2013 NFL Week Sixteen: Inside The Colts Numbers

Jamie Squire

I said this Colts team could absolutely win the Super Bowl after Week 5, but they hadn't done anything to back me up until Sunday. And back that up they sure did, dominating the 11-3 Chiefs in Kansas City.

Sunday afternoon was the fifth time this season that I had another commitment, so I could not watch the Colts play live. The games I missed? 49ers, Jaguars, Seahawks, Broncos, and now the Chiefs. I'm thinking there really may be something to this after the Colts throttled the Chiefs 23-7 at Arrowhead, and it paralleled those other four games on the season: namely, they were dominant on at least one side of the ball and looked like a team that can win the Super Bowl. It's been a few weeks since that was the case, so I hope these Colts stick around for another six weeks or so.

The Chiefs built their 11-3 record on mostly Defense, but had scored 167 points over the past four weeks (almost 42 per game and highest over a 4 game stretch in Chiefs history), including 56 just a week ago, so their Offense was firing on all cylinders. The Colts Defense wanted nothing to do with that, consistently making plays and giving the Chiefs Offense all kinds of problems. Want to know how awesome the performance was from the Colts? From Elias:

Kansas City became the first team since 1954 to score fewer than 10 points in a game immediately following a four-game stretch with an average of 40 or more points. The only other teams to have done that both won their low-scoring game: the Giants in 1950 (9-7 over the Eagles); and the Browns in 1954 (6-0 over the Eagles).

You'll see specifically what they did later, but you can count on the explanation being something you've heard over and over in these columns before.

Because I didn't watch it in real-time, I got to watch it on hyper-drive thanks to DirecTV's Short Cuts, so I probably missed some of the nuances that may have occurred, but I really can't complain too much about anything from Sunday. I think it was abundantly clear this team shouldn't try to "power run" in obvious "power run" situations, and like Brad has mentioned already, Offensive Coordinator Pep Hamilton is calling a lot more plays from the shotgun, and the Offense is playing much better because of it. I don't think the philosophy of a "power run" game is completely gone, I just think the coaches have finally realized they don't have the personnel to do it right now, so they are shelving it for the time-being and calling plays to fit the players they have now; it's working. (I noticed several rollouts by Luck as well. Every one of them worked) They must have scrapped the old philosophy at halftime in Cincinnati, as they've had five straight halfs of superb Offense efficiency. It makes me hope they can fine-tune things next week against Jacksonville and get themselves ready for the following weekend.

Want to see the domination in number form? Let's take a look:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 16:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 70.0% 17 65.5% 13 Y N 8-1
ANPY/A 6.632 8 1.273 4 Y N 10-1
Turnovers 0 1 4 1 Y N 9-1
Yds/Drive 33.36 8 26.09 12 Y N 6-0
ToP/Drive 3:29.1 5 1:58.2 5 Y N 6-3
Yds/Play 5.097 12 5.415 24 N Y 6-1
Orange Zone Eff 45.7% 24 25.0% 3 N N 5-1
First Downs/Drive 1.73 14 1.64 16 Y N 7-2
3rd/4th Down 42.1% 12 22.2% 6 Y N 4-2
Avg Start Pos 29.3 13 25.5 8 N N 4-2
3 and Outs 3 9 5 7 Y N 4-1
RZ Eff 21.4% 28 0.0% 1 N N 5-3
Plays/Drive 6.545 6 4.818 7 Y N 4-4
Penalty Yds / Play 0.431 8 1.226 5 Y N 4-2
RB Success 30.3% 28 72.2% 32 N Y 4-6
Yds/Carry 3.97 20 7.75 31 N Y 3-4
Ranking - Week (32) 8 5 4
Ranking - Season (480) 172 31 30

Adjusted Stats for Week 16:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 75.3% 9 66.5% 12 Y N 8-1
ANPY/A 6.773 7 1.796 6 Y N 10-1
Turnovers -0.6 1 4.3 1 Y N 9-1
Yds/Drive 34.88 7 27.72 13 Y N 6-0
ToP/Drive 3:43.0 2 1:55.9 4 Y N 6-3
Yds/Play 4.989 17 5.537 21 N Y 6-1
Orange Zone Eff 56.3% 14 29.9% 3 N N 5-1
First Downs/Drive 1.97 10 1.71 17 Y N 7-2
3rd/4th Down 47.7% 8 28.9% 7 Y N 4-2
Avg Start Pos 33.5 5 21.3 3 N N 4-2
3 and Outs 2.5 8 5.4 7 Y N 4-1
RZ Eff 35.7% 28 7.4% 2 N N 5-3
Plays/Drive 6.967 5 4.941 9 Y N 4-4
Penalty Yds / Play 0.465 8 1.190 5 Y N 4-2
RB Success 35.9% 25 71.6% 31 N Y 4-6
Yds/Carry 3.91 17 6.88 31 N Y 3-4
Ranking - Week (32) 6 7 4
Ranking - Season (480) 110 66 28

Some thoughts:

  • Since the start of the 2002 season, teams are 293-9 when having a Turnover margin of 4 or more in their favor. For the Colts to get four turnovers against a team that only turned it over 14 times all season before then is remarkable. I think one of them will be changed to yet another strip/sack for Robert Mathis, as Alex Smith's forearm did most of the throwing on that one (and why no hit-on-defenseless-receiver penalty on the Chiefs there? Clear helmet-to-helmet contact.)
  • Another key I had from Thursday was getting the 30th ranked team on 3rd/4th down off the field, which the Colts did a great job doing Sunday. Even after adjusted for the Chiefs ineptness the Colts still held an "average" team under 30%, which is a huge win.
  • Once again the Defense is spectacular when the opponent gets close to their end zone. Four trips into the Orange Zone for the Chiefs, and the lone touchdown to show for it. Only one trip to the Red Zone, and it ended on a Jerrell Freeman interception. That means over the last two games, the Colts have allowed just one drive to reach the Red Zone. Mighty impressive.
  • Also told you that if the Colts can make the Chiefs drive the ball farther, it'll be a big win, as the Chiefs had one of the best starting field positions in the NFL, and the Colts delivered here too, making them start, on average, 10 yards deeper in their own territory. It may not seem like much, but that's a ton of yards. A lot of that is on Pat McAfee, who had another very good day. Pay the man.
  • On Offense the Colts held the ball for nearly four minutes per drive against the #1 Defense in Time of Possession per Drive. Pretty impressive.
  • I said the Chiefs have a tendency of giving up big plays. I guess that continued Sunday as well, thanks to a 33 yard dump-off and a 51 yard draw play by Donald Brown. More on this draw play in a minute.
  • The Red Zone was a bit of a disaster, including a missed 34 yard field goal (good to get that out of Adam Vinatieri's system), with just three points on two trips. A bit disappointing.
  • The Colts were above average on both sides of the ball in our top five stats, and 10 of the 16 we cover here. Want to see a dominating performance on paper, as well as on the field? This is how you do it.
  • However, the Colts couldn't run the ball, and couldn't stop the run (7.75 per carry ?!?), yet won the game in dominating fashion. Brown had a 51 yard run but the Colts as a team couldn't break four yards per carry? You know how you get to 4 yards per carry after a 51 yard run? 12 carries for 1 yard. Save for one run, that was the Colts running game. Did this matter one bit in the outcome? Not even the slightest. Why? Because they passed the ball and stopped the pass, just like every other successful team does in the NFL (10-1 this week). I still don't understand how something this obvious is completely missed by so many smart people.

Season Stats through Week 16 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.5% 10 Broncos 70.0% 17 Ravens 80-11 0.879
ANPY/A 5.751 17 Broncos 5.841 16 Seahawks 105-19 0.847
Turnovers 0.93 1 Colts 1.86 10 Seahawks 103-16 0.866
Yds/Drive 31.43 11 Chargers 31.73 24 Cardinals 65-20 0.765
ToP/Drive 2:51.0 7 Chargers 2:50.0 25 Cardinals 90-32 0.738
Yds/Play 5.297 13 Eagles 5.512 27 Seahawks 67-29 0.698
Orange Zone Eff 54.9% 17 Broncos 49.9% 13 Seahawks 87-18 0.829
First Downs/Drive 1.80 9 Chargers 1.79 22 Bengals 63-18 0.778
3rd/4th Down 37.9% 19 Chargers 39.6% 21 Bengals 81-29 0.736
Avg Start Pos 30.2 13 Chiefs 27.6 9 Chargers 107-25 0.811
3 and Outs 3.20 5 Chargers 3.48 21 Cardinals 64-29 0.688
RZ Eff 67.3% 16 Broncos 55.1% 5 Panthers 80-39 0.672
Plays/Drive 5.932 6 Chargers 5.740 20 Texans 72-42 0.632
Penalty Yds / Play 0.630 4 Patriots 0.907 7 Ravens 60-55 0.522
RB Success 43.6% 17 Eagles 49.0% 27 Lions 50-73 0.407
Yds/Carry 4.49 9 Eagles 4.55 27 Giants 51-66 0.436
Overall 10 Chargers 19 Cardinals

Some thoughts:

  • The Offense moved back into the league lead in Turnovers, but their overall number stayed at 10th overall. There were some bad games in there weighting it down, but usually at this point in the season it takes something drastic to move a bunch of spots.
  • The Defense is doing drastic things, so they gained another two spots in the Overall rankings up to 19th, and are now a top 5 Defense in the Red Zone and a top 10 team in Turnovers.

Week-by-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 23 405 166 38 456 252
2 Dolphins 123 369 255 96 431 277
3 49ers 70 97 29 26 82 10
4 Jaguars 52 11 3 88 16 7
5 Seahawks 97 291 150 30 244 55
6 Chargers 338 431 445 417 283 432
7 Broncos 335 117 210 345 22 89
9 Texans 286 352 369 242 429 403
10 Rams 401 230 382 443 236 427
11 Titans 34 438 231 33 447 226
12 Cardinals 413 450 470 273 460 457
13 Titans 402 187 350 399 164 333
14 Bengals 160 462 397 82 472 353
15 Texans 310 13 45 309 21 66
16 Chiefs 172 31 30 110 66 28

It's the second straight week we've seen a top-end performance from the Colts, and it's coming at just the right time. Clearly they've figured out most of what was ailing them for a month and a half after the Bye. I said this team had a legitimate chance at winning the Super Bowl back after Week 5, and they had rarely shown me anything since that backed up that claim. They finally have. Next week we're Colts, Bills, and Ravens fans so the Colts can rest up a bit before playing a Playoff game in front of the home crowd.

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