2013 NFL Divisonal Round: Inside The Colts Numbers

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts picked a hell of a time to play their worst game of the season. Think they can get a do-over?

The Colts made it back to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs for the first time in four years, but figuratively speaking, the Colts will have to wait another year to actually show up to the party. The Colts fell behind early, looked like they might make a comeback, but could never get over the hump in a 43-22 loss to the Patriots Saturday night in Foxboro, ending their 2013 season on the lowest of lows.

For those of you following along with me on Twitter (thanks everyone!), you know I was highly critical of several of the decisions made throughout the game by the coaching staff. I don't need to go into them again, as Josh pretty much summed everything up for me yesterday. The Patriots coaching staff ran circles around the Colts coaches, but it isn't the end of the world. The coaches have two ways to go from here: Learn from the mistakes they made, don't make them again, become better coaches, and the Colts win more games; or continue to do exactly what they did Saturday night, catch a break or two that'll keep them believing what they are doing is correct, and be out of a job in two or three years. You, me, and everyone else wants them to choose the first option. The bad decisions have been made. Now they will be measured on whether they learn from them.

The Colts Offense had played quite well for five consecutive games, becoming the team we saw the first five weeks of the season. Saturday night was their worst game of the entire season. It's puzzling why they were so streaky this year, being hot early, being unable to do anything in the middle, then becoming really good again late, only to see it come crumbling down against a Patriots Defense that wasn't really that good during the regular season.  I'll get into more specifics in a bit, but lots of people have laid the loss at the feet of the Defense (and they didn't play well either), but if you want to put a percentage on it, I think the majority goes to the Offense.

The reason everyone blames the Defense? Well, they gave up 40+ points for the second straight weekend in the Playoffs, becoming just the second team to ever do that, joining the 2009 Cardinals, who gave up 45 points on consecutive weekends to the Packers and Saints. That is not good company to be in.

Let's get to the numbers, where we'll try to put a bow on the 2013 Colts.

Non-Adjusted Stats for Divisional Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 60.0% 8 80.6% 7 N Y 1-1
ANPY/A 4.023 8 6.852 6 N Y 2-1
Turnovers 4 8 0 5 N Y 2-1
Yds/Drive 27.57 7 32.23 4 N Y 1-1
ToP/Drive 1:47.1 8 2:41.5 4 N N 2-0
Yds/Play 5.938 2 5.740 5 N N 0-3
Orange Zone Eff 42.9% 5 83.3% 8 N Y 2-0
First Downs/Drive 1.14 8 1.77 4 N Y 2-1
3rd/4th Down 43.8% 4 57.9% 7 N N 1-0
Avg Start Pos 22.1 7 32.4 6 N Y 3-1
3 and Outs 6 8 5 2 N N 0-0
RZ Eff 42.9% 7 83.3% 7 N Y 1-0
Plays/Drive 4.643 8 5.615 4 N Y 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.646 3 0.479 8 N N 2-0
RB Success 30.0% 7 57.8% 6 N Y 2-0
Yds/Carry 3.29 8 5.09 8 N Y 2-0
Ranking - Week (8) 8 7 8
Ranking - Season (528) 470 432 509

Adjusted Stats for Divisional Round:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 59.3% 8 76.2% 6 N Y 1-1
ANPY/A 4.138 8 6.433 8 N Y 2-1
Turnovers 3.7 8 0.3 8 N Y 2-1
Yds/Drive 24.85 8 27.99 5 N Y 1-1
ToP/Drive 1:45.6 8 2:39.4 5 N N 2-0
Yds/Play 5.711 3 5.593 6 N N 0-3
Orange Zone Eff 44.2% 7 80.5% 8 N Y 2-0
First Downs/Drive 1.05 8 1.35 4 N Y 2-1
3rd/4th Down 41.3% 5 57.4% 7 N N 1-0
Avg Start Pos 25.1 8 31.3 7 N Y 3-1
3 and Outs 6.4 8 5.5 2 N N 0-0
RZ Eff 46.7% 7 78.7% 6 N Y 1-0
Plays/Drive 4.348 8 5.056 3 N Y 1-0
Penalty Yds / Play 0.606 2 0.777 5 N N 2-0
RB Success 25.0% 8 52.3% 5 N Y 2-0
Yds/Carry 2.83 8 4.96 8 N Y 2-0
Ranking - Week (8) 8 6 8
Ranking - Season (528) 492 371 516

Some thoughts:

  • Here's where I'll defend the Defense a bit: The Patriots had 13 drives in the game, but only five of them were longer than 18 yards (four of them were 70+ TDs, other was that last drive where they punted from the 26). They forced five Three and Outs. Just when the Patriots got a first down, they scored a TD. Two of the TD drives were for 2 and 18 yards, which aren't the Defenses fault. The points allowed look bad. Considering the circumstances, I actually don't think they played that bad.
  • The one area I thought the Colts Defense could exploit the Patriots was on 3rd/4th down, and they gave up 58% of them. Even though they got them off the field on occasion, they strung quite a few together on those long drives.
  • Colts were behind the 8-ball in Starting Field Position on both sides of the ball for the second week in a row. Giving them short fields and having to go 80+ yards consistently isn't a good way to try and win, especially with how important field position has been this season, and how important it is in the Playoffs (historically about 15% more important than regular season).
  • Sometimes I even surprise myself:
    The Patriots run the ball well, and I expect them to run it early and often, especially if Dobson can't play. I know the Colts have to prepare for Tom Brady (for real this time), but the Patriots have the 2nd best RB Success rate in the NFL, and a whole stable of backs to run at the Colts. I expect a lot of running then Brady hitting some play-action. I mean, that's how I'd go against the Colts Defense, but that's just me.
  • The Colts had the worst weekend of anyone on Offense in the top five categories, and we saw some bad Offense this weekend. Just a terrible all-around performance by a team that had played really well Offensively as of late. Again, I hope it's a learning experience for everyone.
  • The Yards per Play wasn't bad, although you can see by the Win/Loss record for the weekend, teams who hit for big plays, and didn't allow many of them, were 0-3 (not including the Colts). I think in the 49ers/Panthers game Carolina was over 7 yards per play in the first half, to just 3.0 for the 49ers, but were losing 13-10. Kind of an odd day when it comes to big plays.
  • Trent Richardson in the Playoffs: Four carries, One yard, One fumble. But teams still bit on play-action fakes to him, and he picked up blitzes fairly well.

Season Stats for the Colts (Adjusted):

Statistic Offense Rank Best Defense Rank Best Record Win %
DSR 71.4% 10 Broncos 71.0% 21 Bengals 88-13 0.871
ANPY/A 5.756 17 Broncos 6.135 20 Seahawks 112-21 0.842
Turnovers 1.22 6 49ers 1.75 14 Seahawks 112-21 0.842
Yds/Drive 31.60 10 Chargers 32.06 25 Cardinals 72-23 0.758
ToP/Drive 2:44.0 11 Chargers 2:49.0 25 Cardinals 101-36 0.737
Yds/Play 5.445 11 Eagles 5.573 27 Seahawks 76-32 0.704
Orange Zone Eff 56.3% 12 Broncos 53.0% 13 Seahawks 96-21 0.821
First Downs/Drive 1.79 9 Broncos 1.80 23 Bengals 69-22 0.758
3rd/4th Down 39.8% 11 Broncos 41.5% 23 Bengals 89-30 0.748
Avg Start Pos 30.3 13 Chiefs 27.9 8 Chargers 120-28 0.811
3 and Outs 3.44 12 Chargers 3.52 21 Cardinals 70-32 0.686
RZ Eff 67.6% 13 Broncos 59.9% 10 Panthers 85-46 0.649
Plays/Drive 5.820 9 Chargers 5.741 21 Texans 76-46 0.623
Penalty Yds / Play 0.608 3 Patriots 0.870 9 Ravens 63-56 0.529
RB Success 42.4% 25 Patriots 49.3% 27 Giants 57-77 0.425
Yds/Carry 4.36 11 Eagles 4.49 27 Giants 60-67 0.472
Overall 12 Chargers 24 Seahawks

A couple thoughts:

  • In two weeks, and eight Turnovers later, the Colts fell from first in the NFL in Turnovers to 6th. I don't know where it came from, but the "ball security" that was preached during the regular season went out the window in the Playoffs. Learn from it (sensing a theme here?).
  • The Defense didn't really change much from last week. They are who they are.

Week-to-Week Comparisons:

Colts Opponent Non-Adjusted Adjusted
Week Offense Defense Total Offense Defense Total
1 Raiders 25 448 181 42 502 284
2 Dolphins 133 408 281 118 476 326
3 49ers 76 102 30 34 78 10
4 Jaguars 54 12 3 103 17 7
5 Seahawks 105 321 163 30 285 58
6 Chargers 378 477 492 457 321 474
7 Broncos 374 125 230 379 23 96
8 BYE
9 Texans 318 387 410 275 475 447
10 Rams 443 253 423 479 278 472
11 Titans 37 483 254 35 493 254
12 Cardinals 456 495 518 314 504 505
13 Titans 446 202 392 434 186 369
14 Bengals 176 509 438 81 519 383
15 Texans 347 14 50 345 24 77
16 Chiefs 191 35 32 146 61 31
17 Jaguars 62 152 40 168 288 193
18 Chiefs 140 498 382 71 486 292
19 Patriots 470 432 509 492 371 516

As I mentioned above, it was the Colts worst performance of the year, and was the 13th worst game in the NFL this season. With only six games remaining (three games, two teams), it's going to go down as one of the worst games of the entire season.

The story of the 2013 Colts can be summed up with:

Consistently Inconsistent

There were weekends where it didn't matter the opponent they were winning. Then other times where they weren't beating anyone (like Saturday night). Hopefully everyone over on W. 56th Street learns from the 2013 season, as everyone (players, coaches, front office, etc) has a ways to go before they'll be called Super Bowl Champions. My hope is that Saturday night helped speed the process up, giving them pause that what they were doing was enough.

Winning 23 games in two seasons is all well and good, but like we've seen for 15 years now, problems can be easily masked if you're content with just winning games, rather than how they are won. You learn how to win with help from bad losses, like the Colts had to the Patriots.

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