2013 NFL Week Eleven: Inside The Colts Numbers

Frederick Breedon

I know it was a while ago, but did the Colts finally play a good game Offensively against the Titans? Did the Defense improve some as well?

This happens every year the week the Colts play on Thursday night, where it takes seemingly forever to make it to Tuesday to see how the Colts ranked against everyone else during the week. Doesn't it seem like an eternity ago the Colts and Titans played? Either way, I'm here to dive into the numbers from the Colts 30-27 win in Nashville, a game that mostly like wrapped up the division for the Colts (although there's still a long way to go).

Before we get to any numbers, the biggest takeaway I got from Thursday night was we are finally starting to see the Colts score touchdowns, in the 4th quarter, with the lead, something that didn't happen until Week 17 last season. It's telling me they are finally getting comfortable executing in high-leverage situations, and they are learning how to win games without needed huge comebacks (although those may stick around for a bit still). Here's a rundown of all the previous games from the last year and a half where the Colts had the lead in the 4th, and how those drives went.

  • 2012 Week 2 vs. Vikings: Four Drives in late 3rd/4th quarter, four punts.
  • 2012 Week 7 vs. Browns: Five Drives in late 3rd/4th quarter, four punts and a fumble
  • 2012 Week 9 vs. Dolphins: GW Field Goal with 6 to go, 3 and out afterwards.
  • 2012 Week 12 vs. Bills: Three Drives, two 3 and outs, ran out last 3:22 of clock.
  • 2012 Week 16 vs. Chiefs: GW TD drive with 4 to go (tied), ran out last 2:30 of clock.
  • 2012 Week 17 vs. Texans: Scored TD up 5 with 11 minutes left to go up 12. Close to our criteria.
  • 2013 Week 3 vs. 49ers: Scored two TDs in 4th quarter. They were awesome.
  • 2013 Week 5 vs. Seahawks: One drive after taking lead, kicked FG to go up 6.
  • 2013 Week 7 vs. Broncos: Four Drives, two punts, one fumble, and a field goal on a drive with -3 yards.

With the exception of the Broncos game, three of the last five games saw the Colts score TDs late, and against the Seahawks they ran almost five minutes off the clock before kicking a field goal, so they've been getting better and better and closing out games. If only they can stop falling behind early so often...

Speaking of comebacks, Elias has a good nugget for us:

Only one other NFL team within the last five years won two straight games in a season's road schedule, despite falling behind by at least 14 points in each of them. The Lions did that in 2011, with come-from-behind victories at Minnesota and Dallas.

It's great and all that they keep winning, but it absolutely cannot be sustained if the Colts want to consistently make the Playoffs. It needs to get fixed, and I think it will. Eventually. Problem is just how long it'll take.

How did the Colts look statistically last Thursday night? Let's dive in and find out:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 11:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 81.8% 4 82.1% 28 N N 4-1
ANPY/A 6.189 14 7.933 22 N N 8-1
Turnovers 0 1 1 14 N N 10-1
Yds/Drive 40.67 5 42.50 27 N N 4-0
ToP/Drive 3:35.9 3 3:27.1 25 N N 5-2
Yds/Play 5.304 19 6.296 24 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 71.4% 8 77.1% 24 N N 13-0
First Downs/Drive 2.67 3 2.50 27 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 46.2% 4 54.5% 28 N N 2-2
Avg Start Pos 34.7 6 23.3 7 Y N 6-2
3 and Outs 1 2 2 22 N N 4-1
RZ Eff 85.7% 6 81.0% 18 N N 7-3
Plays/Drive 7.667 3 6.750 25 N N 2-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.739 18 0.630 20 N N 1-9
RB Success 50.0% 11 60.0% 27 N N 3-5
Yds/Carry 4.28 13 5.08 23 N N 0-6
Ranking - Week (30) 2 28 15
Ranking - Season (324) 21 299 157

Adjusted Stats for Week 11:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 81.9% 3 83.1% 29 N N 4-1
ANPY/A 6.393 16 8.484 24 N N 8-1
Turnovers -0.3 1 1.2 17 N N 10-1
Yds/Drive 42.09 4 43.07 29 N N 4-0
ToP/Drive 3:37.4 3 3:23.7 28 N N 5-2
Yds/Play 5.369 18 6.541 29 N N 5-0
Orange Zone Eff 62.1% 14 72.8% 20 N N 13-0
First Downs/Drive 2.68 3 2.55 29 N N 3-0
3rd/4th Down 49.1% 4 48.1% 28 N N 2-2
Avg Start Pos 34.3 6 21.6 4 Y N 6-2
3 and Outs 0.7 1 1.4 28 N N 4-1
RZ Eff 79.2% 9 76.0% 19 N N 7-3
Plays/Drive 7.880 2 6.642 25 N N 2-1
Penalty Yds / Play 0.845 20 0.570 20 N N 1-9
RB Success 45.9% 16 57.9% 27 N N 3-5
Yds/Carry 4.27 13 5.05 22 N N 0-6
Ranking - Week (30) 4 30 22
Ranking - Season (324) 22 311 157

Some thoughts:

  • I'd like to welcome the Colts Offense back to the 2013 NFL season. This is what we saw the first five games. Please don't leave us again.
  • Aside from the opening Three and Out, the Colts weren't stopped the game, making their drive-related stats all top 5 for the week. The Drive Success Rate of 82% is especially nice to see.
  • Huge improvement on 3rd/4th down at close to 50%, which was the pace they had after five games. Where have you been hiding the past six weeks?
  • If I have to pick something to complain about on Offense, it's the passing number. I think it was mostly due to taking a lot of underneath stuff, especially to Coby Fleener, and not throwing a TD pass. This by no means should tell you that Andrew Luck played "average" Thursday. Just helping to explain why it might look lower than reality.
  • Running game as a whole was "meh", but Donald Brown was a big positive, Trent Richardson was a big negative, so they cancelled each other out. Clearly Richardson needs more time, and the guy behind him is more than capable of shouldering the load. Don't let egos get in the way, and play the best players.
  • Defense was terrible, pretty much across the board. There are way too many categories in the high 20s for my liking. I'm sure the short week played a part in it, but it was just bad. My only hope is that they've been lost without the second lock-down CB, and Greg Toler looks like he'll be back for the first time since the Denver game, which was the last time the Colts Defense showed up. I'm remaining optimistic.
  • The Special teams did quite well Thursday, creating (sort of) the lone turnover of the game, setting the Colts up to take the lead.
  • The Colts have been / still are the least penalized team in the NFL, but didn't do so hot Thursday night, getting three personal fouls on the same drive, one of which got Erik Walden suspended. However, this was not the week to not be penalized. There were 10 games where a team had fewer than average penalty yards per play, and had more than average penalty yards in their favor, and 9 of them lost. I'm not sure I've ever seen that before.
  • Other stats of note: Orange Zone Efficiency was a perfect 13-0 predicting winners this week, with the Colts/Titans being one of only two games to not have a discrepancy. Yards per Carry had a goose-egg the other way, going 0-6 when a team was above average on both Offense and Defense. Adjusted Net Passing Yards per Play was 8-1.

Season Stats through Week 11 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 72.1% 10 Broncos 70.7% 21 Ravens 55-7 0.887
ANPY/A 5.615 15 Broncos 6.727 27 Seahawks 68-9 0.883
Turnovers 1.09 2 Chiefs 1.69 19 Seahawks 68-12 0.850
Yds/Drive 32.36 10 Packers 33.47 27 Cardinals 44-12 0.786
ToP/Drive 2:57.0 5 Panthers 2:55.0 27 Cardinals 60-23 0.723
Yds/Play 5.243 14 Packers 5.795 28 Browns 48-18 0.727
Orange Zone Eff 52.0% 21 Broncos 51.7% 12 Chiefs 65-12 0.844
First Downs/Drive 1.89 8 Chargers 1.77 21 Ravens 43-11 0.796
3rd/4th Down 39.3% 15 Broncos 39.2% 19 Chiefs 62-20 0.756
Avg Start Pos 30.2 15 Seahawks 26.6 4 Chargers 66-20 0.767
3 and Outs 2.78 4 Chargers 3.22 25 Texans 44-19 0.698
RZ Eff 67.6% 17 Broncos 60.0% 10 Chiefs 58-25 0.699
Plays/Drive 6.136 4 Chargers 5.822 24 Texans 50-29 0.633
Penalty Yds / Play 0.518 1 Colts 0.781 22 Ravens 39-44 0.470
RB Success 45.3% 14 Patriots 48.3% 27 Jets 36-48 0.429
Yds/Carry 4.33 12 Redskins 4.47 25 Giants 34-44 0.436
Overall 6 Chargers 25 Chiefs

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts hold steady at 6th Offensively, but definitely improved their standing. They moved back to 2nd in Turnovers, and have entered the top 5 in Time of Possession per Drive, Three and Outs, and Plays per Drive. Still want the Orange and Red Zone numbers to get to the 12-16 range at a minimum.
  • Defense still sliding, with their lone bright spots being their ability to tighten up close to their own goal line and prevent points from being scored. I guess if there's something to be good at, minimizing points scored is a good one to do.
  • The last 3 stats in the chart are better for you if you don't do them well. That includes both rushing stats. Maybe that's why we keep seeing Richardson run right into the line...

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 16 279 115 13 312 145
2 Dolphins 80 251 171 64 296 205
3 49ers 42 68 16 19 85 8
4 Jaguars 31 4 2 83 16 7
5 Seahawks 61 195 103 31 173 54
6 Chargers 226 295 307 298 223 315
7 Broncos 223 81 142 236 12 67
9 Texans 186 240 246 155 268 248
10 Rams 272 159 259 296 187 308
11 Titans 21 299 157 22 311 157

As you can see here the Offense got out of their month and a half long funk and looked like the team we saw the first five weeks of the season. Here's the bad news: the three remaining road games for the Colts are against the 1st (Chiefs), 2nd (Cardinals), and 4th (Bengals) best defenses in the NFL. Let's hope the return of a few member of the secondary boosts the Defense, as I'm hesitant to pick the Colts to win any of those games without a good defensive effort.

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