2013 NFL Week Seventeen: Inside The Colts Numbers

Michael Hickey

The Colts finished off the 2013 regular season with a convincing 30-10 victory over the Jaguars Sunday. It was their third straight win preparing for the Playoffs. Their third straight really good win.

Not every game in the NFL should be exciting.

Before Sunday's 30-10 Colts win over the Jaguars, all Colts fans were hoping for a pretty ho-hum game with no injuries for the Colts. They easily got the first in a pretty boring game, and the Colts had some players leave during the game (Vontae Davis being the most notable), but overall it wasn't anything like what the Colts have already endured in the 2013 season. It was the third straight "easy" win for the Colts, giving them their second straight 11-5 record.

I listened to the game on my way home from Cincinnati, and as important to the identity of the Indianapolis Colts as Bob Lamey has been, he had several gaffes in the hour or so I was listening, as well as a very curious comment. With the Colts facing a 4th and goal from the 1, already up 7-0 in the first quarter, Head Coach Chuck Pagano made the absolute correct decision to go for it. After the Colts were stopped on the third down, and before Lamey noticed that Andrew Luck was staying on the field, he made the statement:

This might be a good thing, as it gets Adam Vinatieri 3 points instead of 1 from a Touchdown. This way he gets closer to 2000 points.

Now, I'm glad Vinatieri go to 2000 points in his career (only the 6th player in NFL history to do so), but in no way should it ever be a "good thing" to kick a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. I'm sure he knows Vinatieri really well and wanted him to hit that career milestone (he mentioned it a lot), but I just found it a little strange that was his reasoning. He also got confused between the 12 and 7 yard line at least twice. It may have just been a bad day for Lamey, but when you are on the radio, those things you have to get right 99.9% of the time.

Without going through each of the play-by-plays for the season, it's clear the Offense is world's better when run mostly from the shotgun. In fact, in the first half, the only times we saw Luck go under center was on a 3rd and short, when the Colts were inside the 10 yard line, and on one opening play of a drive, and they threw a bomb to T.Y. Hilton. I don't know if it is a comfort thing, whether Luck can see/read the Defense better, or what, but the Colts Offense we've seen since halftime of the Bengals game has been very good to great, with the only lulls coming late in games that were already put away. Let's hope the Colts can keep the train rolling for another month.

Besides Vinatieri's milestone several others were hit as well (all of these are from Colts.com unless marked)

  • Andrew Luck now has the most passing yards in his first two seasons in NFL history with 8,196, passing Cam Newton.
  • Elias: T.Y. Hilton how has 11 career games with 100+ receiving yards, which ties him for third all time in a player's first two seasons, and only the 6th player in NFL history to have 10 or more. Of guys you know are Randy Moss (11) and Torry Holt (10). Hilton also set the franchise record for receiving yards in first two seasons.
  • Donald Brown's 5.3 yards per carry is the best for a Colt since 1961 (so best in Indianapolis history).

The most amazing thing I found in that Colts.com article was this:

Since 2008, the Colts are 17-1 against divisional opponents the second time they play them in a season (best in the NFL) and Sunday only added to that mark.

The one loss really decided the direction the Colts franchise went as well, as it was on New Years Day 2012, losing in Jacksonville, which secured the #1 overall pick. That really is amazing to think about.

As you'd expect the stats look pretty good on Sunday, but one side of the ball didn't look too good after you adjusted for the opponent. Let's find out which one it was:

Non-Adjusted Stats for Week 17:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 76.5% 6 66.7% 9 Y N 7-1
ANPY/A 7.595 8 5.241 16 Y N 4-1
Turnovers 0 1 2 8 Y N 6-2
Yds/Drive 34.45 11 31.82 20 N N 5-1
ToP/Drive 3:03.6 7 2:23.6 6 Y N 7-3
Yds/Play 5.414 14 5.000 15 Y N 7-0
Orange Zone Eff 71.4% 5 35.7% 4 Y N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 2.09 5 1.73 14 N N 4-2
3rd/4th Down 52.9% 6 31.6% 12 Y N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 33.6 5 19.1 3 Y N 8-1
3 and Outs 3 7 3 20 N N 4-1
RZ Eff 77.1% 9 71.4% 14 N N 3-5
Plays/Drive 6.364 6 6.364 26 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.143 3 0.714 15 N N 1-0
RB Success 33.3% 26 31.3% 5 N N 5-4
Yds/Carry 2.86 30 2.63 2 N N 5-1
Ranking - Week (32) 3 8 3
Ranking - Season (512) 61 151 41

Adjusted Stats for Week 17:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 73.7% 11 73.1% 23 Y N 7-1
ANPY/A 6.357 10 6.628 22 Y N 4-1
Turnovers 0.1 6 2.0 9 Y N 6-2
Yds/Drive 32.15 12 35.53 26 N N 5-1
ToP/Drive 2:52.6 10 2:38.3 13 Y N 7-3
Yds/Play 5.173 16 5.664 23 Y N 7-0
Orange Zone Eff 59.6% 16 53.5% 14 Y N 6-2
First Downs/Drive 1.91 8 1.97 27 N N 4-2
3rd/4th Down 47.0% 8 37.3% 16 Y N 5-1
Avg Start Pos 34.4 4 17.1 2 Y N 8-1
3 and Outs 2.7 9 2.2 26 N N 4-1
RZ Eff 72.2% 15 88.1% 26 N N 3-5
Plays/Drive 6.212 8 6.431 27 N N 3-2
Penalty Yds / Play 0.374 9 0.760 13 N N 1-0
RB Success 31.1% 27 38.4% 15 N N 5-4
Yds/Carry 3.10 29 3.45 12 N N 5-1
Ranking - Week (32) 8 24 14
Ranking - Season (512) 154 272 177

Some thoughts:

  • Eight of our top ten stats the Colts were above average on both Offense and Defense. Pretty easy to see, based on this, how the Colts won so easily. Pretty simple, right?
  • You can see the difference between playing a league-average team and playing the Jaguars, right? The Defense looks pretty good overall without adjusting for opponent, then it doesn't look so hot after you adjust for the opponent. I wouldn't read too much into it, as I'm sure some of the late-game stats the Jaguars put up aren't helping either.
  • The Jaguars started drives, on average at the 19 yard line, which is just great, and is due in large part to Punter/Kick Off master Pat McAfee. He set a franchise record of his own Sunday with three punts downed inside the 20 yard line, which gave him 27 on the season. Please pay the man.
  • The Offense was superb in many different stats once again, even against a pretty bad defense. You can pick anything you want in the top 14 categories and I won't argue with you. There wasn't anything spectacular the Colts did, but were just solid all around.
  • Well, except for running the ball. That was bad. Again. And the Colts won easily. Again.

Season Stats through Week 17:

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.6% 10 Broncos 70.1% 17 Ravens 87-12 0.879
ANPY/A 5.777 16 Broncos 5.905 16 Seahawks 109-20 0.845
Turnovers 0.90 1 Colts 1.86 11 Seahawks 109-18 0.858
Yds/Drive 31.43 9 Chargers 31.90 24 Cardinals 70-21 0.769
ToP/Drive 2:50.0 8 Chargers 2:49.0 25 Cardinals 97-35 0.735
Yds/Play 5.291 15 Eagles 5.520 27 Seahawks 74-29 0.718
Orange Zone Eff 55.0% 18 Broncos 50.0% 13 Bengals 93-20 0.823
First Downs/Drive 1.80 9 Chargers 1.80 22 Bengals 67-20 0.770
3rd/4th Down 38.5% 17 Chargers 39.5% 21 Bengals 86-30 0.741
Avg Start Pos 30.6 10 Chiefs 27.2 6 Chargers 115-26 0.816
3 and Outs 3.19 5 Chargers 3.43 23 Cardinals 68-30 0.694
RZ Eff 67.3% 15 Broncos 56.8% 6 Panthers 83-44 0.654
Plays/Drive 5.939 6 Chargers 5.770 21 Texans 75-44 0.630
Penalty Yds / Play 0.623 4 Patriots 0.906 7 Ravens 61-55 0.526
RB Success 43.1% 21 Eagles 48.5% 27 Giants 55-77 0.417
Yds/Carry 4.43 10 Eagles 4.50 27 Giants 56-67 0.455
Overall 10 Chargers 20 Seahawks

Some thoughts:

  • The Colts end the regular season as the best team in the NFL in Turnovers, averaging less than one per game. It was a huge turn-around from last year where the Colts ranked 20th. Almost a full turnover less per game. Credit to Andrew Luck, ball-carriers, receivers, and the coaching staff.
  • These stats are ordered in significance over a 12 year time-frame, so sometimes you have certain seasons where they don't line up exactly in Win %. This is especially the case with Average Starting Position, which has been very important to winning this season, moreso than several stats "above it" in the table. Makes it that much more important that the Colts are doing well on both sides in 2013.

Week-by-Week Comparison:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 25 434 175 44 484 270
2 Dolphins 127 396 272 113 463 312
3 49ers 72 102 30 33 82 10
4 Jaguars 53 12 3 94 17 7
5 Seahawks 101 315 159 28 267 55
6 Chargers 363 461 477 444 299 459
7 Broncos 360 124 223 372 22 93
8 BYE
9 Texans 306 377 395 259 460 430
10 Rams 428 247 407 464 265 457
11 Titans 36 468 246 35 477 235
12 Cardinals 441 480 502 299 486 489
13 Titans 430 199 376 421 175 351
14 Bengals 168 493 423 82 502 365
15 Texans 331 14 49 329 24 70
16 Chiefs 178 36 31 122 69 30
17 Jaguars 61 151 41 154 272 177

You can see Sunday was nothing to write home about after you adjust for the crappiness that is the Jaguars, but it was an easy win in a game the Colts were supposed to win easily. They've tried some new things over the last few weeks, which is spectacular, and I think they are ready to go for January. The road starts Saturday. Let's hope I have to do four more of these recaps.

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