th Down 15.3% 27 49.1% 22 N Y 6-4
Avg Start Pos 26.6 18 27.4 11 N N 5-3
3 and Outs 3.9 17 3.6 16 N N 4-0
RZ Eff 15.5% 27 40.9% 5 N N 3-2
Plays/Drive 5.631 13 4.661 5 N N 4-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.083 1 0.699 13 Y N 2-4
RB Success 13.6% 28 35.0% 6 N N 4-3
Yds/Carry 1.49 27 4.43 22 N N 3-4
Ranking - Week (28) 24 19 25
Ranking - Season (294) 268 162 270

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts turned the ball over almost as many times Sunday as they had in their first 8 games combined (5 vs. 6). I'm going to play the percentages and say they are more like the team in the first 8 games than the one that showed up Sunday, but time will tell. Andrew Luck seemed to be forcing a bit more, which is understandable being down by so much. Stop getting behind early, and this problem is solved.
  • They were also horrendous on 3rd/4th downs, converting just 15%, far below their season average. That's an unacceptable number, and a bit concerning. They're getting worse as the season goes on.
  • The Rams were one of the worst teams in the Orange and Red Zone defensively this season, and the Colts were awful down there too. Yes I know one of those trips was with Matt Hasselbeck, but for a team that can't stop talking about their power run game, they certainly don't even try when they get close to the end zone. 15% in the Red Zone, and 10% in the Orange Zone is completely unacceptable.
  • Also the worst performance of the running game, which was obviously abandoned after falling behind by three scores. Doesn't matter who is to blame.
  • On Defense the Colts got pretty good when the Rams got close, forcing a fumble inside their 10 yard line, and holding them to just 41% in the Red Zone. Problem was the Rams kept scoring from a long way away, so this is a bit misleading.
  • I wrote this Thursday. I think it came true:
    The Rams are not one for big plays, ranking 30th in Yards per Play. This surprises me a bit, seeing as they drafted Tavon Austin pretty high in the draft last year, and have basically ignored him all season (signed, guy who drafted him in FFL on almost every team). It'll be a bad sign for the Colts if they hit any homerun plays.
  • Very few penalties again this week, and the Defense did well to stop the run, allowing just a 35% RB Success Rate. It came when the Colts knew the Rams would be running a lot though, so it's quelled just a bit. Still good to see them make stops in the run game.

Season Stats through Week 10 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 70.6% 12 Broncos 68.7% 15 Ravens 51-6 0.895
ANPY/A 5.535 15 Broncos 6.610 26 Panthers 60-8 0.882
Turnovers 1.28 6 Chiefs 1.67 17 Cardinals 58-11 0.841
Yds/Drive 31.33 13 Packers 31.86 26 Cardinals 40-12 0.769
ToP/Drive 2:51.0 10 Chargers 2:48.0 21 Cardinals 55-21 0.724
Yds/Play 5.258 13 Packers 5.722 28 Giants 43-18 0.705
Orange Zone Eff 50.1% 23 Broncos 50.3% 9 Chiefs 52-12 0.813
First Downs/Drive 1.79 11 Chargers 1.63 13 Ravens 40-11 0.784
3rd/4th Down 37.0% 21 Broncos 37.2% 10 Chiefs 60-18 0.769
Avg Start Pos 29.3 19 Chiefs 27.0 5 Chargers 60-18 0.769
3 and Outs 3.12 9 Chargers 3.54 19 Cardinals 40-18 0.690
RZ Eff 64.3% 21 Broncos 59.5% 8 Chiefs 51-22 0.699
Plays/Drive 5.914 8 Chargers 5.634 17 Titans 48-28 0.632
Penalty Yds / Play 0.472 1 Colts 0.817 19 Buccaneers 38-35 0.521
RB Success 45.7% 14 Panthers 46.8% 24 Jets 33-43 0.434
Yds/Carry 4.36 13 Eagles 4.38 24 Giants 34-38 0.472
Overall 10 Saints 20 Cardinals

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts have fallen from best Offense in the NFL after Week 5 all the way to 10th in four games. I see serious regression on 3rd/4th down and in the Orange/Red Zone. Moving the ball between the 20s seems to be working ok. The coaching staff needs to get those high-leverage plays working, as they are costing the Colts dearly.
  • Defense fell one spot to 20th, and have fallen from 3rd to 26th in Pass Defense in just two weeks. Yes, they were 3rd in ANPY/A after the Broncos game, and the duo of Case Keenum and Kellen Clemens have torched them in back-to-back weeks. Stop trying to fix the run defense, and get back to defending the pass. Also, Greg Toler, please get back soon. The Colts (and fans) miss you.

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 15 253 103 18 284 158
2 Dolphins 72 227 154 59 271 188
3 49ers 38 62 15 12 60 6
4 Jaguars 28 3 2 77 14 9
5 Seahawks 54 178 92 30 144 38
6 Chargers 205 268 277 272 207 286
7 Broncos 202 75 127 220 10 67
9 Texans 168 217 226 145 225 209
10 Rams 248 144 237 268 162 270

Not the worst game of the season for the Colts, but another very poor showing from the Offense, making it four in a row. I'm beginning to wonder if the league has figured out the Pep Hamilton Offense, which is bound to happen for any new scheme that enters the league. I really can't explain how you go from five straight great performances on Offense to complete duds four straight. Somebody has figured something out, and the Offensive coaches must adjust, or this could spiral out of control fast. The Offense has the 4th toughest schedule remaining. It's very possible for this to get very ugly quickly.

Let's hope they looked ahead enough to win Thursday night. If not this game becomes a whole lot worse.

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