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AFC Championship - Inside the Numbers

When Mark Sanchez found Dustin Keller to go up 14-6, I let out a few choice expletives.  I really though the Jets had just stolen 4 points.  Then they stole 3 more after the fumbled handoff and Jay Feely FG, making it 17-6.  I wasn't around in the open threads, but I'm guessing it wasn't pretty.  For a split second, a sense of doubt entered my mind.  The Jets had played 28 perfect minutes, and looked in total control.

Then I took a deep breath, and remembered I was rooting for the team with Peyton Manning.  He was going to figure out this defense.  Plus he was getting ready to run the 2 minute offense, where he's the best there ever was.

As it turns out, I was right, of course.  Manning clearly figured out the defense, scoring a TD in under a minute, then 2 more touchdowns on the first 3 drives of the 2nd half.  The rest is history.

It was an all-out assault of the league's #1 defense, and here's some records to prove it:

  • From Elias: It was the fourth playoff game in the last seven seasons in which Manning's yardage total (377) was at least that high. All other NFL quarterbacks have combined for only three such games during that time (two by Kurt Warner, one by Aaron Rodgers).  Both of these QBs did it this year in their Wild Card shootout.
  • From Elias: Pierre Garçon gained 151 receiving yards and Austin Collie gained 123 in the Colts' victory. It was the first NFL postseason game in which teammates in their first or second season in the NFL posted 100-yard receiving games. Their performances also mark only the fourth time in playoff history that two Colts receivers have gone over 100 yards in the same game (
  • Staying with Garçon, he set an AFC Championship record in both Catches and Receiving Yards (11 - 151).  It was 3rd all time in Colts playoff history in terms of Yards, behind Reggie Wayne (221) and Raymond Berry (178), and 2nd all time in Colts playoff history for Receptions, behind Berry's 12 catches in the Greatest Game Ever Played.
  • From Elias: Austin Collie was only the second rookie to gain at least 100 yards receiving in a conference title game. The first was Reggie Bush (7 receptions for 132 yards) in the Saints' loss to the Bears three years ago.
  • One more from Elias: The Colts trailed, 17-6, before scoring 24 consecutive points against a Jets team that allowed the fewest points in the NFL during the regular season (14.8 per game). Only one other team overcame a deficit at least that large to win a playoff game against the league's stingiest team: the Eagles trailed the Saints, 20-7, before rallying for a 36-20 Wild Card victory in January 1993.

Long Exhale.  Want to get to the numbers?  Jump on over...

Here are the stats from the victorious AFC Championship games.  Again, rankings are for all Playoff games since 2001:

Statistic Offense Rank Defense Rank Off/Def Above Off/Def Below Record
DSR 78.9% 32 65.5% 65 Y N 36-5
ANPY/A 10.244 14 9.581 174 N N 44-4
Turnovers 1.00 36 1.00 95 N N 57-11
Yds/Drive 41.91 16 32.33 127 N N 29-5
ToP/Drive 2:51.4 71 2:22.9 57 N N 45-9
Yds/Play 7.092 10 6.467 172 N N 25-14
First Downs/Drive 2.45 22 1.42 67 Y N 28-8
3rd/4th Down 36.4% 121 42.9% 111 N Y 38-12
Avg Start Pos 26.7 157 26.6 38 N N 50-9
3 and Outs 2.00 22 4.00 72 N N 29-14
RZ Eff 71.4% 75 100.0% 162 N N 38-14
Plays/Drive 5.909 73 5.000 48 Y N 35-14
Penalty Yds / Play 0.077 4 0.767 78 Y N 29-20
RB Success 41.7% 119 31.0% 28 N N 26-21
Yds/Carry 4.21 79 2.97 44 Y N 23-22
Net Punts Yds/Game 43.25 30 50.00 195 N N 23-23
Ranking - 196 Games 27 109 52

How did my predictions do?

  • DSR and ANPY/A key to Colts Offense: I hit the first one right on the head.  Check out those numbers:  78.9% and 10.24 respectively.  The Colts destroyed the two most important stats on offense, even though it certainly didn't look that way early on.
  • 3rd/4th Down Conversions: The Colts were bad on both sides of the ball on 3rd and 4th down, which was the same as the first go round with the Jets.  How did the Colts get around this?  They just stayed out of 3rd down.  On their 3 TD Drives, they had a total of 1 Third Down.  Fantastic job.  The defense also didn't fare too well, but got the stops it needed, especially in the 2nd half.
  • Red Zone Efficiency: The Jets only got into the Red Zone one time, and they converted that into a Touchdown, giving them the 100%.  The Colts were slightly lower than their average, but still converted better than the league average.  Not a big factor like I thought it would be.
  • RB Success Rate: For the Jets, this was a tale of two RBs.  Shonn Greene had a Success Rate of 70%, but Thomas Jones was only 19%.  Greene getting hurt certainly helped slow down the Jets in the 2nd half.  The Colts offense wasn't great, but it did well enough.

    I'd like to apologize to Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Mike Hart, and the entire Offensive Line, for basically guaranteeing that the Jets would have more rushing yards than the Colts.  It didn't happen.  I never thought it would, but it did.  YPC was also in the Colts favor, by almost a yard and a half over the Jets.  Color me very impressed.
  • This wasn't in my preview, but Yds/Play should be mentioned.  10th best game in the playoffs since 2001.  Most given up by the Jets this year.  Spectacular game by the Colts. 

I'll also point out that the Colts clearly outperformed the "red-hot" Chargers, much like I said they would.  Manning owns the Rex Ryan defense.  It took him a little bit to figure it out on Sunday, but once he did, he destroyed them.  Again I got the margin of victory correct, just off by a TD.

I postulated earlier this week that this might have been Manning's greatest playoff game, at least statistically speaking.  I'll be looking at that later this week, then have a 3 part preview of the Super Bowl over the weekend / next week.  I'll talk more about it later on, but the Vikings clearly outplayed the Saints in almost every stat, except for Turnovers.  Something to look forward to.