2013 NFL Week Thirteen: Inside The Colts Numbers

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Another ugly win for the Colts, but it all but assures them a home game in January, and that's definitely a good thing.

There are a lot of things wrong with the 2013 Colts, but Sunday's 22-14 win against the Titans have made making the Playoffs a mere formality at this point, which is really the biggest goal of any season, for any team. Because winning the Super Bowl is essentially calling a coin flip 3 or 4 times consecutively, all a team really needs to do is make the Playoffs, and anything can happen after that. Even though the Colts have red flags pretty much every where, they'll be playing at home in January for at least one game. It's not official yet, so we can't celebrate just yet, but it would take the Colts to go 0-4 and the Titans to go 4-0 down the stretch, and it just isn't happening.

A theme I talked about after the Colts Week 11 win over the Titans was how the Colts put together a long touchdown drive in the 4th quarter while leading, and sure enough they decided to do it once again Sunday, going 92 yards on 11 plays, eating up 6:12, and finishing with a Donald Brown touchdown on the first play after the two minute warning, which put them up seven. Reasonable minds can differ on whether the Colts should have gone for 2 in that situation (I would have, as I trust the Offense over the Defense for the Colts), but it worked out nonetheless with a spectacular play by Jerrell Freeman.

I guess you can say the Colts solved some of their slow-start issues that have been plaguing them for a month now, scoring points on three of their first four drives, even though they were all field goals. That means they still have not scored a first half touchdown since the Denver game. That was a long time ago. The concern I have is starting at the 8 minute mark of the 2nd quarter until the 8 minute mark of the 4th quarter, the Colts had just three first downs, two of which came in the final 25 seconds of the first half, in a total of seven drives. They essentially just shifted their struggles from the last four weeks 20 minutes, and did absolutely nothing for half the game. I can understand a couple drives in a row. But seven? A full half of football? It's unacceptable.

A couple notes from Elias:

Vinatieri Makes The Difference

From Elias: Adam Vinatieri tied his career high with five field goals to lead the Colts to a 22-14 win over the Titans. It was the 87th time that Vinatieri accounted for his team's margin of victory, the second-highest such total in NFL history by a player at any position, behind only Morten Andersen (97).

Luck Hasn't Had A Losing Streak

From Elias: By helping the Colts to victory, Andrew Luck extended his career-long record of never having played in back-to-back NFL losses. Luck, who has started 28 games for Indianapolis, will soon own the second-longest such streak to start a player's NFL career since 1970. Dan Marino didn't lose consecutive games in his first 33 starts. Kordell Stewart had a 28-game streak to start his NFL career, but Luck is guaranteed to surpass that total with his next start.

There was a very obvious reason why the Colts could go a full 30 minutes looking completely clueless on Offense and not be losing. Let's jump into the numbers and find out how the Colts nailed down the AFC South:

Non-Adjusted Stats from Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 63.3% 28 72.2% 16 N Y 9-1
ANPY/A 3.108 29 1.842 2 N N 7-3
Turnovers 1 5 4 1 Y N 6-1
Yds/Drive 22.00 28 28.92 11 N N 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:10.4 27 2:49.6 18 N N 6-3
Yds/Play 4.258 28 4.689 9 N N 6-3
Orange Zone Eff 52.4% 20 50.0% 11 N N 4-1
First Downs/Drive 1.50 25 2.00 21 N Y 6-1
3rd/4th Down 26.7% 27 43.8% 19 N Y 3-1
Avg Start Pos 28.2 12 29.8 23 N N 8-1
3 and Outs 5 22 2 22 N Y 6-2
RZ Eff 71.4% 17 100.0% 22 N N 4-1
Plays/Drive 5.167 26 6.167 22 N Y 5-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.806 19 1.000 6 Y N 2-2
RB Success 40.9% 19 54.5% 25 N Y 3-7
Yds/Carry 4.16 16 4.50 23 N Y 4-5
Ranking - Week (32) 29 9 27
Ranking - Season (384) 322 154 282

Adjusted Stats from Week 13:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 64.3% 26 72.6% 16 N Y 9-1
ANPY/A 3.381 29 2.596 4 N N 7-3
Turnovers 0.7 7 4.1 1 Y N 6-1
Yds/Drive 23.99 26 28.93 11 N N 5-2
ToP/Drive 2:15.9 26 2:44.3 19 N N 6-3
Yds/Play 4.348 28 4.931 10 N N 6-3
Orange Zone Eff 47.3% 23 47.0% 10 N N 4-1
First Downs/Drive 1.52 23 2.01 21 N Y 6-1
3rd/4th Down 30.3% 27 37.0% 12 N Y 3-1
Avg Start Pos 27.8 16 28.2 20 N N 8-1
3 and Outs 4.7 24 1.6 27 N Y 6-2
RZ Eff 69.7% 18 95.2% 26 N N 4-1
Plays/Drive 5.450 22 5.956 20 N Y 5-3
Penalty Yds / Play 0.890 23 0.862 13 Y N 2-2
RB Success 38.3% 23 51.9% 24 N Y 3-7
Yds/Carry 4.30 12 4.39 17 N Y 4-5
Ranking - Week (32) 28 11 22
Ranking - Season (384) 307 155 263

Some thoughts:

  • Turnovers ruled the day Sunday, with the Colts forcing four from the Titans, including the 41st (I think) strip-sack of Robert Mathis' career, and a pair of interceptions from Cassius Vaughn (?!). Three of those turnovers were during that horrific Offensive stretch, which helped them get 6 points just from field position (and a dumb penalty), so they were huge plays.
  • Usually when you have three interceptions the passing numbers look really good, which they do here, ranking 4th best of the weekend. I know Ryan Fitzpatrick did not play well, but he torched this secondary three weeks ago. Kudos to the Colts coaching staff for making adjustments and completely shutting down the Titans passing attack.
  • Both times the Titans got into the Red Zone they scored touchdowns. Thankfully when they got close and didn't make it to the 20, they scored nothing, making the Orange Zone Efficiency pretty good for the Colts Defense. I'll take it.
  • I said before the game that 3rd/4th down would be key, and the Colts Defense did ok, holding them to 44%, but when you adjust for how good the Titans have been on 3rd/4th down, it makes it look much nicer at 37%. Can't complain.
  • The only good thing I can say about the Offense is they took care of the ball, turning it over just once on the opening drive of the game. It's ugly otherwise.
  • A huge issue, which is masked by all these stats, is the Colts are having issues catching passes, namely Darrius Hayward-Bey. Everyone knew drops were an issue with him before the season started, and nothing has really changed in that regard. A dropped pass can affect a whole host of stats in that table, which I think it's doing. The Adjusted Net Passing Yards stat is unfathomably bad.
  • The Titans adjusted well to the Colts running attack, and nothing changed with the "shake-up" that occurred in the backfield and the Offensive Line. It's getting comical now that the Colts absolutely refuse to move the pocket at all to help the sieve that is the O-Line. No bootlegs, no designed rollouts, no nothing.
  • The Colts were the only team Sunday, and only the 9th in 75 games this season, to win despite being below average on both Offense and Defense in Drive Success Rate, one of the most influential stats to winning. It's only 12% this season and 11.1% since 2001.

Season Stats through Week 13 (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.1% 11 Broncos 71.1% 22 Panthers 66-9 0.880
ANPY/A 5.392 18 Broncos 6.275 20 Seahawks 82-14 0.854
Turnovers 0.99 1 Colts 1.80 15 Seahawks 80-13 0.860
Yds/Drive 31.27 12 Chargers 33.15 26 Cardinals 51-16 0.761
ToP/Drive 2:51.0 7 Panthers 2:58.0 30 Cardinals 72-27 0.727
Yds/Play 5.180 16 Broncos 5.620 27 Browns 55-23 0.705
Orange Zone Eff 53.7% 18 Broncos 50.3% 11 Panthers 72-13 0.847
First Downs/Drive 1.82 10 Chargers 1.85 24 Lions 50-13 0.794
3rd/4th Down 38.2% 17 Broncos 40.1% 22 Chiefs 70-22 0.761
Avg Start Pos 29.8 15 49ers 27.5 6 Chargers 81-22 0.786
3 and Outs 3.09 5 Chargers 2.97 29 Cardinals 53-23 0.697
RZ Eff 66.9% 15 Broncos 62.3% 12 Panthers 66-29 0.695
Plays/Drive 5.994 6 Chargers 5.923 26 Lions 60-34 0.638
Penalty Yds / Play 0.636 4 Dolphins 0.824 17 Ravens 45-49 0.479
RB Success 45.8% 11 Redskins 46.9% 24 Lions 41-60 0.406
Yds/Carry 4.52 8 Redskins 4.44 24 Giants 41-53 0.436
Overall 9 Chargers 23 49ers

Some thoughts:

  • We saw a pretty good improvement by the Defense, moving up to 23rd overall from 27th in just one week's time. That's what happens when you stop the pass and force turnovers.
  • Offense stayed in 9th, but surely the gap closed around them. Our passing stat ranks the Colts just 18th in the league. Want to know which teams they are sandwiched by? The Buccaneers and the Texans. That's how well the passing game has worked this season. You win by passing. That's why they absolutely must improve throwing the ball, and stop with this "power running" nonsense.
  • The records of teams who "Run the ball and stop the run" should really give you pause. Teams win 60% of the time they don't do either.

Week-by-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 17 327 134 25 370 193
2 Dolphins 94 296 200 55 346 200
3 49ers 52 76 22 16 91 10
4 Jaguars 39 7 3 69 12 6
5 Seahawks 77 229 122 30 173 34
6 Chargers 271 348 361 351 253 365
7 Broncos 268 96 167 290 16 69
9 Texans 227 284 296 201 325 317
10 Rams 323 184 309 358 187 348
11 Titans 23 354 186 22 367 185
12 Cardinals 333 364 377 236 373 370
13 Titans 322 154 282 307 155 263

Sunday's game won't stand out by any measure, but it got the job done. Like I said at the start, this team is full of holes, but they've put themselves in a position they strived for at the beginning of the season: Winning the Division and hosting a Playoff game. From there, anything can happen. Just hope some of these problems can be fixed over the next month. Experiment and try things. Everything from now on should be in preparation for the Playoffs.

It's all that matters.

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