2013 NFL Week Twelve: Inside The Colts Numbers

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Consistently Inconsistent. Seems to be the best phrase to sum up the 2013 Colts, who were pummeled Sunday 40-11 by the Cardinals. Will we continue to see these extremely poor performances?

Sunday's 40-11 beat-down the Colts took from the Cardinals didn't sting as bad as one might think. For one thing, this exact thing happened just two week ago against the Rams, so it wasn't really a new feeling. It was more the sense that these Colts just don't show up to play if they have nothing to play for. It's been that way for almost two years now, and it's what has me unconcerned about the Colts playoff and Super Bowl chances.

A non-conference road game is about as meaningless as 1/16 of a season can be, especially when you're three games clear of the next closest team in the Division. No motivation. Same goes for the Rams game. If you're going to lose, might as well be to the other conference (which took a while to settle out, but is world's better than the AFC). But those divisional road games, even though they started horrifically, they knew when to kick it in gear, when they were properly motivated enough, to start playing winning football. Sunday there was no need to rev the comeback engine, so to speak. Best to save energy for next week, a much, much more important game.

These slow starts are almost comical at this point, right? I feel awful that the Colts keep winning me money because Vegas won't dare put them at +14 in the first half, and I'll gleefully plop down my money, giving as many points as I have to to their opposition. I don't have a solution to these problems, but I'm also not paid millions of dollars to have said solutions, and we have damn near two years of evidence that whatever they do to start a game does not work, and they have to try something different. At a certain point, "better execution" falls on deaf ears. Other teams know exactly what the Colts are going to do before they do it, and it shows on the field.

Sunday's game was the worst of the season for the Colts. What's below is not pretty to look at, and there's not much to say about it, but I'll try to find something positive. I'll try.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 12:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 61.5% 22 81.1% 25 N Y 2-1
ANPY/A 3.350 23 8.049 24 N Y 7-2
Turnovers 1 10 0 20 N N 6-0
Yds/Drive 21.73 25 41.00 24 N Y 2-2
ToP/Drive 2:06.5 24 3:40.9 27 N Y 6-1
Yds/Play 4.345 24 5.775 22 N Y 1-2
Orange Zone Eff 71.4% 7 58.9% 16 N N 3-0
First Downs/Drive 1.36 21 2.70 27 N Y 1-1
3rd/4th Down 33.3% 16 50.0% 21 N Y 5-1
Avg Start Pos 20.2 27 36.4 26 N Y 7-1
3 and Outs 6 23 0 28 N Y 3-2
RZ Eff 71.4% 12 57.1% 8 Y N 4-3
Plays/Drive 5.000 21 7.100 25 N Y 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 1.618 28 1.183 7 N N 4-3
RB Success 46.2% 10 33.3% 6 Y N 2-5
Yds/Carry 5.33 8 4.00 14 Y N 3-4
Ranking - Week (28) 25 28 28
Ranking - Season (352) 304 333 348

Adjusted Stats for Week 12:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 65.3% 20 81.7% 26 N Y 2-1
ANPY/A 4.540 21 8.533 24 N Y 7-2
Turnovers 0.2 5 -0.2 27 N N 6-0
Yds/Drive 27.01 18 43.45 27 N Y 2-2
ToP/Drive 2:26.2 17 3:47.1 28 N Y 6-1
Yds/Play 4.870 23 5.873 21 N Y 1-2
Orange Zone Eff 70.9% 6 60.0% 16 N N 3-0
First Downs/Drive 1.58 18 2.71 27 N Y 1-1
3rd/4th Down 33.8% 17 56.6% 28 N Y 5-1
Avg Start Pos 21.6 24 32.7 23 N Y 7-1
3 and Outs 4.7 21 -0.2 28 N Y 3-2
RZ Eff 61.5% 19 54.4% 5 Y N 4-3
Plays/Drive 5.427 14 7.417 28 N Y 5-2
Penalty Yds / Play 1.518 27 1.298 4 N N 4-3
RB Success 51.7% 6 34.6% 4 Y N 2-5
Yds/Carry 5.87 4 4.57 17 Y N 3-4
Ranking - Week (28) 17 28 27
Ranking - Season (352) 205 343 342

Some thoughts:

  • The Offense actually doesn't look horrific, mostly because they played against one of the best Defenses in the league Sunday. That's a positive, right?
  • I like that the Colts cashed in on getting points when they got inside the Cardinals 35 yard line. Problem was they only did it twice, scoring a touchdown and a field goal each. Good percentage, but unfortunately few chances to use it.
  • I said before the game that 3rd/4th down would be big downs for the Colts, especially since Coach Pagano can't stop talking about how it's the only stat he cares about. They were bad, on both sides.
  • The Colts run game did great! Look at those numbers! Wait, what was that? Most of that was a long Andrew Luck scramble on the touchdown drive and a 22 yard run by Dan Herron while down 30? Donald Brown touched the ball just 3 times totaling -1 yards after having a huge game the week before? Running game!
  • The Colts stopped the run great too, holding them to just 33% RB Success Rate. Most of the stops came in the second half, when the Cardinals and Bruce Arians were trying to be nice to the Colts on first and second downs, before making 3rd and 9+ look like a piece of cake throwing the ball.
  • Colts did a really good job in the Red Zone, which kept the game from being even more out of hand, holding them to four field goals (to go along with their three TDs). You want a bright spot on Defense? There it is.
  • The Colts committed a ton of penalties, something we definitely haven't seen all season. It's a sign of frustration, and actually worries me the most of anything. If they continue this going forward, it's a pretty good sign somebody in the coaching staff will need replacing.

Season Stats through Week 12 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.6% 10 Broncos 71.6% 22 Ravens 57-8 0.877
ANPY/A 5.534 18 Broncos 6.773 27 Seahawks 75-11 0.872
Turnovers 0.99 1 Colts 1.59 21 Seahawks 74-12 0.860
Yds/Drive 31.96 11 Chargers 34.08 27 Cardinals 46-14 0.767
ToP/Drive 2:55.0 5 Panthers 3:00.0 29 Cardinals 66-24 0.733
Yds/Play 5.232 13 Packers 5.740 28 Browns 49-20 0.710
Orange Zone Eff 53.8% 19 Broncos 52.2% 13 Chiefs 68-12 0.850
First Downs/Drive 1.85 9 Chargers 1.86 26 Jets 44-12 0.786
3rd/4th Down 38.8% 16 Broncos 40.9% 24 Chiefs 67-21 0.761
Avg Start Pos 29.8 14 Seahawks 27.1 5 Chargers 73-21 0.777
3 and Outs 2.94 4 Chargers 2.99 30 Cardinals 47-21 0.691
RZ Eff 67.0% 18 Broncos 59.6% 9 Chiefs 62-28 0.689
Plays/Drive 6.065 6 Chargers 5.968 26 Jets 55-31 0.640
Penalty Yds / Play 0.612 3 Dolphins 0.822 18 Ravens 43-47 0.478
RB Success 46.5% 10 Eagles 46.8% 25 Jets 38-53 0.418
Yds/Carry 4.53 9 Eagles 4.42 24 Giants 37-48 0.435
Overall 9 Chargers 27 49ers

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts are still riding high based off those first five weeks, which keep fading and fading into the distance. I don't weight these numbers so they mean as much as the last few weeks, but let's just say right now, the Colts aren't the 9th best Offense in the NFL. They might be the best at not turning the ball over though, which is a very good thing. Turnovers are important.
  • I think the Defense can be described as "Bend and sometimes break", as they can't stop anyone moving the ball between the 20s, have decent success holding teams out of the end zone, but teams do break through every third time and score TDs. They've forced just five punts in the first half since the Bye week.

Week-by-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 16 302 123 21 338 175
2 Dolphins 87 272 187 58 324 211
3 49ers 46 73 18 13 90 7
4 Jaguars 34 5 2 67 13 4
5 Seahawks 68 211 111 31 180 48
6 Chargers 245 320 333 325 221 339
7 Broncos 242 90 154 253 15 64
9 Texans 204 261 269 174 305 288
10 Rams 296 171 282 327 181 324
11 Titans 22 325 170 23 332 166
12 Cardinals 304 333 348 205 343 342

There is more than enough evidence that the Colts Offense has been figured out by the NFL's Defensive Coordinators, and it looks like it took them less than half a season. The only week where they've played well since Week 5 was when their opponents had a short week. Teams don't go from five consecutive weeks with Offensive games in the top 20% overall in the league to (almost) every game being in the bottom half of the league, and some in the bottom 10% (one of those was with Reggie Wayne, mind you). This isn't college where there is a giant talent disparity between the have's and the have not's. You have to continually mold your offense, continue to change it, or else you'll see results like we've seen with the Colts the past six or seven weeks.

The Defense is predicated on having 2-3 CBs that can play man-to-man, and the Colts just haven't had that for much of the season, so I'm not excusing it, but that's why I don't have similar feelings about the Defense. I think the scheme works with the right personnel, which the Colts haven't had since the Bye week. It means in the offseason they need more shutdown corners, so when guys get injured, the Defense doesn't turn to crap like it's done the past month.

This team and coaching staff have a lot of soul searching to do. Nothing from Sunday gives me any confidence that the Colts can win a Playoff game, let alone four of them. But it does show me that without any proper motivation, this team might as well not even make the trip to the Stadium. I think the talent level, as a whole, has been shown since the bye week. We just need the team that plays well beyond their talent level, that we saw the first half of the season, to creep its way back into the picture. I still think it can, but I'm starting to become skeptical until we see them appear again.

This Sunday is a great time for them to show their faces.

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